08-26-08: Earlier in the summer Ford decided to delay the launch of the all sort of new 2009 F-150 pickup to allow the sell-off of the 2008 inventory. Given high gas prices and slow sales, they did not want to be competing with the old models when the 2009 model arrived.
It turns out that it was good planning as it allowed them to put together the fuel sipping F-150 “SFE” just in time for launch. The “Superior Fuel Economy” edition has a few tweaks that allow for better fuel efficiency, getting up to 21mpg highway. Not bad for a full sized pickup.
On sale in October, the even the rest of the new F-150 line 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.
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.
"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."
Back to the SFE, the 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.
To achieve the extra fuel mileage, the SFE package features 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.
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 a number of significant aerodynamic refinements.
Another interesting tweak to help save fuel is the use of an 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.
Overall while the shape of the new F-150 is evolutionary, there are many refinements under the skin that cannot be seen. The truck will begin hitting the ground at a dealership near you in about a month.