The new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 and its corporate cousin the 2014 GMC Sierra 1500 pickup models will start to arrive at dealerships this spring boasting the best EPA ratings of any comparable full-size V8-powered competitor. Fitted with GM's new 5.3-liter EcoTec V8, both earn 16/23/19 mpg city/highway/combined marks in rear-drive configuration and 16/22/18 mpg stats in 4-wheel-drive form. Those numbers put their highway estimates 2 mpg above V8 versions of the Ford F-150 and 3 mpg ahead of the Ram V8, and also better an F-150 fitted with the EcoBoost V6, although the Ford and Ram figures quoted are for 2013 model-year trucks.

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Thanks to its new Gen5 architecture, the 5.3-liter GM V8 in the Chevy/GMC pickups features numerous efficiency-enhancing design optimizations, highlighted by direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing and Active Fuel Management - aka cylinder deactivation. Rated at 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque, respective gains of 40 and 48 output units compared to the 2013 engine, this new 5.3 EcoTec V8 also gives the 1500-Series trucks a class-leading tow capacity of up to 11,500 pounds when properly equipped.

No word yet on how the two other new engines developed for these trucks - a standard 4.3-liter EcoTec V6 and top-line 6.2-liter EcoTec V8 - due to be released later this year will fare in the great EPA shootout. However, GM has stated that both will offer improved efficiency and capability relative to their 2013 counterparts.

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In addition to fuel-efficiency numbers, Chevy and GMC also released the other set of significant digits on at least some of these new pickups: pricing. The base V6-powered 2014 Chevrolet Sierra 1500 regular cab with rear-drive will start at $24,585, the same as 2013, while the double cab is set to open at $28,610 and the first to go on sale crew cab model commencing at $32,710. Stepping up to the 5.3 V8 adds $895 to each. On the 2014 Sierra 1500 side of the ledger, the opening price points have risen slightly but still ring in at $25,085, $29,110 and $33,210, respectively.



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