Chevy Silverado Z71 8-speed vs. 10-speed Drag Race & MPG Comparison: Do Two More Gears Win? (Video)

Plus, an MPG fuel efficiency comparison for free!

Two 2020 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 4×4 half-ton pickups. Both with 5.3-liter V8 engines tuned to 355 hp and 383 lb-ft. torque and the same 3.23 rear axle. Both trucks’ curb weights are within 10 pounds of each other. Both were sold for roughly the same sticker price: $52,000 to $55,000. So what are the differences? Let’s spell this short list out:

Silverado Z71 LT Trail Boss – “Big Red”

  1. 10-speed automatic transmission that theoretically should result in better fuel economy and, with a lower first gear optimized for rock crawling, a better launch.
  2. Two-inch factory installed lift.
  3. 18-inch wheels shod in Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac off-road tires
Silverado Z71 Trail Boss
TFLtruck’s Chevy Silverado Z71 Trail Boss (image: TFL)

Silverado Z71 LTZ – “Hi-Ho, Silver!”

  1. 8-speed automatic
  2. No lift and a chin spoiler
  3. 20-inch wheels shod in Goodyear Wrangler TrailRunner AT tires
Chevy Silverado Z71 LTZ
The Silverado LTZ has more luxury touches than the LT Trail Boss—and all the chrome (image: TFL).

Drag race results and MPG bonus

Despite the Trail Boss’s 10-speed, we were shocked to see the 8-speed silver Silverado LTZ pull away. 0-60 mph time for Hi-Ho, Silver came in at 8.66 seconds at our test track at IMI Motorsports located a mile above sea level in Colorado. Meanwhile the Trail Boss clocked a 9.05 second time.

On the 16.4-mile plus drive back to TFLtruck HQ we used each truck’s trip computer to check out fuel economy. Once again, we were surprised to see the 8-speed Silverado come out ahead, averaging 21.8 mpg vs. the Trail Boss’s 21.1 mpg. Does a two-inch lift, lack of a chin spoiler, and slightly more off-road worthy tires completely negate the performance bonus of two additional gears in the Trail Boss? It looks that way.

Check out the video at the bottom of the post to see how the race played out.

Silverado Z71 drag race
The race between two 5.3-liter powered Silverados was this close. (image:TFL)