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Ford’s aluminum-bodied F150 takes fuel economy crown from Ram

A key data point for the pickup, arriving at Ford dealerships this month.


A military-grade aluminum alloy body cuts 700 pounds from the  new F-150. PHOTO: Ford Motor Co.

A military-grade aluminum alloy body cuts 700 pounds from the new F-150. PHOTO: Ford Motor Co.

DEARBORN, Mich. — Ford said its new aluminum-bodied F-150 pickup will get up to 26 mpg on the highway, making it the most fuel efficient gas-powered full-size pickup.

The Ram truck is the current leader among pickups, getting up to 25 mpg on the highway with a gas engine.

Fuel economy is a key data point for the new F-150, which is arriving at dealerships this month. Ford shaved 700 pounds off the weight of the truck by switching the body from steel to lightweight aluminum, a dramatic change for the bestselling vehicle in the US.

The F-150 will get 26 mpg on the highway with a 2.7-litre EcoBoost engine, which Ford believes will account for 28% of sales of the new truck. The fuel economy is 13% better than the outgoing truck’s 23 mpg. Ford had predicted an improvement of 5% to 20%.

The new truck is Ford’s response to customers’ requests for a more fuel-efficient and nimbler pickup. The company hopes the advantages outweigh customer doubts about the durability of aluminum or potential repair costs for the pricier metal.

It’s a big risk. So far this year, one out of every three vehicles Ford sold in the US was an F-Series pickup.

The new F-150 will be going on sale as gasoline sells for an average of $2.84 a gallon in the US, the lowest price in four years. Ford has said that pickup owners, many who use the truck to run a business, welcome improved fuel economy no matter the price of gasoline.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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