• Aug 12, 2008
Click above for high-res gallery of the 2009 Chevy Tahoe XFE

Remember earlier in the year when Chevy quietly added the 36-mpg XFE model to its Cobalt lineup? XFE stands for "Xtra Fuel Economy" (should we tell them they spelled "Extra" wrong?) and means these vehicles have been equipped with some easy fuel-saving technologies to eek out as many miles per gallon as possible. GM announced today that the Cobalt XFE will be joined by XFE versions of the Chevy Silverado, GMC Sierra, Chevy Tahoe and GMC Yukon for the 2009 model year.

The General already offers hybrid versions of its full-size SUVs, which are also joined by hybrid versions of its half-ton trucks for 2009, but the XFE models will continue to be powered by a flex-fuel version of the company's 5.3L gasser V8. It produces 320 hp/340lb-ft in the Tahoe and Yukon, and 315 hp/338 lb-ft in the Tahoe and Yukon. All are rear-wheel-drive only and mated to GM's 6L80 six-speed auto with a fuel-saving 3.08 ratio rear axle. In order to maximize fuel economy, all four of these new XFE models get low rolling resistance tires, aluminum wheels, an aluminum spare wheel, aluminum lower control arms and a lowered suspension with revised tuning. In addition, the Silverado and Sierra also get a new front lower air dam and soft tonneau cover that improve their aerodynamics.

What does it all add up to? 1 mpg. All four standard vehicles were rated at 14 mpg city/20 mpg highway, while their XFE counterparts bump those numbers to 15 city/21 highway. The gains are certainly minimal and we're not sure yet what sort of price premium XFE models will demand, but we give GM credit for at least reacting to the current shift in consumer tastes so quickly. We would have preferred, however, that it had just made these fuel-saving changes standard equipment rather than a separate model.


[Source: GM]

PRESS RELEASE

GM Full-Size Pickups And SUVs Deliver Better Fuel Economy And Same Great Capabilities With New 'XFE' Models
  • EPA-rated fuel economy increases to 15 city and 21 highway
  • Silverado and Sierra have the best aerodynamics in the class
  • Towing capacity on Silverado and Sierra increases to 7,000 lbs (3,175 kg)
  • 2009 GMC Sierra Hybrid Delivers 25-Percent Improved Fuel Economy With All Of GMC's Professional Grade Capability
  • 2009 Chevrolet Silverado Hybrid Delivers 25-Percent Improved Fuel Economy And Delivers Chevy's Rugged Capability

DETROIT – General Motors is building on the segment-leading fuel economy of its full-size pickups and SUVs with new XFE models of the 2009 Chevy Silverado, Chevy Tahoe, GMC Sierra and GMC Yukon. The vehicles use a combination of mechanical, aerodynamic and mass-reducing enhancements to deliver a 5-percent increase in EPA-estimated highway fuel economy and more than 7-percent improved mileage in city driving.

The aero enhancements make Silverado XFE and Sierra XFE models the most aerodynamic full-size pickups in the industry, with a "Best in Class" 0.412 coefficient of drag (cd). The pickups join the Tahoe Hybrid and Yukon Hybrid as the most aerodynamic full-size SUVs at 0.349 (cd).

The new XFE – Xtra Fuel Economy – models reflect GM's quick adaptation to an evolving market that remains a very important segment. They are available on 2WD vehicles equipped with the 5.3L V-8 and six-speed transmission. They achieve 15 city and 21 highway mileage ratings versus comparable non-XFE models' 14/20 ratings. Most importantly, the increased efficiency does not come at the expense of capability. Towing ratings for the Tahoe and Yukon are unchanged, while the Silverado and Sierra increase from 6,600 pounds (2,994 kg) to 7,000 pounds (3,175 kg) due to the new, six-speed transmission and high-capacity cooling package.

"We are pulling out all the stops to deliver a more efficient package for customers who need the capability of full-size pickups and SUVs and want the very best fuel economy," said Gary White, GM North America vice president and vehicle line executive for full-size trucks. "Our pickups and SUVs are already the fuel economy leaders of their respective segments, but our engineers knew greater efficiency was achievable. We fast-tracked the XFE models to get them into dealer showrooms as quickly as possible."

