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A gray 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500 HD ZR2 is shown parked off-road.

Picking the Best Powertrain: A 2024 Chevy Silverado Buying Guide

Ever since it debuted in 1999, the Chevy Silverado 1500 has continually been the pickup that more people trust to deliver the goods and accomplish the most arduous tasks. When it comes to choosing the right version of the 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500, there’s a variety of options in terms of performance and capability, all of which start with the engine. Whether you’re looking for a job site workhorse or something to handle the rigors of an off-road adventure, we’re here to break down the details of each powertrain to assist you in making a well-informed choice. Of course, the right choice for you depends on what you need from your Silverado. Rather than simply say “it depends,” let’s take a close look at these engine offerings and what each of them does best.

2.7L TurboMax I-4

Many people assume that any base offering powertrain is limited in power and capability, with the more potent being reserved for the upper trim levels. For the 2024 model year, Chevy takes that assumption and throws it out the window, because the base offering for the Silverado is anything but basic. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine packs plenty of punch, with 310 horsepower and the capacity to generate 430 lb-ft of torque. That’s a lot of power from a relatively small engine, especially for a truck this size, but it’s more than capable of moving this truck down the road with no trouble at all. It feels more like a small V8, or at least a big V6.

Chevy has paired this engine with an eight-speed automatic transmission, which makes for a combination of ideal performance. When equipped with rear-wheel drive, the Silverado has its highest payload rating, which maxes out at 2,260 lbs. This means it’s more than ideal for construction jobs that require carrying supplies, debris, and other objects of considerable weight. While the TurboMax predictably has the lowest towing capacity of the four engines available for the Silverado 1500, it’s still impressive for its size. Four-wheel drive models can pull up to 9,300 lbs, and two-wheel drive trucks have an increased capacity of 9,500 lbs.

Aside from its ability to be an adaptable workforce, the TurboMax also provides conservative fuel consumption. A rear-wheel drive 2.7L Silverado can average 19 MPG when traveling in the city limits, and up to 22 MPG when it takes to the highway, making it ideal for handling the daily commute.

5.3L V8

The first of the two V8 options that are available on the Silverado 1500, the 5.3L V8, propels the Silverado forward with 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. It also has the benefit of a ten-speed automatic transmission, which drivers have praised for its seamless shifting and capability, instead of the four-cylinder’s eight-speed. The 5.3L also has an excellent reputation for its durability, with some reporting well over 200,000 miles on this engine and still going strong.

While its payload capabilities aren’t as impressive as the TurboMax, it can still hold up to 2,180 lbs when properly equipped. For those who do a decent amount of towing, a maximum capacity of 11,300 lbs is more than enough to handle whatever life decides to throw toward you. Like the TurboMax, the 5.3L is available on a regular, double, and crew cab, making it a highly adaptable option. If you need a bit more oomph than the standard engine, particularly for towing, you won’t go wrong with the 5.3L V8.

6.2L V8

There’s no denying that some of us have very large tasks ahead of us, and when they need to be accomplished quickly, you bring out the big guns. This is where the 6.2L V8 comes in. Exclusively paired with four-wheel drive, this is the powertrain that gets more done. Like the 5.3L, it also pairs with a ten-speed automatic transmission. Of all four engines, the 6.2L possesses the highest amount of horsepower at 420, and the second-highest torque rating at 460 lb-ft. While it has the second-lowest payload capacity of 1,980 lbs, it makes up for this with the highest available tow rating of 13,300 lbs.

While this engine certainly enables the Silverado to be a titan of towing, it can also be useful for those who like to take their adventures off the pavement and down the path less traveled. The ZR2 edition of the Silverado, which is exclusively made for off-roading, is equipped with the 6.2L V8. With its ground clearance of more than eleven inches, you’ll have the most potent off-roading powertrain available. If maximum performance, either for towing of off-road capability, is what you’re after, the 6.2L V8 is the engine choice for you.

Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel I-6

In recent years, GM has been leading the way in terms of a diesel renaissance in pickup trucks. Not only has the diesel engine made a miraculous comeback, but it’s also proved that it can be more efficient in certain areas than its gasoline-powered counterparts. This six-cylinder diesel engine might have the lowest horsepower number at 305, but diesel aficionados know that it’s not horsepower, but torque that matters here. The Duramax 3.0L Turbo-Diesel I-6 belts out 495 lb-ft of torque, the most of any engine that’s available for the Silverado. The rear-wheel drive version of the Silverado with the Duramax under its hood matches the maximum towing capacity of the 6.2L V8 at 13,300 lbs.

The advantages that diesel offers are more than just performance and capability. The Duramax also offers the best fuel economy out of all four engines, even the 2.7L TurboMax. At its most efficient, the diesel engine offers drivers 24 MPG in the city limits and 29 MPG on the highway. With maximum capability and incredible efficiency, Chevy proves that diesel is still a reliable energy source in the modern age. Although diesel costs more per gallon than gas at the pump, the extra miles you’ll get from each gallon can make the higher price more than worth it. For the best fuel economy, as well as optimum towing characteristics, consider the Duramax diesel.

There’s also been a notable change to the Duramax for the 2024 model year. For the first time, the Silverado 1500 ZR2, with its design specifically made for the path less traveled, will have this diesel option available as well as the 6.2L V8. The high levels of torque to overcome obstacles and extra range and MPG will allow for maximum efficiency, no matter what travels you decide to embark upon.

Performance that Goes the Extra Mile

There’s something to be said about any manufacturer that strives to offer its customers variety in their vehicles. With a lineage stretching all the way back to 1911, Chevy certainly exemplifies this philosophy, and when it comes to the 2024 Chevy Silverado 1500 we see this theory in practice. From a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that offers potency in a small package, to two boisterous V8s that tackle obstacles and obligations with minimal effort, to a diesel six-cylinder that pushes capability and economy to the absolute limit, it’s easy to see why the Silverado is the truck that more Americans trust.