GM EcoTec 5.3L V-8, Toyota Tundra 5.7L V-8 Comparison

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GM has finally released some towing, horsepower and fuel economy numbers for it’s new line of “EcoTec” engines. These aluminum block and cylinder head engines are the future at GM. Should Toyota be concerned? Probably not.

GM EcoTec 5.3L V-8 Exterior

Sure looks shiny, but is it a good truck?

According to a Chevrolet (GM) press release, the company plans to offer three different EcoTec engine combos. These will include a 6.2L V-8, a 5.3L V-8 and a 4.3L V-6. While the press is focusing on the “class leading” 6.2L EcoTec3 V-8 engine, it would seem more likely that the majority of truck sales would feature the 5.3L V-8 (also according to sources at GM). Stripping away the hooplah about the 6.2L V-8, we finally can have a “true comparison.”

Before we begin, the numbers for this story are from the press release and estimates done by (using data). And, the numbers are for 2WD pickups. Here is the comparison for Ford, Ram, GM and Toyota.

GM EcoTec 5.3L V-8, Toyota Tundra 5.3L V-8 Comparison

Another item to note is that models built with the 5.3L V-8 will have a towing rating of 11,500 pounds, equipped with the max towing package. Toyota has a 10,100 lb limit with a double cab 5.7L V-8 2wd model with the optional towing package. While a difference of 1,400 pounds might seem like a lot, remember the Toyota is J2807 certified and GM products are not. The difference then is really zip.

On paper, it seems that the Chevy engine is slightly less powerful than Toyota, yet it gets way better MPG. However, with the recent lawsuits about MPG and current wave of controversy regarding these numbers, we aren’t sold just yet.

The reality is that the new Toyota Tundra numbers should be coming out in the next couple of months. It will be interesting to see how these numbers will change, since we know Toyota spent a lot of time/money on improving the aerodynamics of the truck. This leads one to believe that increased MPG will likely follow.

What do you think? Do you take the numbers above as FACT or FICTION?

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  1. LJC says:

    Quick Post: PUTC had a chance to test drive the new Silverado with the 5.3 (I don’t remember the gear ratio) and came very close to the posted MPG estimates.

    So, for the GM, I’m leaning closer to fact. Also, GM revisied the algorithm for switching from 8 to 4 cylinders now that each cylinder is producing more power.

    As for RAM, the numbers are delusional, as with most RAM truck owners–the engine is not even a true Hemi! LOL

    As for Ford, well, if the EB is driven economically, then there’s the condensation problem.

    As for Toyota, aerodynamics will help with highway mileage, but not city. I’m curious about the HP/TRQ numbers though.

  2. tonyspin says:

    When did the Toyota 5.3 V8 come out?

  3. Mickey says:

    I would go fiction. Why? Because they can’t come clean on the “J” towing standards so why should I believe anything put out by the Big 3? GM agreed to do the standards but yet to comply with them. Stated with new model coming out we will. Well that went by and nothing changed. So it’s the same-o same-o. Those rims are hideous. I really hate stock rims they chrome.

  4. AD says:

    I am confused what official numbers is everybody looking for? It has been reported the 2014 Tundra will have the same chassis and powertrain with only retuned exhaust with I guess allows the peak torque to arrive 200 rpm earlier @ 3400. If your trying to tell me Toyota is sprinkling magic dust over it like Ford has been know to do and up the power and tow rating than Toyota will no better than everybody else. In your own interview they gave that lame reason “Frankly, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Re-read that interview. You are missing the aerodynamic changes and the new fins that they added in the wind tunnel to improve aerodynamics. Also, there will be a change in the gear ratio. I am NOT expecting a night and day difference, yet I am expecting something.


  5. Larry says:

    I would caution all to not even look at that milage chart. You have got to drive it in town and on the highway and divide miles by gallons of fuel. Anything else is just speculation.

    Until I get in one of these trucks in Salt Lake and drive interstate 80 to Las Vegas and back I won’t know and when I do it and see 23 MPG for a gas engine truck which weighs 5500 pounds then I will believe it. I am betting it won’t happen. I remember my fathers 1970 1/2 ton Chevy 250 cubic inch inline 6 with a 3 speed trans got 12 MPG. I know they have come a long way but 23 MPG and Ram is claiming 25 with the new trans and V6 while it has 100 more HP?

    There are questions to be asked, how much does each truck weigh, what was done to the engine/transmission/other parts which account for an increase. Is the new truck all plastic? Will it hold up?

    35000 dollars is a lot of money for a truck if we have problems.

    Manufactures and magazines/web sites who sell advertising can’t be trusted. Miles divided by gallons that’s all that counts.

