The Chevy Silverado has shape-shifting versatility that has made it one of the most recognizable pickup truck names in the game. From the lean and mean Chevy Silverado 1500 to the mac daddy of the family, the Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, this truck can cover a lot of bases (and carry a bunch of stuff). Part of what differentiates the 1500, 2500, and 3500 classes of Silverado is what’s underneath the hood. The current models – the 2022 Chevy Silverado 1500, 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD, and 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD – are offered with a total of six different engines with varying performance outputs. There are four engines offered for the Chevy Silverado 1500 and two for the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD.
The Chevy Silverado 1500 Engines
The lighter-duty Chevy Silverado 1500 is a true passenger truck. It’s designed primarily for personal use. It has no problem carrying a cab full of passengers plus a few pieces of furniture, but the payload and towing capacity max out with far-lighter fare than its 2500 and 3500 counterparts are used to hauling. That’s okay, though. Since it’s a passenger vehicle, it doesn’t need quite as much power as the 2500 and 3500 Silverados, and it should ride smoothly even when the truck bed is empty. There are four GM engines designed for exactly that: the 2.7 L I-4 Turbo High-Output engine, the 5.3 L V8 ECOTEC3 engine, the 6.2 L V8 ECOTEC3 L87 engine, and the 3.9 L Duramax I-6 Turbo-Diesel engine.
2.7 L I-4 Turbo High-Output Engine
The Chevy Silverado 1500 has had a 2.7L I-4 engine for a while now, but this year they are introducing a new Turbo High-Output version of the engine. This little engine now packs a pretty big punch. This engine comes paired with a smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. While this is still the smallest engine in the lineup, it packs a much bigger punch than it did in previous years. This engine will still give you 310 horsepower as it has done in the past, but the High-Output variant beefs up the torque output. Instead of 348 lb-ft of torque, you now get 420 lb-ft of torque.
Developed with trucks in mind, this engine offers peak torque which translates into a maximum of 9,500 lbs of towing capacity. The tires will really grab onto the road at lower speeds (great for towing and off-roading) and will also make the throttle feel really responsive when accelerating from a slow speed, creating a truck that feels delightfully zippy. It’s a great option if you want a truck that will work as an excellent daily commuter while also providing enough power to handle towing a camper on a trip or a little bit of off-roading excitement.
5.3 L V8 ECOTEC3 Engine
The EcoTec3 line of engines were first seen way back in 2014 (in the Chevy Silverado 1500 and the GMC Sierra 1500). They’re designed specifically for trucks and aim for efficiency, utilizing technologies like direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing. The current 5.3 L V8 engine melds power and efficiency, boasting 355 hp and 383 lb-ft of torque with a ten-speed automatic transmission. It automatically switches to the more fuel-conscious four-cylinder mode during light-load driving. The V8 has pistons that fan out from the crankshaft to form a “V.” It doesn’t have the same natural balance as an inline engine, but it’s more space-efficient, allowing for more pistons and higher power output. With this engine, your towing increases to a max of 11,200 lbs.
6.2 L V8 ECOTEC3 Engine
The largest engine of the ECOTEC3 has the most impressive power specs with 420 hp and 460 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired with the smooth-shifting ten-speed automatic transmission. It’s the standard engine in the all-new 2022 Chevy Silverado ZR2, a performance pickup built to tackle rugged terrain. However, the Custom Trail Boss, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country trims all have the option to add on the 6.2 L V8 engine for increased performance.
3.9 L Duramax I-6 Turbo-Diesel Engine
Duramax engines are a series of turbocharged diesel engines created by GM; the line first started in 2001. This particular version of the Duramax Turbo-Diesel engine produces a max horsepower of 277 and max torque of 460 lb-ft. This is the engine you want if you intend to use this engine for a lot of work. The improved performance of the diesel engine with its high torque rating makes it ideal for off-roading adventure, but especially for towing with a maximum capability of 13,300 lbs. Like the two V8 options, this engine also comes with a ten-speed automatic transmission.
The Chevy Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD Engines
Both the Chevy Silverado 2500 and the Chevy Silverado 3500 are given the “HD” status, showing their increased towing and payload capacities geared more towards commercial use. These vehicles were made to work and actually drive a little rough unless the bed is carrying a load. Increased performance demand calls for a bigger engine, and these Silverados have just that. There are two engine variants offered with the Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD, the 6.6 L V8 engine and the 6.6 L Duramax V8 Turbo-Diesel engine.
6.6 L V8 Engine
The standard gasoline option for the Chevy Silverado 2500 HD and 3500 HD is a 6.6 L V8. It gets 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. It features high-strength components that a heavy-duty vehicle calls for, like a forged steel crankshaft and forged powder-metal connecting rods. It’s paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and has a maximum towing capability of 17,370 lbs for the 2500 HD or 17,200 lbs for the 3500 HD when appropriately equipped. The payload numbers with this engine rest at a max of 3,979 lbs for the 2500 HD and 7,442 lbs for the 3500 HD. If you find yourself hauling loads more than towing, the gas option is the one for you.
6.6 L Duramax V8 Turbo-Diesel Engine
The real workhorse of the bunch is the Duramax Turbo-Diesel V8. This engine gets 445 horsepower and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque with a ten-speed automatic transmission, meaning you can get some serious towing power. The 2022 Chevy Silverado 2500 HD can tow up to 18,510 lbs when equipped with the long bed and other trailering add-ons. The 2022 Chevy Silverado 3500 HD, however, can tow up to 36,000 lbs when fully equipped. This is the engine you need when your priority is the towing power, though the payload still looks good with up to 3,715 lbs for the 2500 HD and 6,532 lbs for the 3500 HD.
Proven Work Ethic
No matter which engine is going to work under the hood, the strength and capability of the Chevy Silverado will be showcased, as it has been since the truck debuted in 1999. Since then, many engines have come and gone, with each new generation seeing gains in horsepower and torque while improving fuel efficiency. It just keeps getting better. With a strong engine to back it up, the sky truly is the limit for the Chevy Silverado.