Just looking at the wide range of options available for the Chevy Silverado, it’s easy for even the least informed of drivers to see that this model has an array of configurations. From the basic and affordable 1500 WT to the off-road-ready ZR2 to the luxurious and powerful HD High Country, the Silverado encompasses a wide range of capabilities, styles, and price points. For those looking for a Chevy Silverado for sale, there is a lot to consider when narrowing down that perfect model.
We could spend hours getting bogged down in all of the latest tech features and differences between various models, but instead, we’re going to focus on perhaps the most important element drivers are looking for in a truck: what’s under the hood? Between the 1500, 2500, and 3500 models, the Silverado can be equipped with six different engines. Most are gas-powered, but some diesel options are also in the lineup. Let’s take a deep dive into all of these engine options and see how they measure up.
2.7L Turbo High-Output
We’ll begin with the most basic engine in the lineup, which comes standard on the WT, Custom, Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST Double Cab, and LT Trail Boss trims of the Silverado 1500. Like the truck, this engine is generally built to be durable and tough, and although it’s far from the most powerful option, its stats are still pretty impressive. This four-cylinder engine provides up to 310 hp and 430 lb-ft. of torque, giving it a maximum towing capacity of 9,500 lbs, depending on which Silverado model it’s equipped in and whether you opt for a trailering package.
5.3L Ecotec3 V8
Upgrade to a higher trim level like the RST Crew Cab, LTZ, or High Country, and you’ll get a 5.3-liter V8 under the hood as standard equipment. For 2WD versions of those trims, the standard engine is equipped with dynamic fuel management, but this is not the case for 4×4 trucks. However, while it’s not standard, dynamic fuel management is available for the 4×4 models. The 5.3L is also available on most other trim levels, from the LT Trail Boss down to the WT 2WD.
Boasting up to 355 hp and 383 lb-ft. of torque, the V8 is certainly an upgrade in terms of power. The trade-off is that it’s less fuel efficient than the 2.7L Turbo, with a rating of 16 MPG in the city and 21 MPG on the highway, compared to the Turbo’s 19 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway. If you need some extra trailering capacity, this engine delivers. When certain trim levels are properly equipped, it can tow up to 11,200 lbs.
6.2L Ecotec3 V8
An even more powerful V8, the 6.2L only comes standard on the rugged ZR2 trim, though you can also get it under the hood of the Custom Trail Boss, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. It delivers an impressive 420 hp and can provide up to 460 lb-ft. of torque. When properly equipped, a Silverado with this engine under the hood can tow up to 13,300 lbs, which is pretty notable for its class. Once again, however, you’ll have to suck up a little pain at the pump to access this power. The 6.2L is estimated to get an estimated 15 MPG in the city and 20 MPG on the highway.
Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel
If you want the best of both worlds when it comes to power and fuel economy, you can always opt for the diesel option, which is the most efficient engine offered on the Silverado 1500. While its horsepower might seem underwhelming at 277 hp, it makes up for it by delivering a whopping 460 lb-ft. of maximum torque. And when it comes to fuel economy, the EPA estimates that it gets up to 23 MPG in the city and 31 MPG on the highway.
Diesel isn’t a standard option on any trim, but it’s available on the Custom Trail Boss, LT, RST, LT Trail Boss, LTZ, and High Country. Matching the max capacity on the 6.2L V8, the Duramax engine offers 2WD towing of up to 13,300 lbs, depending on the model and trailering package. This makes it a tempting choice for roadtrippers who want to bring their camper along on vacation without spending an arm and a leg to fuel up along the way.
The Next Generation Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel
The stats mentioned above apply to the 2022 model year, but for the 2023 Silverado, a new version of the diesel engine will be available. Thanks to a variety of upgrades, including new steel pistons, new fuel injectors, a re-tuned turbo compressor, and improved temperature control features, the second generation Duramax will be even more powerful. Chevy has announced that it will offer drivers an improved 305 hp and 495 lb-ft of torque. We can assume that this new version will continue to offer the fuel economy and smooth ride that draws many truck drivers to choose diesel.
6.6L V8 Gas Engine
As powerful as the 1500 may be, it’s still a light-duty truck. Whether you work hard or play hard, sometimes you just have to upgrade to heavy duty to get the job done. All trims of the Silverado HD come standard with a 6.6L V8 that delivers up to 401 hp and 464 lb-ft of torque. It pairs with a six-speed automatic transmission and, with the right model and equipment, boasts a max trailering weight of 17,370 lbs.
Duramax 6.6L Turbo-Diesel V8
The optional diesel version offers an impressive 445 hp and a whopping 910 lb-ft of torque, almost double what the gas-powered version can provide. This makes it the best choice for trailering since it allows a properly-equipped Silverado HD to tow up to 36,000 lbs. It pairs with an Allison ten-speed automatic transmission, making it nicely responsive for a smooth ride. The EPA doesn’t test vehicles as heavy as the HD, but Car and Driver ran their own test and found that a Silverado 2500 with the gas V8 earned 14 MPG on the highway, while the same model with the diesel engine got 19 MPG.
The Silverado EV
While the all-electric version of the Silverado hasn’t been released yet, Chevy has dropped some details about the upcoming model, so let’s take a look at what we know so far. The EV won’t have an engine; instead, it will be powered by a pair of electric motors. This frees up space under the hood and in the center console, allowing Chevy to use this to give the Silverado a sealed front trunk and extra storage space in the cabin. According to Chevrolet, the EV will get an estimated 754 hp and 780 lb-ft of torque.
However, that power won’t necessarily translate to extra towing capacity. The EV will apparently be able to tow up to 10,000 lbs, though Chevy has already mentioned that a future WT model will be able to tow up to 20,000 lbs. The electric Silverado is set to have an impressive 400-mile range on a full charge and will be quick too. According to Chevy, the EV will go from zero to sixty in 4.5 seconds.
Our Overall Impression
The Silverado’s versatility is one of its many strengths. Not only is every model well-suited to a variety of tasks, but there are so many different versions to choose from that each driver can get a truck that strikes the right balance between power, fuel economy, and price. The extensive selection of engines helps make this diversity possible. From contractors looking for a work truck to off-roaders who want a formidable beast to road trippers who want to travel the country with a fully decked-out trailer, there’s a Silverado for everyone.