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One of many popular Chevy trucks for sale, a white 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500 Custom, is shown towing a trailer off-road.

Choosing the Best Powertrain in the 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500

“So, what’s under the hood?”

This question has been asked several times by the many men and women in the market for a new pickup truck. And there’s a good reason for this line of questioning. The pickup truck has been closely associated with folks who build and maintain infrastructure from coast to coast, tow and haul the heaviest weight, and get down and dirty in the rough and tumble world of off-roading. Naturally, it only makes sense that someone looking for a vehicle for any one of these activities would look at the powertrain before anything else. Choosing the right engine for the type of truck you’re looking to get is undoubtedly part and parcel of the purchasing process. When it comes to the Chevy Silverado 1500, there are four options to choose from. Since the Silverado 1500 debuted in 1999, many people have flocked to it as a reliable workhorse that they can count on for various purposes based on their chosen options. Today, we take a close look at the powertrains that Chevy has to offer, so the next time you go looking at various Chevy trucks for sale, you can have some all-important information to help you choose which engine works best for you.

2.7L Four-Cylinder “TurboMax”

For many years, the prevailing wisdom among pickup trucks and other vehicles geared toward blue-collared work was simple: big jobs require a big motor. Well, if that was the case, then the TurboMax from Chevy proves that big things emanate from small packages and that four cylinders can be just as capable as eight. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which was recently rechristened TurboMax for the 2024 model year, might be the base engine, but it’s the farthest thing from basic that you can imagine. Equipped with an eight-speed automatic transmission, this “little engine that could” propels the Silverado 1500 forward with the benefit of 310 hp and generates 430 lb-ft of torque. Opting for the 2WD version of the Silverado with this powertrain offers a maximum payload of 2,260 lbs, which also happens to be the Silverado’s best among all four engines. The TurboMax’s towing capabilities are nothing to sneer at either, as this setup grants a maximum towing capacity of 9,500 lbs. Both of these specs indeed prove that less is definitely more in certain situations. Of all three gasoline-powered engines that the Silverado 1500 can be equipped with, its small size grants the TurboMax some of the Silverado’s best fuel economy. Drivers can expect an MPG of 18 and 22 on the highway for a combined average MPG of 20.

5.3L V-8

Many truck owners swear by the power of eight cylinders. Despite the many breakthroughs that have occurred with smaller powertrains, many attest to the prowess and performance that one receives with a V8 engine. It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Chevy offers two distinct eight-cylinder engines to choose from. Both come equipped with GM’s widely-praised ten-speed automatic transmission and offer more than enough power to allow you to complete any task you have before you. The first of these two offerings takes the form of a 5.3L V8. With 355 hp and the capacity to generate 383 lb-ft of torque, it’s got some serious power to go around. Both V8s come with dynamic fuel management, which can be very effective in conserving fuel. This system deactivates certain cylinders whenever they’re not in use, which can be very helpful in the stop-and-go patterns that accompany city driving or any heavy traffic conditions. The 5.3L offers the second-best payload rating among the Silverado 1500, with 2,180 lbs on the 2WD model and 2,110 with 4WD. Towing is also exceptional, as 11,300 lbs is its maximum rating. As evidenced, the 5.3L can be equipped with two-wheel drive (2WD) or four-wheel drive (4WD), once again speaking to Chevy’s specialization in versatility and user customization.

6.2L V8

If you’re in the market for maximum capability, fear not; Chevy has you covered with one of its most potent engines, a 6.2L V8. Like its younger sibling, it comes equipped with a ten-speed automatic transmission and dynamic fuel management to help reduce stress on the engine when it’s not in use. Of all three engines that can be outfitted on the Silverado 1500, it’s the only one exclusive to the 4WD drivetrain. This exclusivity comes with numerous advantages, most notably in performance and towing capacity. The 6.2L pushes out an impressive 420 hp, the highest amount of all four engines. It generates the second-highest amount of torque at 460 lb-ft. As far as towing and trailering are concerned, you’ll have very little to worry about as it boasts the maximum towing capacity on the 2024 Silverado 1500 at 13,300 lbs. If you’re someone who wants to “go big or go home,” then this is certainly the engine that you’ll want to take advantage of.

Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel Six-Cylinder

If there’s one event that Chevy is partly responsible for, it’s the renaissance of the diesel engine. Once considered an outdated item, the Duramax line of engines has proved that diesel is still a viable energy source, especially for work trucks hauling heavy gear, and the engines that Chevy brings to the table prove that point even in the modern era. The 3.0L diesel-fueled six-cylinder allows the Silverado 1500 to generate an impressive 495 lb-ft of torque, the highest among the four engines. While the Duramax offers the lightest capability in terms of payload (1,970 lbs with 2WD and 1,960 lbs with 4WD), its towing capacity matches the 6.2L V8 when equipped with 2WD. 4WD variations still exude an admirable amount of power with that same maxed-out 13,300 lbs towing capacity that speaks to the powertrain’s capabilities. Of course, one of the most impressive aspects of the diesel engine is its ability to go much farther on less fuel. According to testing conducted by the EPA, drivers can expect to travel 23 MPG in the city limits and 29 MPG on the highway for a combined total average MPG of 26. For a truck with so much power to conserve so much fuel, it’s no wonder why the diesel-fueled engine is back in vogue after all these years.

The Fearsome Foursome of Power and Capability

With four unique powertrains to equip the Silverado 1500 with, it’s evident that Chevy is the brand that America trusts to deliver the goods and go the distance in customization when other brands fall short. The Silverado 1500 is still a relatively new vehicle, as the RAM 1500 and Ford F-150 got their starts years before the first offering from Chevy rolled off of the assembly line. However, over the last two-and-a-half decades, this young upstart has proven that overcoming the grizzled veterans with nonstop innovation is always possible. With a punchy four-cylinder that can outperform the competition, two beefy and boisterous V8s that can go the distance and accomplish the heavy lifting, and a torque-heavy diesel engine that can go farther for less and tow more than average, each engine has its own unique attributes that make it honestly difficult to choose. There’s always work to be done, and Chevy is always someone you can rely on if you know what you’re looking for.

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