I have to hand it to Ford. It takes real chutzpah to invite people in to drive their cars and compare against the segment leaders. They are doing just that today at Santa Anita Race Park in Arcadia here in the heart of the 626 with the Ecoboost Tour. Everyone is invited to attend. Its really a lot of fun.
I attended yesterday on a VIP Press Pass. That ecoboost technology is pretty amazing stuff, twin turbos allowing a V6 to replace a V8, 4’s to replace V6 and even a 3cylinder to replace a 4. All without giving up the performance you want while seeing gains in mileage of 10-20% over the larger engines.
The Ecoboost Tour is divided into 3 categories. First really isn’t about the Ecoboost technology as much as it is about their Hybrid technology and tips on how to hypermile. In this you go head to head with a Ford C-Max and a Prius V. There’s even a Fusion Energi in the loop for kicks and giggles. I walked away with a very positive impression of the Cmax and the 64.7MPG. The C-max handled like a much smaller car in the slalom compared to the Prius V that bobbed and weaved making me worry I’d scrape the door handles on the pavement as it leaned through the curves.
Next up in the rotation is the meat of the event. Head to head comparisons of the ecoboost products against their segment leaders. This was really an enlightening experience. Not only did you get to “floor it” and compare accelleration, then braking and into a slalom for handling, you also got to see first hand the difference in build quality and materials between the Ford Product and their Segment leader. The vehicles up for comparison were as follows:
- Mid-size Sedan: Toyota Camry vs Ford Fusion SEL
- Small SUV: Honda CRV vs Ford Escape SEL
- Full Size Truck: Ford F150 FX 4X4 vs Chevy Silvarado
The last stop is the ST Performance Academy. This was an absolute blast for me. You are given instructions by a professional driver on how to achieve the best time through a closed loop track in a hot new Fiesta ST. After that they let you loose on the track and are given a chance to see what numbers you can pull in. My first lap was a practice lap and came in mid pack at 38.5, my final lap I shaved of nearly 5 seconds for 33.6. I was quite happy with the results.
You can still attend today 10AM to 4PM. If you’ve already registered for the event you’ll breeze right in and have some fun driving cars. If you haven’t pre-registered they will still take you in, you’ll just need to register at the gate and then its off to the races for you.
Deets: Saturday May 10, 10AM – 4PM Santa Anita Race Park, 285 W Huntington Drive, Arcadia CA 91007 MAP HERE
More pics from the day in my flickr album.