• Jul 31, 2009
A couple of years ago, pickup truck comparisons were all about power and towing capacity. Today, fuel efficiency is the new battleground. For the 2009 model year, the GMC Sierra and Chevrolet Silverado XFE took their fuel economy figures up a notch by hitting 21 mpg on the highway and 15 in the city. Then Ford unveiled the F-150 SFE that matched those numbers, though without requiring the use of a tonneau cover. The Blue Oval dropped the SFE badge for 2010, but kept the improved fuel economy.

General Motors, however, is not content with a tie, and is upping the EPA numbers for its 2010 XFE Silverado and Sierra to 22 mpg on the highway, which just so happens to match the highway figure for the Sierra Hybrid. The combined fuel economy of both GMT900 trucks has also increased from 17 to 18 mpg.

Chevrolet spokesperson Brian Goebel told Pickuptrucks.com that the increased fuel economy is due to several engineering improvements. The XFE model's 5.3-liter V8 now has variable valve timing, optimized shift pattens in its six-speed transmission, and new tweaks for its Active Fuel Management system that enables the truck to run on four cylinders at cruising speeds for longer.

[Source: Pickuptrucks.com]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 39 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Don't let truck makers fool you, these are not yet efficient trucks.
      Look at the XFE....or better:

      1)Look under it, it's 100% anti-aerodynamic.
      2)Look at the front fascia, does that look aerodynamic with all the recesses?
      3)Look at the exposed windshield wipers
      4)Look at all the side-mirrors, those cause huge drag at freeway speed.
      5)Look at the trim on the side of the windshield, there's 1/4" gaps to the A-Pillar is a high pressure zone.
      6) Look at the exhaust system, it's probably got 20LBS of useless metal on it.


      25mpg fwy IS possible, they just need to work a bit harder.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just a couple thoughts:

        1) filling in those gaps underneath (mostly by fitting floor plates) will add weight, killing the payload and city MPG numbers.
        2) for those that tow (you know, actual TRUCK usage), the front fascial inlets do allow for more cooling when needed.
        3) didn't think it was an issue
        4) ever look around a trailer with a small mirror?
        5) "gaps to the A-pillar"? Not sure what you mean, but sometimes channels are there to direct air away from the sides. Maybe an open-window issue, who knows.
        6) when metal = $, I'm not sure what would be useless on any vehicle.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Agreed. The buyers who want to appear to be environmentally friendly aren't going to be looking at trucks anyway. Just let the numbers do the talking, not some dumb acronym. (that statement doesn't apply to SS, SRT, SVT, etc, since there are many, many more numbers associated with those acronyms!)
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem, in all honesty, is that XFE and SFE don't sell. That is why Ford dropped SFE, but kept the numbers. They aren't really all that cool. Who cares if you are driving with Superior Fuel Economy *in a cheesy announcer's voice*? All of them around where I'm at, in central Indiana (a hub of new car sales), sit on the lots while all the other editions/models sell like hotcakes. There is a lesson to be learned for both sides: Chevy, drop XFE but keep numbers and Ford, see what you can do to challenge Chevy and yourself even further.
      • 5 Years Ago
      so why couldn't they just put a beefy V6 in there?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Matt, I guess you haven't heard of the Eco-Boost V6 from Ford.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM's beefy V6 costs more to make than this engine does, plus its torque curve is a little less truck-friendly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Atlas I6 they put in the Trailblazer is pretty beefy. But still not as strong as the 5.3 V8, and the V8 actually beat the I6 on the window sticker.


        • 5 Years Ago
        GM's 4.3 is ancient, but what of the non-DI 3.6?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because a V6 is a cop-out to get good fuel economy (unless you are Ford who can't make an efficient V6).

        There is nothing wrong with the V8. GM (and Hyundai) proved that you can have a *real* V8 that gets V6 fuel economy.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Quite a nice figure for a full size truck.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh yeah well I knew a guy who had a silvarado that got....

      Dude who cares. Both numbers are impressive; Ford'a and Chevy's.
      • 5 Years Ago
      1)Look under it, it's 100% anti-aerodynamic.
      2)Look at the front fascia, does that look aerodynamic with all the recesses?
      3)Look at the exposed windshield wipers
      4)Look at all the side-mirrors, those cause huge drag at freeway speed.
      5)Look at the trim on the side of the windshield, there's 1/4" gaps to the A-Pillar is a high pressure zone.
      6) Look at the exhaust system, it's probably got 20LBS of useless metal on it.


      Julius36
      Julius 9:47PM (7/31/2009)

      Just a couple thoughts:

      "1) filling in those gaps underneath (mostly by fitting floor plates) will add weight, killing the payload and city MPG numbers."

