2019 Chevy Silverado 2.7 Turbo: New four cylinder is surprisingly strong
With the increasing popularity of full size trucks because of the strong economy and law gas prices, the automotive press has obsessed over the most expensive versions — fully-loaded models that cost upwards of $70,000 or more.
That's a lot for a truck, although the price is not so bad when you compare them to fully loaded luxury cars that aren't as roomy, aren't available with four-wheel-drive, and can't carry or tow such heavy loads.
Lost in the second-guessing over such prices is the fact that most trucks cost a whole lot less. In fact, for buyers who can live without such amenities as a full leather interior, this is a Golden Age for full size trucks. All of the American models are either brand new or recently redesigned. And they are better than ever — bigger, stronger, more capable, and available with a wider choice or engines and transmissions than ever before.
A case in point is the Chevy Silverado, which is all new for 2019. Although the top-of-the-line High Country version starts at $53,000, the base Work Truck model begins at just $28,000 — not much more than mid-range compact sedan. Granted, that's for a two-door model with short bed, a V6 engine and rear-wheel-drive, but it's a real full size truck.
Our test model was a several-steps-up LT version with a double cab, long bed and all-wheel-drive. And it was also equipped with the most surprising engine option that Chevy (or anyone else) is offering — a turbocharged 2.7-liter inline four cylinder engine.
That's right, a four cylinder engine in a full size truck. Although Ford offers the same size engine its the full size F-150, it's a turbocharged V6. Despite being only four cylinders, it produced an impressive 348 foot pounds of torque, which is what you need when carrying or pulling a heavy load. That's 43 more than the base 4.3-liter V6.
In a week of test driving, the turbo 2.7 never felt short of power. In fact, the acceleration was impressive, even though the truck was equipped with four-wheel-drive, which adds weight. And the base price was only $40,200, which is not that much more than a well-equipped mid-size car.
It also handled very well, even with an empty bed. Gone are they days when trucks bounced around unless they were carrying heavy loads. Our Silverado didn't get the least bit upset driving over railroad crossings or broken pavement.
Of course, because manufacturers like to pamper auto writers, our test truck came with more than $9,000 worth of options, including leather seats, a trailering package, off-road tires, special trim, and even more comfort, convenience, infotainment and safety features. But even so, the total price was under $50,000, or about the same as a decent — but not fully loaded — full size luxury sedan.
Of course, there are trade-offs to be considered if you choose to buy a full size truck instead of a car. The 2019 Silverado is very large, much more in every respect than even the biggest luxury sedan. You have to be careful driving in crowded city centers, and look for parking spaces at the end of blocks. The back-up camera is especially helpful then. But if you can handle that, the advantage only increase.
And if you want to spend more, Chevy will accommodate you with crew cabs, higher trim levels with more luxury touches, additional, and engine choices that include two V8s and a diesel. And you'll be dazzled by how powerful, smooth, quiet and plush they are. But you spend less and still by a real truck, even one with an innovative engine that is a great conversation start among truck lovers.
2019 Chevy Silverado 2.7 Turbo
Base price: $40,200
Price as tested: $49,365
Style: Full size truck
Engine: Turbocharged 2.7-liter 4 (310 hp, 348 lbs-ft)
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
EPA fuel economy: 19/22
Length: 231.7-241.2 inches
Weight: 4,257 to 4,470 pounds
Final assembly point: Roanoke, indiana