Determined to keep pace with GM's new XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy) full-size Silverado pickup models when it comes to bragging rights, Ford announced that its F-150 range due in dealers next month will include new SFE (Superior Fuel Economy) variants that boasts the same 15/21 mpg city/highway EPA ratings. More extensive use of ultra-light high-strength steel has trimmed curb weights on all 2009 F-150s by about 100 pounds and various exterior detailing efforts yielded a six-percent cleaner aero profile from the 2008 truck. Collectively, those changes helped raise the average fuel economy stats by eight percent across the entire 2009 F-150 line. The SFE Package -- which will be available on 4x2 SuperCrew XL and XLT models equipped with the 4.6-liter V8 and 5.5-foot beds, goes one step beyond by adding a new six-speed automatic transmission with a wider ratio spread than the previous four-speed unit, a taller 3.18:1 rear axle ratio and standard 18-inch chrome wheels wrapped in special low-rolling resistance tires. Both SFE-spec F-150s will have a 7,500-lb tow rating.
Matt O'Leary, Ford F-150 chief engineer, calls the new SFE Package a direct response to the current state of the market. "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." A no-cost option on the SuperCrew XLT with a Chrome Package, the SFE enhancements will run $1,095 on a SuperCrew XL with the Decor Package.