General Motors’ Ecotec 3 engine offers pulling power

General Motors is the last of the big three Detroit vehicle manufacturers to redo their light truck line. Sales have slowed due to the knowledge that an all-new truck would be available soon.

Ecotec 3 is the name of the new generation of engines at GM. Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra will have engine choices pared down to three from several. All three are more powerful and considerably more fuel efficient than the engines they replace due to variable valve timing, revamped fuel injection and cylinder deactivation.

Power doesn’t suffer. The standard 4.3 litre V6 produces 285 horsepower and 305 pound feet of torque, while the optional 5.3 litre aluminum V8 puts out 355 h.p. and 383 lb. ft torque. At the top is the mega motor 6.2 litre V8 with 420 horsepower and 480 lb. ft. torque.

Towing capacity starts at 7,200 lb. with the V6 and rises up to 11,500 lb. with the 5.3 litre and then climbs to 12,000 lb. when equipped with the 6.2 litre V8. The only transmission available is the 6L80 six-speed automatic, which is available with hill decent control, as well as a tow haul mode.

Silverado will have the most trim variations and starts at $25,540 for a regular cab. The double cab four–door version starts at $29,435. Crew cabs with four large doors make up about 60 percent of sales volume, and start at $30,995. Within these cab choices are box length choices, choices between two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive, as well as seven different trim levels.

The first driving impression is of how quiet the interior is at any speed. The second is how good the brake pedal feels under braking of all types, with and without a trailer. After that, the brain wakes up to a cacophony of change.

Put a load in the back or hook to a trailer, it makes little difference to the 5.3 litre V8 when equipped with a trailer towing package. A driver will know that there is a load, but it tows so well with the sway control that many will not realize how much weight is back there.

Hill decent, tow haul mode and four large disc brakes will keep control while driving.

Due to the size of the crew cab, getting around in town requires patience and a bit of skill to park something of this size.

Backing up is easy thanks to large mirrors and the rear parking sensors. A back-up camera is available as part of the “My Link” system.

Unless the new trucks are placed beside a previous generation, there aren’t a lot of obvious changes to the wheel wells or the fact that on the crew cab the door pillar has been moved ahead six or seven centimetres to make it easier to get in and out of the rear seat. Sharp observers might notice that Xenon headlamps are available in redesigned front ends and that the back ends have been changed as well.

There are changes to the centre console between the two bucket seats. Connectivity is the goal there and multiple USB ports and power outlets adorn the centre stack.

Silverado gets a locking cabinet in the bottom portion of the centre console while the Sierra centre console is set up to hold hanging files.

Seats are good quality and comfortable. For the first time, heated seats will be available with cloth trim. At the top of the line, perforated leather is standard.

This truck is competitive with any truck on the market.

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