The announcement came on April Fool’s Day, but it wasn’t a joke: GM is saying the newest iteration of its 5.3-liter smallblock V8 will get better fuel economy than Ford’s EcoBoost V6.
According to the press release from General Motors, the EcoTec3 V8 in the new Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will use a host of engine technologies including direct injection, cylinder deactivation, and variable valve timing to achieve an EPA highway rating of 23 MPG on two-wheel drive models. That beats the EcoBoost V6 EPA estimate by one MPG.
The 5.3-liter V8 makes 355 horsepower and 383 ft-lbs of torque, putting it in the same neighborhood as Ford’s 5.0-liter “Coyote” V8, which makes 360 horsepower and 380 ft-lbs. However, the 23 MPG highway estimate of the GM engine is a full two MPG better than the Ford engine. The new GM engine will make 40 more horsepower and 48 more ft-lbs of torque than the 5.3-liter you could buy in 2013 Silverados and Sierras.
Here is where we note that the GM 5.3-liter is still eclipsed slightly by the base V6 offerings from Ford and Ram, which get 23 MPG and 25 MPG highway estimates from the EPA, respectively. We expect GM’s newly revamped 4.3-liter V6 to have less of a thirst for fuel than the 5.3 liter, though to our knowledge, no official EPA estimates have been released for that engine yet. With several hundred cubic centimeters more displacement than either Ford’s 3.7-liter or Ram’s 3.6-liter, beating either engine’s fuel economy ratings may be a tall order for the General.
Not that it’ll matter all that much to Chevrolet and GMC truck shoppers, perhaps. The press release noted that last year, three out of four buyers opted for the 5.3-liter V8 option in GM half-ton trucks. It would appear GM is going to keep the option price relatively low so it remains appealing: The 5.3-liter V8 will be an $895 option in the 2014 model year, the press release said.