They Get Bigger While Their Engines Get Smaller

Trucks continue to get bigger – what buyers seem to want – while their engines get smaller, which is effectively a function of what the government demands, as the downsizing of engines is one of the ways for the car companies to reduce the fuel consumption of the vehicles so equipped.

Which they have to do – not because buyers of trucks (or even most cars) are demanding fuel economy uber alles but because the government refuses to accept that lots of buyers care about other things uber alles. So the government mandates the fuel economy they’re not particularly interested in, in order to force buyers to be more “efficient” – no matter what it costs them.

And the car companies try to figure a way to make those smaller, more “efficient” engines perform at a level acceptable to buyers.

Enter the 2019 Chevy Silverado 1500 – the leading edge of this strange, increasingly desperate dynamic. It will be the first full-size truck to come standard with a four cylinder engine – comparable in size (2.7 liters) to the engines that power mid-sized cars that weigh 1,000-plus pounds less and which aren’t tasked with towing thousands of pounds.

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The little engine replaces the 4.3 liter V6 that is the current Silverado’s standard engine and makes up for its lack of displacement via heavy turbocharging – which adds power-on-demand but also adds parts and internal stress as well as costs, both up front and down the road.

Probably just after the warranty expires.

As opposed to the 4.3 V6, which doesn’t need a turbo to make power and is a much simpler, lower-maintenance design. It  is basically a Chevy small-block V8 less two cylinders. It shares the…

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