      -> Yeah, thin plastic floor plates a few lbs total would kill mpg...wow...next.

      2) for those that tow (you know, actual TRUCK usage), the front fascial inlets do allow for more cooling when needed.

      -> Yeah and what do the recessed fog lights have to do with cooling? I have a full size truck myself, there's a deep recess (no air vent) just for decorative purposes.

      3) didn't think it was an issue

      -> Believe it or not, windshield wipers are a huge issue, that's why some car makers hide them under the hood

      4) ever look around a trailer with a small mirror?

      -> Good point, however side-view mirrors can drop your mpg by as much as 1mpg at freeway speeds. making them as aerodynamic as possible would help (vs.as beefy as possible)

      5) "gaps to the A-pillar"? Not sure what you mean, but sometimes channels are there to direct air away from the sides. Maybe an open-window issue, who knows.

      -> I wasn't clear, I meant that the windshield i slightly recessed, look how your windshield merges with the A-pillars, there's at least a 1/4" step....that's why modern high mpg cars have it flush.

      6) when metal = $, I'm not sure what would be useless on any vehicle.
      -> I removed an enormous, 20lbs steel muffler and silencer from the exhaust line, then put a new lightweight, compact one in there.

      Don't let them fool you, they're still after cost savings a lot more than fuel efficiency.
      A number of full size trucks have fans driven by belts; AC belt driven as well, and he list goes on. There's LOTS to be improved.
      • 5 Years Ago
      One MPG is pretty good for a full-sized truck but meh...I get better with my F350 with the PowerStroke. I average out about 26MPG. Still, nice numbers, but all the crap on that truck needed for that MPG is pathetic, special chin spoiler that has to be removed for off-road driving (yes I know a lot of people don't but still), and a tonneau. The Ford doesn't need that.

      However, I am happy that the tie was broken, and now we have some truck MPG wars breaking out even better. While that is going on, let's see the Tundra and Ram battle out for worst light-duty MPG. I kid, still, their numbers aren't as impressive.
      • 5 Years Ago
      What's the point of the less capable hybrid model then? And why don't all of the 5.3 models have those tweaks? I never realized that the xfe had the 5.3. I always thought it was v6 powered. Now if gm would make this standard on the suburban and all other gmt900s they would be in much better shape for the ridiculous CAFE standards.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The city includes anywhere where you have to stop at lights and stop signs. So yeah, you've seen trucks in city driving conditions.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If that was true, that the ONLY benefit to hybrid was city type driving conditions, why make a full size truck into a hybrid? I don't remember the last time I saw a full size truck in the city. Now, another reason could be from the instantaneous torque that a hybrid puts out, but like all things in life, the real reason is probably a collection of reasons.
        • 5 Years Ago
        hybrid is avaliable in 4 wheel drive models. I'm not sure you can get XFE tuning in a 4x4 truck. if this is the case, then the hybrid would be the efficiency choice in the snow belt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        A hybrid's benefit lies in city driving where regenitive braking can be used to recharge batteries which power the electric motor to assist the vehicle in acceleration. Long highway stints, where there is no energy to be gained from regenitive braking, deplete the batteries and just turn them into extra weight the vechile has to lug around.

        Summary: hybrids are for cities.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't understand why this isn't done in the first place.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Because achieving this requires a low clearance chin spoiler, tonneau cover, low traction tires, a lowered suspension, and a transmission that won't downshift until you floor it.

        From a useable truck standpoint these are pretty dumb compromises.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Touché.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So basically the Hybrid versions are useless anyway. I figured as much before.
      Congrats GM for using innovations in internal combustion and aerodynamics technologies without adding unnecessary complexity to lessen dependence upon hydrocarbon fuels without compromising the nature of the vehicle itself!
        • 5 Years Ago
        VCT not VVT. Yes it has been around for about twenty years.
        So GM added an ECO button for the Equinox, consider this one to default to 'eco' unless you hit the tow/haul.
        The 6L80 is plenty beefy. GM could have used the 6L50, to get better mileage, though it might have compromised durability if paired with the 5.3 instead of the 4.8 V8.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Honestly, the EPA numbers war means little to me, and I'm guessing little to real truck buyers. Anyone buying a truck probably ranks fuel efficiency in the lower half of their wish list, but even if it is a priority, the EPA numbers aren't necessarily indicative of real-world results. True they are more realistic since the new testing procedures were adopted, but 1 or 2 mpg difference is probably moot on the window sticker.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It may not mean much to potential buyers, but it probably means alot to GM re: CAFE fines.
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