The Latest and Greatest GM’s all-new Silverado and Sierra
Story by Howard J Elmer, photos by Chevrolet Canada
eneral Motors, as a company, has been through a lot since the Silverado was last new back in 2007. Bankruptcy, restructuring, downsizing, streamlining, and all those other labels that refer to survival as a business, and which have very little to do with building new trucks. So, with everything it has had going on, I’m almost loath to criticize them for how out-of-date the truck products had become. But, the reality is, they have. With these thoughts in mind, I watched Mark Reuss, president of GM North America, introduce the newest generation of Silverado/Sierra on a Detroit-area film studio stage. But, even before seeing the 2014 trucks, Reuss addressed the elephant in the room directly - engines. GM’s motors have fallen behind rivals Ford and Ram, by a lot, and GM knows it. So Reuss’s first introduction was of a new family of engines, the EcoTec3. These encompass three motors - a 4.3-litre V6, a 5.3-litre V8 and a 6.2-litre V8. These are each based on Chevrolet small block technology, but that appears to be where the similarities to older engines with the same displacements end. EcoTec3 engines feature three integrated systems: direct injection, cylinder deactivation and continuously variable valve timing. These will potentially offer better power and also better fuel economy – but then none of these systems is really “new.” What is new are the combinations. Mind you, with the V6, it’s the first time cylinder deactivation has been offered on one of 12 Trucks Plus
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those. That VVT is also part of an automatically advancing and retarding spark system that builds power as the engine senses load – like hitting a hill while towing – after which it resets. Power – but only when you need it. Isn’t this the Holy Grail? But is it better than what Ford is doing with EcoBoost? Or Ram with its eight-speed transmission? That’s the real money question. We’ll see. Right now, there isn’t even a hint on the numbers, as in horsepower, torque or fuel consumption, tow weights or payload. But then GM is brutally aware of its crosstown rivals’ stats, so when we do see the numbers, the only acceptable surprise should be how good they really are.
Published on Feb 19, 2013