4.3 V6 or 5.3 V8 for 2014-2016 Chevrolet/GMC Silverado/Sierra 4WD?

Howdy to y’all! I am considering a pickup in the model(s) I mentioned in the title above…I’m considering an used model in the crew cab body style. What I’m asking is what would you advise when it comes to selecting the motor…would a 285 horsepower V6 be sufficient for the 4WD pickup? Or go with the 5.3 V8? I wanted to ask your opinions. I’ve test-driven both engines and both feel the same power-wise. So…any help? And I have researched the MPG on both engines and I don’t see much difference. I don’t plan to do a lot of towing. I do plan to go camping in the mountains occasionally. Thanks for all your help.

The 5.3 V8 has been know for high oil consumption issues in the past. The V6 is bulletproof

I’ve had 2 GMC/Chevrolet trucks with the 4.3L V6. It was more than adequate for me, though I never did any serious towing.

Take your pick based on driving tests and the options available on the trucks available. Edmunds says in their True Cost to Own that repair costs will be identical in the first 5 years of ownership and maintenance at the dealer will be about $150 more for the V8 over the next 5 years. The V8 has a lot more horsepower and torque but EPA mileage is only 1 mpg less on average. The cost differences seem inconsequential to me. You will get a lot more capability with the V8 for very little extra money after purchase. I don’t know what the purchase prices are in your area, but assuming the V8 costs more to buy, you need to play that off against the extra capabilities of the V8.

What will you carry? Tow?

We have tons of GM trucks in our fleet

No doubt about it

Go for the V8

I plan to tow occasionally. I also plan to put a camper shell on the bed. Is the V8 worth it?

If you mean a fiberglass shell with a roof that is even with the car roofline, it doesn’t matter. If you mean a real camper, then you want the V8.

Actually, from what @db4690 says, the V8 is the way to go. He works for a government fleet operation in the Los Angeles, California area. He sees a lot of trucks daily. If I wanted a truck, I’d depend on his advice. Others around here know a lot, too, but many of them haven’t commented yet.

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Exactly what are you planning to tow, and how often?

If it’s fairly big . . . such as a horse trailer . . . I highly recommend the upgraded transmission and cooling system. Think engine oil cooler lines, transmission cooler lines, and so forth. In that case, you’d be best served with a 2500. In which case, the choice has already been made for you, as I believe those are all V8

Please give us more details on this camper shell. As @jtsanders said, they’re not all the same.

The 4.3 is a capable engine and has certainly been durable in most applications, but it’s very dated. The 5.3 is a smoother, quieter engine and if you find a model with Active Fuel Management should be just as economical to drive. The 5.3 will also be more maintenance accessible and easier to service.

The 5.3 will give you better bang for your buck.

I plan to put a fiberglass camper shell on the bed. And maybe tow a rental pop up camper from time to time. Wow all this advice is awesome. I knew I came to the right place. I’ve been a long time reader of this forum. I plan to travel on the highway quite a bit with the pickup. I’ve read that the V8 has the active fuel management system. Does that apply to the V6?

I’ll keep you all updated on what I pick…it should be a month or so when I finally buy a pickup.

So you’re planning to use the truck as your daily driver?

How many people will regularly be in the truck?

Regular cab, long bed

Regular cab, short bed

extended cab, long bed

extended cab, short bed

crew cab, short bed

crew cab, long bed

and so on . . .

Which one?

As far as this pop up camper, I believe they are for the most part pretty small, fiberglass, single axle?

I definitely want the crew cab with short bed. I owned a regular cab before and had no storage at all. I would assume a rental pop up camper would be single axle.

Given all that information, my opinion has not changed

Go with the V8

We have a lot of 4x4 Yukons with the 5.3 V8 in our fleet. I couldn’t imagine driving such a truck . . . or bigger, as in your case . . . with anything less under the hood

No offense to modern technology, but in my opinion there ar e times when nothing less than a stout V8 under the hood will do. Don’t forget that the 4x4 “stuff” adds a lot of weight. And somethings’s got to push it around.

Guys, I’m talking about body-on-frame trucks here. I’m well aware there are plenty of sports cars with high-tech smaller engines under the hood. So if somebody wants to tell me about their V6 powered pony car . . . some of you will know what kind of cars I’m talking about :smirk: . . . which smokes everybody else on the road, that’s great. I’m happy for you, but it doesn’t really address the OP’s questions

Thank you sir for your advice. Much appreciated!

No, Active Fuel Management isn’t an option on the 4.3. Not all the 5.3 have it either.

Personally I wouldn’t opt for it but I’ve never been concerned with fuel economy in a truck.


I also wouldn’t opt for it. There have been many iterations over the years, from various manufacturers. And there have been plenty of problems, as gearheads know. And I believe its primary advantage has been that it’s been a great marketing tool

If you’re concerned with fuel economy, then you shouldn’t have a truck as the daily driver. Buy a hybrid or electric vehicle, such as a Camry Hybrid or a Nissan Leaf

That’s interesting not all 5.3 has the active fuel management system…how would I know if a specific 5.3 has the system? The gas mileage isn’t a concern to me either. I just want a nice pickup I can enjoy. After all, life is so short!

I’d go with the V8, no question to me. You’ll be doing things that would benefit from the V8.

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The 4.3L in the 2014+ trucks is new, it’s not the old 4.3L from the 80’s and 90’s. The current 4.3L is all aluminum, has direct injection, active fuel management, and variable valve timing it’s based off the current LT1 V8 found in the Corvette (not to be confused with the 5.7L LT1 from the early-late 90’s)

With that said, I’d get the 5.3L . For what it’s worth I had family member sell a 2013 F-150 ecoboost to his son in law and replace it with a 2016 GMC Sierra with the 5.3L. He says that the 3.5L EB had noticeably more power in typical driving, but the he gets slightly better mileage with the GMC.