All models carry the XFE name badge and are offered in the LT trim for Silverado and LS and LT trims for Tahoe. Sierra XFE comes with SLE trim and Yukon XFE is offered with SLE and SLT trim. Most regular-production options for all models are available. Silverado XFE and Sierra XFE are offered in 2wd crew cab body styles only. Production begins this fall.

"In addition to the XFE models, GM already offers hybrid versions of the Tahoe and Yukon that achieve up to a 50-percent improvement in city fuel economy and coming in the first half of 2009 are the Silverado and Sierra Hybrids," said White. "These hybrid pickups offer up to 25 percent overall increased fuel economy and greater than 40-percent improved mileage in city driving."

XFE efficiencies

GM's more efficient full-size pickups and SUVs are powered by a 5.3L FlexFuel V-8 (LC9) engine that's built with a mass-reducing aluminum cylinder block and heads. It is rated at 320 horsepower (238 kW)* and 340 lb.-ft. of torque (461 Nm)* in Tahoe and Yukon and 315 hp/235 kW and 338 lb-ft/458 Nm in Silverado and Sierra. The engine is backed by a Hydra-Matic 6L80 six-speed automatic transmission (with high-capacity cooling on Silverado and Sierra).

A rear axle equipped with a fuel-saving 3.08 ratio is also standard on all XFE models. Lightweight aluminum wheels and low rolling resistance tires (with higher tire pressure) also are included on all models.

Other unique content and features for Silverado XFE and Sierra XFE include:

Soft tonneau cover (improves aerodynamics)
Extended front lower air dam (improves aerodynamics)
Lowered suspension and revised chassis tuning (improve aerodynamics)
Aluminum lower control arms (reduce mass)
Aluminum spare wheel (reduces mass)
Seventeen-inch aluminum wheels (reduce mass)
Automatic locking rear differential
Trailering package
Low rolling resistance tires
Other unique content and features for Tahoe XFE and Yukon XFE include:

Lowered suspension and revised chassis tuning (improve aerodynamics)
Aluminum lower control arms (reduce mass)
Aluminum spare wheel (reduces mass)
Eighteen-inch aluminum wheels (reduce mass)
Automatic locking rear differential
Trailering package
Low rolling resistance tires
The new XFE models reinforce GM's commitment to full-size truck leadership, which continue to the industry's best and deliver the fuel economy, capability, quality and choice that are important to customers.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 72 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think it's important to compare these fuel economy numbers to the competition. Toyota Sequioa: 13 city/18 highway. That's pretty bad, but no one is ripping toyoyta. Why not?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Because Toyota isn't going out of their way to convince us these types of vehicles are still worth buying given today's fuel prices. And I seriously doubt you'll see Toyota build an "economy" version of the Sequoia. Instead, they'll continue investing in small cars and hybrids.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Oh no, any impovment GM makes deserves its own story. GM may not know how to make money, but they sure know how to spin.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "We would have preferred, however, that it had just made these fuel-saving changes standard equipment rather than a separate model."

      Here's the problem- they do that, then people bitch about the price increase.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Where is the source for this price increase talk?

        Who's to say this isn't going to be a cookie cutter package where the only option is color?
      • 6 Years Ago
      "It produces 320 hp/340lb-ft in the Tahoe and Yukon, and 315 hp/338 lb-ft in the Tahoe and Yukon."

      Typo?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yea, I read that three times and it still doesn't make sense, lol.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Yeah. One or the other should be Sierra/Silverado.
      • 6 Years Ago
      "We would have preferred, however, that it had just made these fuel-saving changes standard equipment rather than a separate model."

      What exactly would be the difference?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree, why would someone want less options? What if I don't want low resistance tires, I'd love the option to get normal tires. I know most people like getting the same silver car as everyone else, but I certainly like to customizing what kind of car I drive.
      • 6 Years Ago
      1mpg is hardly worth the trouble. Crappier acceleration (due to engine remap), crappier handling (lower rolling resistance tires) just for an extra 1mpg. You'll be paying more for it too. If you're buying one of these guzzlers, might as well just buy the regular model and be done with it.
        • 6 Years Ago
        If you're buying an SUV for acceleration and handling.

        If Nissan or Honda were to do this they would be made like God and the moves would be called "revolutionary".

        If GM does it... they get the haters saying... "oh.. well they should have done this from day one".... Ok well since we can't go back in the past.. throw that idea out of the window.

