- Active grille shutters are popping up on a number of new models, including the 2015 Ford Mustang.
- The shutters open and close automatically to control airflow, reducing aerodynamic drag and improving fuel efficiency.
- Other manufacturers using active grille shutters include General Motors, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Lincoln, Mazda, Mercedes and Rolls-Royce.
DEARBORN, Michigan — Active grille shutters, which improve efficiency by opening and closing automatically to control airflow, are popping up on a number of new models, including the 2015 Ford Mustang.
When they're open, the shutters allow air to flow through the radiator and into the engine compartment, as usual, to promote cooling. But when that cooling air is not needed, the shutters close, rerouting air around the vehicle to lessen aerodynamic drag and reduce fuel consumption. As an added bonus, closed shutters also reduce warm-up time in cold weather.
Ford says the 2015 Ford Mustang with 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder engine will be equipped with active grille shutters because hard-working turbos "need a lot of cooling air fed through the grille." But non-turbo models benefit, as well.
Ford has been using active grille shutters on a number of vehicles, including some Focus models and will be using them even more in the future. The all-new 2015 F-150 pickups with EcoBoost engines, for example, will take advantage of this fuel-saving technology.
Other manufacturers that have utilized active grille shutters include Chevrolet, which built them into its Cruze Eco and Malibu Eco models, among others, and Cadillac, which has used them on the ATS and CTS. Chrysler's Dodge Dart and Ram 1500 pickup feature active grille shutters, as do a number of models from Honda, Mazda and Toyota.
And they're not just showing up on economy cars. Luxury models from BMW, Lincoln, Mercedes and even Rolls-Royce are making use of the aerodynamic advantages of active grille shutters.
In fact, there may be even more good reasons to use them on larger vehicles, according to Magna International, which supplies grille shutters to a number of manufacturers.
Said Bob Brownlee, president of Magna Exteriors and Interiors, in a statement: "Nearly every passenger vehicle introduced in upcoming years will have some kind of active shutter system. With the development of our Active Grille Shutter, we have been able to quickly meet automakers' rising demand for a well-engineered, high-quality system that helps address rising fuel-economy standards and the need to reduce vehicle emissions."
Edmunds says: Aerodynamics plays a huge role in vehicle efficiency and active grille shutters offer a useful means of reducing drag. It's a new term that car shoppers should become familiar with.