These Aren’t Your Daddy’s V-6s

Sheryl Balsley, assistant chief engineer, says don’t discount V-6s solely on cylinder count

Pickup trucks are an interesting animal within the automotive world. They quickly become a deeply-engrossed part of our lives, taking anything we may throw at them, and handling it with ease. It’s no surprise that pickup truck owners hold on to their vehicles for so long – an average 10.4 years.

This poses an interesting dilemma when those owners look to get out of their ten-year-old pickup trucks and into something newer and more refined. In 2004 a V-8 was really the only way to get a heap of power and torque for towing and hauling, today, things have since changed.

Thanks to a slew of advanced engine technologies, including direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management, the new 4.3L EcoTec3 V-6 engines are good for an impressive 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. When compared to the 4.8L Vortex V-8 found in the 2004 Silverado, you’ll find that is the same amount of horsepower, and even 10 more lb-ft of torque, all while giving a three-mpg bump in city driving, and five in highway conditions. When compared to competitors’ offerings from that same year, you’ll find the same results.

While the “bigger is better” mentality may have applied in the past, that’s not necessarily the case anymore. So, if your truck is more than capable of handling the workload you throw at it, when you look to replace it, consider more than purely cylinder count. Well, unless you don’t want better fuel economy.


Sheryl Balsley is Assistant Chief Engineer for Ecotec3 Engines. In her more than 25 years working on GM engines, Sheryl has been fortunate to have had opportunities to work on many generations of truck gasoline engines in various roles including design, validation, calibration and now current role.

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