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.

Related Gallery2009 Chevy Tahoe XFE

[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.