  6. Brian says:

    Well from my experience and observations on Silverado vs tundra are this. Ive had a Silverado with the 5.3 and they are full of shit with their mpg around the town I live in which its nice to drive not a ton of traffic I got 14 city and that’s with there active fuel management. I bought a 2012 tundra last year and with bigger 5.7 and more horse way more I get the same in some cases 15.5 mpg in the same everyday driving what gives. If Toyota had what chevy says they have with cylinder shut down the tundra would would destroy even the new eco tech junk. I guess let me know if someone has the same experiences ive had. Cause im telling the truth

  7. AD says:

    So we are talking 14/19 mpg and the same physical powertrain. I do believe the old saying is you can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig. I think you can put a new interior/exterior and change gear ratio on a 2nd Gen Tundra and call it a 3rd Gen but is still mechanically the 2nd Gen Tundra. I believe the 2nd Gen Tundra’s saving grace is the 5.7L iforce but that won’t be it’s saving grace for forever. The truck is now starting to lag behind the competition in lb ft per city/hwy mpg and ride quality. The fact remains GM has 3 updated engines 1-v6, 1-Mid range power V8 and 1-Max power V8. Now if you line those engines up against the 3rd Gen Tundra’s 3 engines V6 vs. V6, Mid V8 vs. Mid V8 and Max power V8 vs. Max power V8 the Tundra would lose every battle in power for mpg. The result would be the same if you lined them up against the Ford with 3.7L, 5.0L and EB. Ram will beat you in 2 of the 3 as the 4.6L gets better mpg than the 4.7L but a little less power. That one doesn’t make sense as the 4.6L should be making more power and get better mpg than the simple SOHC 4.7L.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      Agreed that yes, we aren’t talking about a BIG MPG improvement. And I agree with your points that Toyota needs to make some sort of powertrain “statement” or it will lag way, way behind. We will have to see, but I think they will real soon. The 7-year product cycle is over (I think) and automakers HAVE to be more responsive.


  8. GoBig says:

    There are lies. Damn lies. And statistics. I don’t take any MPG ratings as gospel.

    It’s been a habit of mine for the past thirty years to set the trip meter with every fill up. A little quick division gives me real world mileage on every tank.

    • Tim Esterdahl says:


      I’m curious on how the “real world” numbers add up for you on Toyota. That is the one thing I have heard over and over again from Toyota is that “our numbers are real world numbers” not the fake numbers from others. Let us know.


      • GoBIg says:

        My Toyota is so old, I don’t think they publish MPG ratings for it. I mainly track the mileage on my ’85 truck as a hobby, and to monitor how it does during different seasons.

        My ’85 4WD truck with the trusty 22RE engine consistently gets 17/22 for mileage. I can’t remember what was claimed back when I bought it twenty some years ago.

        • Larry says:

          If you think that truck is going to ware out and you will get to treat yourself to a new one, you might have to wait another 28 years. I doubt you can kill one of those engines.

          They were simple and well built and what I am looking for in my next truck. I still hear good reports about the new basic Tacoma 4 cylinder 5 speed.

          22 MPG is not bad for an 85 truck when you compare ti to an old US 1/2 ton from that time which got 11 – 12.

      • AD says:

        That whole real world thing bothers me because if they want emphasize that than why not put it through AMCI testing with the other 1/2 tons like on Tundra versus the Competition and give numbers otherwise I think people say that so they can make an unsubstantiated claim. I know EPA number are not real world driving numbers but they are at least substantiated numbers. I am just tired of reading unsubstantiated claims made to downplay the competitions achievement. If Toyota doesn’t like the Ecoboost numbers or the new numbers from GM as it compares to Tundra’s than prove (AMCI Real World Testing) they are false or do better with EPA numbers yourself. We all remember Super Duty won on paper and lost to GM on AMCI real world testing. As far as I am concerned “real world fuel economy” goes in the same pile as non SAE tow ratings as they are unsubstantiated claims.

        • Tim Esterdahl says:


          True yet that is how the marketing world works. You don’t call out your competitors directly, but you do secretively question the “other guys” numbers. This is a problem and a pain in the butt for a consumer looking for real information. The EPA numbers are supposed to change that, but the EPA testing procedures are way out of date. If they would update their methods, maybe we would actually have real numbers.

          So, who are you going to blame? The automaker who thinks the EPA testing isn’t accurate. The EPA who stands by their testing or the car sales guy who is going off the information he has been given. Tough to lay it at one person’s feet.


      • FF704 says:

        Regardless of the company postings, I like go big angle.
        Real world is the #’s you look at.
        My 07 5.7 gets high teens low twenty.
        Its all how ya drive.

