Chevy’s New SUV Motors Are Small, but They Pack a Big Power Punch

Perhaps you’ve seen the news that we will see a new 2024 Chevy Trax SUV. Many rolled their eyes at the announcement, and we remember the last version’s anemic 1.4-liter turbo hamster wheel. But one look at the spec sheet for the new one, and you may say, “Whoa,” because the new version gets a direct-injected three-cylinder engine that makes more power.

The new Ecotec is one of several pint-sized powerhouses that Chevy is putting in its new SUVs like the Trailblzer and trucks that sip fuel, and tow trailers.

Turbochargers make the power happen on the new 2024 Chevy Trax

2024 Trax in Red RS trim
The new Chevy Trax RS | Chevrolet

We won’t see the new Trax until the 2024 model year, unfortunately, but the new engine should make it worth the weight, according to Chevy. It’s a small 1.2-liter, in fact many motorcycles have larger mills with more cylinders. And, like those superbike motors this thing makes decent power, at 137 horsepower. But, with new technology like direct injection of the fuel and a turbo, it makes almost 10% more torque than last year’s motor.

Unfortunately, GM has not released miles-per-gallon figures yet, but it’s not hard to expect it to top 30 mpg in town. The same engine in the larger 2023 Trailblazer earns 29 mpg in the city.  

The new 2023 Chevy Trailblazer benefits, too

A yellow 2023 Chevy Trailblazer parked outside on a nature trail. Is it bigger than the Chevy Equinox?
2023 Chevy Trailblazer | Chevrolet

Speaking of the new 2023 Trailblazer, it gets an upgraded version of the three-cylinder GM Ecotec engine that’s a 1.3-liter. The new Trailblazer probably won’t burn up any racetracks with the updated motor, but it does have a healthy 155 horsepower and 174 lb.-ft of torque, which should help it keep up with traffic just fine.

The Ecotec engines come in 11 versions

When the Ecotec family of engines was announced, GM announced 11 versions of the new engine family. Today, several other Chevy SUVs use the family of engines, whose hallmark is their small size and their turbos that force more air into the engine to make more power. For example, the new 2023 Equinox’s base engine is a tiny 1.5-liter that makes up to 175 horsepower and 203 lb.-ft of torque. From a relatively small 2.0-liter, the new Blazer’s base engine pumps out 228 horsepower.

The small-engine revolution isn’t just for Chevy SUVs

For 2023, Chevy is launching an all new Colorado small pickup truck. While most of us think trucks, even midsize trucks, we think they need big motors to haul and tow. But, the new Colorado truck gets a small (for a truck) 2.7-liter four-cylinder that comes in three different versions. The base version makes 259 lb.-ft of torque, while the middle version makes 390 and the High-Output version makes 430 lb.-ft, which rivals the diesel engine in last year’s model.

The new engines aren’t just for small trucks, either. The full-sized Silverado, too, gets the turbocharged four-cylinder as its base engine. In the big truck you can get two different V8s or a diesel, but the turbocharged four-cylinder makes as much horsepower, 310, as Chevy’s V8s from just a few years ago.

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