        Remember that these figures are EPA estimates..
        I have a 2007 Deanli XL and with 7 people and the AC blasting I got 19.3 Miles to the gallon.. and I have the 6.2L Vortech V8.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Which is the better Tahoe... SS or XFE?
      • 6 Years Ago
      The concern about the 'GM hate' is a waste of a discussion. GM has exhausted all their goodwill and they ARE dealing with the hate. It's just going to take a LOT more than boosting SUVs and trucks mileage by 1 MPG, and I'm sure they know that.

      This an incremental step, but its still a step. It shows they are aware of the poor image their SUVs and trucks have. So any PR that helps put them in a positive light is good. I just hope they make more advancements with the XFE setup for a better mileage.
      • 6 Years Ago
      when the class leader in economy takes steps to get a bigger lead I would say that is a positive step. Not sure why others disagree.
      • 6 Years Ago
      http://www.autoblog.com/2008/06/21/maybe-you-should-think-in-gallons-per-mile-instead-of-mpg

      A 7% increase in city mileage is almost as much as the 10% the Malibu gained this year by having a 4-banger with a 6-speed. So it's not bad.

      Why isn't the new Malibu model considered an XFE?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Well the Malibu already has a hybrid that good enough. When's the last time you saw a 3500 pound sedan get 34 MPG?
        ---------------------------------------
        For the Tahoe/Sierra/Yukon/Silverado XFE's why get a hybrid, then? I bet it costs less, too.
        _____________________________________
        • 6 Years Ago
        I own a Cobalt XFE as my daily driver, and for a couple days I was given a standard Cobalt (stupid wheel cover was rattling, should have went with the alloys...) and the difference was not noticeable, to me at least. I'm not a performance guy...or a tuner guy...I'm just Joe-driver.

        Now...I had gone from a 94 Escort with 88HP and a 5 speed, to the 148HP 5 Speed Cobalt...which is a decent jump in performance, but in my driving...there was no difference in the feel of a Non-XFE Cobalt...to the XFE.
        HotRodzNKustoms
        • 6 Years Ago
        XFE is what happens when GM sacrifices some driving dynamics in he name of fuel economy with a remapped ECU which sacrifices overall power and throttle response, low rolling resistance tires which sacrifices grip, and in this case lowered ride height sacrificing epic SUV hoonage.
        • 6 Years Ago
        HotRodzNKustoms, I don't see how adding lots of aluminum and reworking the ECU to be more frugal can ruin the driving dynamics. In many automotive circles "adding lightness" is a key for all around performance.
        • 6 Years Ago
        "I don't see how adding lots of aluminum and reworking the ECU to be more frugal can ruin the driving dynamics. In many automotive circles "adding lightness" is a key for all around performance. "

        Low rolling resistance tires generally lead to longer stopping distance and weaker lateral grip.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Would be interesting to see what a Malibu XFE would bring to the table. As it stands now, the 4cyl/6spd combo nets 22/33 which is a 3mpg gain over the 4spd version(city mileage stays the same). The Malibu hybrid is not far ahead at 26/34 with most of the increase(expectedly) coming from the city figures.

        As a comparison, the Cobalt XFE achieves 25/37, not terribly higher than the Malibu Hybrid. If the Malibu 4cyl/6spd were to take on some of the XFE modifications, I'd expect mileage that possibly eclipses the hybrid(and gets dangerously close to the Cobalt). Add those same changes to the Hybrid and it could possibly close in on 40mpg hwy(especially if the hybrid can get a 6spd in place of its current 4spd).

        I expect the XFE terminology and mods to make their way through virtually every GM model and that's good.

        But, I'd still prefer to stick with stickier(safer) tires and a more responsive powertrain at the expense of a few MPGs. But, it's nice to see the options out there for consumers.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It took them long enough to put the 6 speed tranny in. The Silverado and Tahoe should have had this from day one.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It was a matter of production capability. Facilities needed to be modified with new equipment (I know some people involved, there were snags) so it just took time.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Use of lighter materials, low-resistance tires, and higher rear diffs should be engineered into the standard product, as others have mentioned. Performance is measured in many ways, and for those that do so by looking at 0-60 times will be willing to pay extra for it. It shouldn't be the other way around.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's an SUV, are you really looking at tenths on the 0-60?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I'm not looking at 0-60 period. What I'm saying is that efficiency should be standard, and performance should be optional.
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