  9. Gordich says:

    Great debate! I continue to have no problem achieving 21-21.7 mpg hwy with my 2010 DC 4X4 with the 4.6 in the summer. Winter, not so much with more 4X4 use, idling, larger heavier studded snow tires etc. Plenty of power, great milage and reliability. What more could you ask? I do pull nothing more than 4000lbs and our hiways are 55mph, tho hilly/mountainous and winding. I’ve only installed TRD exhaust/intake for engine mods, and run Michilen all season.

    • Mickey says:

      Agree Gordich. I have no issue getting decent mpg. in my old 07 5.7 CM. I got as high as 24.9 on a 400 miles drive to west palm beach and back. The only issue was people don’t like you to drive 55mph in the right lane. Even on an 1,600 mile round trip up north to the mountaind of VA, and WV doing 80 mph I got 17 mpg. It can be done but most people don’t want to drive the way you can get the most mpg’s or do any mods that hurt mpg’s. Big difference but most are willing to do the mods for looks and now suffer bad mpg’s just to complain about mpg’s. Yes I tow a boat minimum once a month or at most 3x a month to go fishing. Fixing to add 4 more days since the govt is forcing the wife and I to take a furlough day. Which both of us now will be taking our furlough Friday to go fishing. I travel in my truck alot. Why? I like the height of where I sit compared to the wife’s Prius and other vehicles where I fall into the seat. I can afford the gas so I prefer the truck for when I need a truck. I got the CM for max room for everyone who rides with me is just as comfortable as I am. Truck will be paid off very soon so then I can do what I want when I want. Not intrested in GM much less Ford. SInce both Ford F-150 and the Raptor is the most stolen trucks. Silverado is running 3rd in the most stolen truck. Look at the stats.

  10. LJC says:

    From PUTC:
    “Our attempts proved fruitless — whether towing or near full payload, the V-4 mode stayed active. The transitions were so seamless they were close to nonexistent. Our biggest surprise with the V-8 was how long we were able to stay in V-4 mode, both on long highway stretches as well as a few long uphill grades. We’re guessing many test hours have gone into finessing the computer and active fuel management cylinder shutoff, and it’s paid off. During a small portion of our drive route, we covered about 60 miles through the hill country outside San Antonio — a lot of two-lane highways, a few stop lights and gently rolling hills — and found that by keeping a moderate speed (we don’t hypermile) we were able to get 22.6 mpg before we pulled into our final destination, Knibbe Ranch. We should note that our 5.3-liter V-8 did have 3.08:1 axle gears but didn’t feel sluggish off the line with the 6L80’s 4.03:1 first gear. Silverados will offer a standard 26-gallon fuel tank, with a 34-gallon option on select wheelbase/bed configurations.”

  11. mk says:

    I’d like to know what rear axle ratio the 5.3L achieves that big of hwy. miles? Is it the 3.08 or 3.42 or 3.73?

    If 3.73,then I am impressed if 23 hwy holds true. If 3.08 or 3.42 which I will NOT buy, then don’t care it is still a pooch to drive even with the decent hp/torque gains

    I think Toyota should be really scared looking at 3-4 more ‘official’ numbers posted in the big 3 for all the world to see is significant and will sway a lot of buyers to consider the big 3 over the tundra now that gas is now 4 bucks per gallon. Anyone remember when gas was over 4 bucks per gallon a few years ago? Yes, truck sales plummeted and if the tundra doesn’t come up with 20 hwy. mpg NOW they will slip even further into the race.

    By the way, anyone know what rear axle ratio the new tundra in 2014 can now get with the tow pkg.? If possible, I’d prefer 3.9 or at most 4.10 rear axle ratio vs. the beast 4.30 we all have now with the tow pkg. thus improving gas mileage by at least 1 more hwy. mpg if possible to get with the tow pkg.

    3.08 or 3.42 in the GM trucks are ONLY good for 55-60 mph flat level roads period, nothing more and certainly not to pull any load whatsoever let alone their own weight. I had a dealer talk me into brand new a 3.42 rear axle ratio in the chevy silverado and sold that in 5 months hated the constant kicking in and out of gears up even slight hills and actually got the worst gas mileage. The 4.30 in the tundra though in my opinion is a tad bit of overkill unless towing over 3000 lbs. 3,9 or 4.10 would do just fine for me.

    If GM’s mpg holds true, I’m in the market to go test drive them soon once they become available and take it out for a 2-3 hour cruise to see how it gets for mpg since GM now offers a crewcab with 6 1/2′ bed that toyota does not.

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