Event: EcoBoost Challenge Orlando

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Challenge Accepted

The EcoBoost Challenge lets you have fun in turbo Fords

By Steve Turner

As we told you back in March, Ford is bringing a full complement of its EcoBoost-powered vehicles around the country so that you—the consumer—can get behind the wheel of these turbocharged rides. This multi-city tour is winding down, so we hope you took advantage of it when it stopped in your area, because it was really a lot of fun when we participated in the Orlando, Florida, event.

It wasn’t quite that cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway that I’m still working on, but the EcoBoost Challenge did offer my first opportunity to get behind the wheel of an S550 convertible. It was fun, but the extra weight did bog down the 2.3-liter engine a bit.
It wasn’t quite that cruise down the Pacific Coast Highway that I’m still working on, but the EcoBoost Challenge did offer my first opportunity to get behind the wheel of an S550 convertible. It was fun, but the extra weight did bog down the 2.3-liter engine a bit.

“With EcoBoost engines now available across 100 percent of our U.S. light-duty lineup, the EcoBoost Challenge lets consumers experience this innovative technology that helps Ford deliver better fuel economy with a more engaging driving experience than the competition,” Michele Bartlett, Ford group marketing manager for large cars and SUVs, said. “Not only is the EcoBoost Challenge a lot of fun, but getting people in the driver’s seat is the best way for them to experience the craftsmanship, innovation and performance of the Ford lineup.”

If you need a refresher on these events, you can check out this promo video…

We were fortunate enough to attend the media day on the Friday before the public event, so we were able to drive almost every car and truck on the property. From autocrossing EcoBoost Mustangs and Ford Explorers to trying to cut a quick reaction time in both Fiesta and Focus STs, the EcoBoost challenge was informative and fun. Not only were we able to compare the EcoBoost Fords to some of their competitive vehicles, but we were even able to drive our first Transit Connect on the streets near the Orlando Convention Center.

Switching over to an EcoBoost 2015 Mustang Fastback really served as an educational experience. It felt lighter, more nimble, and more powerful than the droptop. Sure, that’s just a factor of an improved power-to-weight ratio, but as expected the Fastback was just so much more fun. Most media members didn’t want to carve up the course. However, found that the course was designed to put a damper on our fun.
Switching over to an EcoBoost 2015 Mustang Fastback really served as an educational experience. It felt lighter, more nimble, and more powerful than the droptop. Sure, that’s just a factor of an improved power-to-weight ratio, but as expected the Fastback was just so much more fun. Most media members didn’t want to carve up the course. However, we found that its was designed to put a damper on our antics.

If anything, the EcoBoost Challenge left us wanting more seat time in several of these vehicles, and we’re pretty sure that longing to get behind the wheel of a new Ford is just what the company had in mind when it organized this event series.

There are a handful of events left, including two this weekend in San Francisco, California, and Rochester, New York. The EcoBoost Challenge wraps at the Mall of America in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on June 20. You do have to preregister for these events, so if you are up for the EcoBoost Challenge, head over to the event site and enter your particulars.

We’ve heard people rave about the 2.7-liter EcoBoost in the new F-150, and after driving one, we can see why. Not only did the truck have more grunt than its GMC competitor, but it handled better and even road smoother over rough surfaces. We definitely need to spend some more time in one of these trucks.
We’ve heard people rave about the 2.7-liter EcoBoost in the new F-150, and after driving one, we can see why. Not only did the truck have more grunt than its GMC competitor, but it handled better and even road smoother over rough surfaces. We definitely need to spend some more time in one of these trucks.
The Orlando stop on the tour also offered our first opportunity to get into the latest Explorer. The latest in the line of Ford’s original SUV felt great with the EcoBoost power, and it handled reasonably well. However, it’s moving lots of people and gear where it really excels, so we’ll have to take a road trip in one and get back to you on how it fares.
The Orlando stop on the tour also offered our first opportunity to get into the latest Explorer. The latest in the line of Ford’s original SUV felt great with the EcoBoost power, and it handled reasonably well. However, it’s moving lots of people and gear where it really excels, so we’ll have to take a road trip in one and get back to you on how it fares.
Of the trucks and SUVs, the latest Edge Sport was hands-down the most fun on the autocross course. For a family people mover, this thing moves out pretty well, and it was actually fun navigating the cones in the Edge. It would have been fun to take this car through the dedicated Mustang course.
Of the trucks and SUVs, the latest Edge Sport was hands-down the most fun on the autocross course. For a family people mover, this thing moves out pretty well, and it was actually fun navigating the cones in the Edge. It would have been a hoot to take this people mover through the dedicated Mustang course.
We were really looking forward to the Reaction Time challenge until Joe King took us to school on the tree. We did get him once when he lit the red bulb, but the rest of the time chopped it down on us. We had hoped that after cutting a light that we’d get to rip up another autocross in the Focus and Fiesta STs, but the return course to the starting line was a low-speed affair. You will get to feel what that off-the-line EcoBoost torque will do for a hot hatch if you’ve never driven one before.
We were really looking forward to the Reaction Time challenge until our old Ford pal Joe King took us to school on the tree. We did get him once when he lit the red bulb, but the rest of the time chopped it down on us. We had hoped after cutting a light that we’d get to rip up another autocross in the Focus and Fiesta STs, but the return course to the starting line was a low-speed affair. You will get to feel what that off-the-line EcoBoost torque will do for a hot hatch if you’ve never driven one before.
An interesting component of the EcoBoost Challenge was the Shiftophobia area. While some of your authors might argue the fact, yours truly doesn’t need to learn how to drive with a manual transmission. However, it was cool to see Ford offering to teach people this valuable skill. If you graduated from the manual-trans class, you could even step up and drive some of the other stick-shift Fords at the event, so start there if you need a lesson.
An interesting component of the EcoBoost Challenge was the Shift Phobia zone. While some of your author’s friends might argue the fact, yours truly doesn’t need to learn how to drive with a manual transmission. However, it was cool to see Ford offering to teach people this valuable skill. If you graduated from the manual-trans class, you could even step up and drive some of the other stick-shift Fords at the event, so start there if you need a lesson.

EcoBoost Challenge Orlando 2015 Gallery

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