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Frugal F-150s from Ford?

2008-09-19 10:30
This is Ford’s answer to current record fuel price

This is Ford’s answer to current record fuel prices. It’s called the superior fuel economy F-150 and with a 4.6-litre V8 it averages 13l/100km. Just call it Captain Planet…Or Captain America.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Ford
Model F-150 SFE
Engine 4.6-litre V8
Transmission Six-speed auto
Ford are to release a new range of ‘superior fuel economy’ F-150 bakkies – no, really.

It might seem like the something from a George Orwell novel, but Ford’s F-150 line of bakkies – the vehicle which powers America – will add superior fuel economy (SFE) models to the range soon.

Economies of scale

Though Ford claims the three-valve per cylinder V8 has been optimised by open-valve fuel-injection, the bodywork lightened by 45kg and a new rear differential ratio installed the savings might be impressive in percentage points – but these bakkies are still anything but frugal in absolute terms.

American buyers might be late converts to the economy drive, but they still expect their bakkies to work particularly hard and tow anything – right up to 3400kg.

So, despite the efficiency saving of eight percent, even the SFE F-150 models average 13l/100km.

The SFE drivetrain package is augmented by aerodynamic refinements too; attempting to reduce the brick-like drag coefficient of the F-150 by means of a slightly curved tailgate lip and front bumper spoiler to streamline airflow.

Mechanically the 4.6-litre V8 features deceleration fuel shut-off which actuates when the driver releases the accelerator pedal and the system temporarily turns off the fuel. The flow of fuel seamlessly resumes when the truck reaches a low speed or the driver accelerates again.

Low resistance tyres do their bit efficiency too, but they are mounted on chrome, 18-inch mags, which is indicative of what the F-150 is really about – big bakkie brashness, SFE package notwithstanding.

No downsizing…yet

The idea is noble enough, but when you want to power something the wrong side of five and a half metres with V8 petrol engines you’re never going to touch 10l/100km average consumption.

With a customer base 9 million strong in the US alone, Ford knows the F-150 should be a success all the same; with the SFE package merely marketing spin to placate environmental and fuel economy lobbyists.

SFE is standard on all new F-150 XLT SuperCrew models and a touch over $1 000 on XL SuperCrews. It will be available from October in the North American market.

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