Editor's note: A previous version of this report implied versions of the Ford and Ram pickups weigh less than 2,000 pounds. It has been corrected. In addition, a photo was incorrectly described as being an image of the four-cylinder engine. The correct photo is now shown.
DETROIT -- General Motors is doubling the number of engines available in the redesigned 2019 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra 1500 pickups, including the addition of a new four-cylinder turbocharged engine that can run on two cylinders to increase fuel economy.
The 2.7-litre I-4 turbo engine is a major milestone for the company. It is the first modern-day four-cylinder engine in a full-size pickup and the industry's first pickup capable of running on two cylinders.
The engine, GM believes, will help it lead in fuel efficiency against Ford's aluminum-bodied F-150 with V-6 Ecoboost engines and a redesigned Ram 1500 with a mild hybrid system.
"Everybody's going to get their chance to claim they're winning. We're going to claim that we're the highest fuel efficiency vehicle and what it means for our customer and the value we give back to our customer," Tim Herrick, executive chief engineer of GM's full-size pickups, said during a media briefing Thursday at the company's proving grounds in the Detroit suburb of Milford.
Herrick and GM later clarified those comments to Automotive News, saying the lineup will be “very competitive in fuel efficiency.” The company cited EPA testing is not finalized for the 2019 models.
GM did not release expected fuel economy estimates for the engine, priding, exact payload and towing specifications or details about its availability and capabilities in the Sierra.
Jeff Luke, global director of gasoline engines at GM, said "it is very possible" the new four-cylinder could eventually replace the traditional V-6 in the pickups.
"This engine has been specifically designed for truck durability and reliability and performance," Luke told Automotive News. "We believe this package is going to be very well-received by our customers."
The engine is rated at 310 hp and 348 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and will be standard on the new Silverado RST and popular Silverado LT trims -- replacing a 4.3-litre V-6 that's rated at 285 hp and 305 pound-feet torque.
According to GM, the new engine package in the Silverado delivers 0-to-60 mph (0-to-96 km/h) performance in less than seven seconds and weighs 380 pounds less than the current pickup with the 4.3-litre V-6. The company also made significant enhancements to reduce turbo lag.