With Ford about to move forward with the delayed launch of its redesigned F1-50 full-sized pickups, the company has decided to emphasize the fuel economy improvements they've achieved. While the Dearborn brand is claiming an average improvement of eight percent across the entire F-150 lineup from 2008 to 2009, that wasn't enough. With last month's announcement from GM that it would add XFE models to its full-size pickups and SUVs, Ford decided to match its rival. Buyers will be able to opt for the "Super Fuel Economy" (SFE) model on certain 2WD F-150s that match the 15 mpg city and 21 mpg highway ratings of the GM XFE trucks. Like the XFEs, that's a 1-mpg bump to both ratings achieved by a taller axle ratio and low-rolling resistance tires. In addition, Ford is claiming a 500 lb higher tow rating at 7,500 lbs and a new "best in class" aerodynamic drag number of 0.403, beating the GM trucks' 0.412.
It's an improvement but these things still use a lot of fuel. For commercial users that actually need the capability of these trucks, its a step in the right direction. The upcoming introductions of a new 4.4L diesel V8 and a 3.5L EcoBoost V6 should help even more.
2009 Ford f-150 UNSURPASSED IN fuel economy, CAPABILITY
DEARBORN, Mich., Sept. 18, 2008 – America's best-selling pickup, the Ford F-Series, is raising the bar once again – this time with unsurpassed fuel efficiency on the new 2009 F-150, thanks to significant miles per gallon improvement across the entire F-150 lineup.
On sale in October, the new F-150 offers fuel economy that has improved an average of 8 percent across the entire lineup as a result of a wide-range of engineering enhancements. The fuel economy gains reach as high as 12 percent versus the prior model year on F-150 models equipped with the high-volume 3-valve, 5.4-liter V-8 engine. At the same time, the new F-150 delivers class-leading towing capability of 11,300 pounds and hauling capacity of 3,030 pounds – a combination no other competitor can match.
In addition, Ford is announcing the introduction of the new F-150 SFE "superior fuel economy" edition delivering up to 21 miles per gallon on the highway while still providing 7,500 pounds of towing capability – fuel economy that is unsurpassed in the full-size pickup segment.
"Ford has committed to have the best or equal to the best fuel economy with every new product we introduce, and we are delivering with the new F-150," said Matt O'Leary, Ford F-150 chief engineer. "Fuel economy has moved from 10th to third place among pickup buyers' top purchase considerations – right behind durability and value. The new F-150 delivers on all three as the industry leader."
The new SFE package will be available on F-150 SuperCrew XL and XLT 4X2 vehicles with 4.6-liter, 3-valve V-8 engines and 5.5-foot beds. The SFE pickup will achieve 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.
The SFE package trucks also feature a new fuel-efficient six-speed automatic transmission, a 3.15:1 rear axle and 18-inch chrome clad aluminum wheels with low rolling resistance P265/60R18 all-season tires.
"Earning the trust of so many truck customers during the past 31 years has taught us a lot about what they want and value from their F-150," O'Leary said. "In the past, there was a tradeoff – more fuel economy meant less capability and vice versa. With the new F-150, we didn't accept tradeoffs. We delivered capability and fuel economy."
The SFE package will be a no-cost option on XLT SuperCrew pickups with the chrome package and will cost $1,095 when ordered on XL SuperCrew pickups with the decor package.
Fuel Economy throughout the Lineup
The 8 percent improvement in fuel economy across the entire lineup of V-8 F-150s is the result of using lightweight ultra-high-strength steel to lighten the truck up to 100 pounds versus the current model and aerodynamic refinements – along with more standard safety technology and class-leading capability.
The new F-150 is now best-in-class for aerodynamics. The new F-150 SuperCrew 4X2 with a 5.5-foot box has the lowest coefficient of drag – 0.403 – in the segment. That's 6 percent lower than a comparable 2008 F-150.
Key aero improvements for the new F-150 include:
* A new chamfered shape to the rear of the cab, which incorporated the center-high-mount stop lamp. This shape helps direct aerodynamic wake over the pickup box efficiently.
* The top of the tailgate, which angles outward to create a bold lip. This wider surface at the top of the tailgate works with the cab chamfering to direct airflow over the box efficiently.
* The front bumper valence and spoiler design, which has been improved to better manage airflow underneath the truck without compromising off-roading.
In addition, as part of the fuel economy improvements, Ford's powertrain team delivered technology upgrades to make the F-150 powertrains more efficient.
The new six-speed automatic transmission offers a wider gear ratio span than four-speed transmissions, allowing engineers the flexibility to have responsiveness in low gears and better fuel economy in the taller gears. The new double-overdrive gearbox is designed to contribute a 4 to 6 percent fuel economy improvement.
Both the 5.4-liter and 4.6-liter 3-valve V-8 engines utilize open valve injection. This unique feature improves the air/fuel charge conditions in the combustion chamber, allowing greater spark advance at higher loads and engine speeds. This delivers increased horsepower during towing and higher rpm operations, lower emissions and more efficient use of fuel.
The F-150 also regulates gas consumption by using aggressive deceleration fuel shut-off. The fuel shut-off is automatic and requires no unusual actions from the driver. When the driver releases the accelerator pedal, the system temporarily turns off the fuel. The flow of fuel seamlessly resumes when the truck reaches a low speed or the driver accelerates again.
To prevent engine hesitation normally associated with fuel interruption, Ford's powertrain team developed proprietary software to integrate the technology with the F-150's powertrains.