A couple years ago, the battle of the pickup trucks was all about power and towing capabilities. Now, with volatile fuel prices and an increased focus on the environment, fuel efficiency is the new battleground. For the 2009 model year, the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado XFE took fuel economy up a notch by hitting 21 mpg in highway driving. Ford's new SFE F-150 matched the Silverado's 15/21 numbers. The Blue Oval dropped the SFE for 2010, but kept the improved fuel economy.
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.
Chevrolet apparently has a hit on its hands in the form of the new XFE model of its Cobalt compact car. Relatively easy tricks such as revised gearing, low rolling-resistance tires and some computer reprogramming was enough to boost the XFE to 36 miles per gallon on the highway, up from the standard model's 33 mpg. GM says it took just eighteen months to make this new version a reality, and rumors indicate there could be more XFEs on the way.
Faced with increasing CAFE standards in the coming years, Chevy has tweaked the mildly interesting Cobalt models (coupe and sedan) to get better fuel economy. The XFE versions - that stands for extra fuel economy - get an EPA estimated 36 mpg which is between three and five miles per gallon better than the non-XFE versions, according to Chevy (I assume 36 mpg is for highway driving). The official EPA numbers for next best Cobalt - the 4 cylinder, 2.2 L, manual 5-speed - are 33 mpg on the highway
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