Chevy’s EcoTec Engines: Lean, Efficient Driving Machines

December 17th, 2015 by

GM EcoTec Engines


In everything from the highly efficient Malibu to the powerful new Camaro, and even to the reliable Silverado, Chevy proves one thing consistently:

They know, without question, how to make an engine.

Take the EcoTec line of engines developed by Chevy, first introduced in 2014. This family of powerful machines – over a dozen in total, spanning over three- and four-cylinder models, each with a turbocharged edition as well – comes thanks to Chevy’s focus on modularity in their parts. If you haven’t already seen one in action at your nearby KY Chevrolet dealers, now might be the time to consider doing so.

The EcoTec line’s three- and four-cylinder blocks each measure the same in dimensions like bore spacing, bore diameter, and liners to reduce complexity while increasing the ability to adapt each engine for a specific use. This modularity has allowed Chevy to perfect more specific features, like piston-cooling oil jets to optimize performance and a low-noise premium inverted-tooth camshaft drive chain.

This line of small-displacement engines comes from what Chevy describes as its “clean sheet” engineering process, which focused heavily on improving features like central direct fuel injection, continuously variable valve timing, turbocharging and variable intake manifold airflow without sacrificing efficiency or performance. By being able to rely on modular base parts as a starting point, engineers have been able to do just these kinds of improvements.

This line of unassumingly powerful engines has been tasked with powering some of Chevy’s more premium driving machines, like the new 2016 Camaro. This model is driven by the EcoTec 2.0L turbo, which offers an impressive 0-60 mph acceleration in less than 6 seconds and more than 30 mpg on the highway, making this year’s Camaro the most efficient in the model’s history. With a turbocharger that can generate up to 20 pounds of boost and being capable of putting out an SAE-certified 275 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, this little turbo is a serious piece of refined driving power.

The impressive new 2016 Chevy Malibu also runs on a power-dense Ecotec 1.5L turbo engine with fuel-saving stop/start technology to produce an impressive 37 mpg combined. This engine can generate a GM-estimated 160 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque, or drivers can upgrade to the Malibu’s available 2.0L Ecotec turbocharged, offering 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque while maintaining up to 32 mpg highway.

Why has Chevy elected the EcoTec to power its most powerful vehicles? Because the EcoTec can handle it – and Chevy knows it, from experience.

Chevy subjects its EcoTec engines to some of the most grueling testing imaginable. This includes running test engines continuously for more than 2,000 hours – the equivalent of 12 straight weeks – at 5,200 rpm, and cycling engines for 400 straight hours between peak horsepower and peak torque rpm levels in what are some of the most intensive and laborious tests in the industry. By stress testing its engine line so intensively on everything from performance in extreme temperatures to acoustic output, Chevy can move forward with the confidence that its most highly-renowned performance models will continue to impress and deliver consistently excellent performance.