2009 Chevrolet Silverado XFE Auto Review

21 Dec 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on 2009 Chevrolet Silverado XFE Auto Review
Chevrolet Silverado

2009 Chevrolet Silverado XFE

Take the high road on fewer fill-ups

James M. Flammang on 10.22.2008

Fuel economy and big pickup trucks don’t mix, especially with a powerful V-8 engine under that expansive hood. Or do they? Responding to concerns about gas mileage in its existing vehicles, General Motors is launching a series of XFE variants of several current cars and trucks. XFE stands for Xtra Fuel Economy.

One of those improved-economy models is the full-size Chevrolet Silverado XFE pickup. Silverado’s corporate cousin, the GMC Sierra, also gets an XFE offshoot. So do the full-size Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon sport-utility vehicles.

Models, Mileage, Motor

GM also claims that the Silverado and Sierra XFE have the best aerodynamic traits in their class, with a drag coefficient of 0.412. That’s a long way from the figures achieved by some passenger cars and sporty vehicles, but impressive for a big truck. A standard, soft tonneau cover promises improved aerodynamics.

So do the extended front lower air dam, slightly lowered suspension, and revised chassis tuning.

In additional to better aerodynamics, Chevrolet credits reduction in mass for the fuel-economy boost, starting with the engine-a weight-conscious version of GM’s 5.3-liter V-8 with an aluminum cylinder block and heads. Lightweight aluminum wheels hold tires with low rolling resistance and higher-than-usual air pressure. Aluminum lower control arms and aluminum 17-inch wheels also help reduce weight.

Built in Canada along with regular Silverados, the XFE was a relatively hasty development. We achieved these improvements by kind of going into our parts bin, said Gary A. White, GM North America vice-president and vehicle line executive for full-size trucks. White claims the Silverado/Sierra XFE’s 15/21-mpg EPA rating is the best in the industry.

For pickup trucks, White noted, fuel economy is now the Number Three purchase reason.

Power, Performance, Properties

Chevrolet Silverado

Don’t expect any shortage of power along with the gas-mileage increase. The XFE’s reduced-mass V-8 delivers 315 horsepower at 5200 rpm, and 338 pound-feet of torque at 4400 rpm, running on regular-grade gasoline. Active Fuel Management can automatically deactivate certain engine cylinders under light-load conditions, as a fuel-saving measure.

The XFE pickup’s rear axle has a fuel-efficient 3.08:1 ratio.

Driving and handling qualities differ little from a standard Silverado with a comparable engine. Powertrain response is satisfactory and familiar for a pickup, if nothing to exclaim about. Though the six-speed automatic transmission helps deliver the fuel-economy improvement, it doesn’t always behave properly.

Downshifts can be jerky at times, and tepid response occurs some of the time.

Ride comfort hardly ranks as gentle, but the Silverado XFE is well-snubbed, without suffering overreactions from its suspension. Inside, the chrome-surrounded, deep-set gauges seem somewhat old-fashioned.

Like other Silverado pickups, the XFE edition competes against the Ford F-150, Dodge Ram, and Toyota Tundra. Measuring 230 inches long overall, the Silverado XFE is built on a 143.5-inch wheelbase and has a curb weight of 5,156 pounds. Standard equipment includes air conditioning, an AM/FM radio with MP3-compatible CD player and XM Satellite Radio, GM’s OnStar communications system, two auxiliary power outlets, and a tire-pressure monitor.

Four-wheel antilock braking and a heavy-duty cooling package also are standard. Silverado/Sierra XFE towing capacity has increased from 6,800 to 7,000 pounds, due to the new six-speed transmission and a high-capacity cooling system. A trailering package is standard.

Production of the Silverado XFE began in October, and these mileage-conscious trucks should arrive in Chevrolet dealerships during November. Pricing has not yet been established.

Thrift-minded big-pickup fans who still aren’t satisfied with XFE figures might prefer to wait a little longer for GM to launch its two-mode hybrid trucks. Silverado and Sierra Hybrid pickups go on sale early in 2009, with a 332-hp, 6.0-liter V-8 that promises up to 40-percent more fuel mileage in urban conditions, and 25 percent overall. Estimated fuel economy for the Hybrid is considerably higher in city driving (21 mpg with 2WD), but only slightly better than the XFE on the highway (22 mpg). GM’s two-mode hybrid system can run on either battery or gasoline power. (www.chevrolet.com)

Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado
Chevrolet Silverado

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