F-150 Air CurtainsEnlarge Photo
Ford has pulled out all the stops to make its latest F-150 pickup truck more fuel efficient than ever before.
And while its lightweight aluminum construction and available 2.7-liter EcoBoost V-6 are huge factors in the quest for better MPGs, there are loads of other details which contribute to make the pickup less thirsty.
Small improvements like a flush-mounted windshield, a slightly narrower bed—to help maximize airflow over the cargo area—and gap-bridging trim pieces all contribute to minimized drag, but to make the truck even slipperier, Ford Motor Company [NYSE:F] engineers borrowed a trick from its sportier sibling.
As it does on the Mustang, the air curtain system funnels airflow through a channel under the headlights and over the wheels, essentially giving it a shortcut through the truck, and preventing it from getting caught in the wheel wells. It's the kind of little detail which might escape a casual inspection, but allows the F-150 to achieve best-in-class EPA ratings of 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.
Hardly the kind of innovation which makes the hairs on the back of an enthusiast's neck stand up, but important nevertheless. That said, we can't help but hope that the technology sharing between the models is a two-way street. After all, how cool would it be if Ford took some of its new aluminum knowledge and applied it to the Mustang?
Because while the current generation Mustang is sure to be the most capable ever, using aluminum to shave off a few hundred pounds certainly couldn't hurt.