Ford is once again giving potential customers the chance to get behind the wheel of some of its most popular vehicles, in the EcoBoost Challenge, a 17-city tour that sees interested buyers navigating predetermined courses to feel firsthand what it’s like to put some of the blue oval’s products through their paces. The event is free, and to sweeten the deal each participant is automatically entered for a chance to win a brand new 2015 Ford Edge.

“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,” said Michele Bartlett, Ford group marketing manager for large cars and SUVs. “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.”

Over 28,000 people took part in last year’s challenge. On hand this year is the 2015 Expedition, Escape, Fusion Hybrid and Transit Connect Wagon, not to mention the new Edge. For the more performance-oriented clientele, Ford will provide a Fiesta ST, Focus ST, and the new Mustang EcoBoost. Driving experiences include the ST Reaction Time Challenge and a dedicated Mustang course, both of which draw similarities to an autocross run. There’s also a Street Drive course that highlights a variety of Ford’s driver’s aides technologies (such as park assist). There’s even a “ShiftPhobia” boot camp to help you learn how to row your own.

The EcoBoost Challenge is already underway, with future events scheduled for Seattle, Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Rochester, and Minneapolis. Register here.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2015 Ford Edge.

Why it matters

Events like this are pretty cool, if you ask me. Getting the chance to fling the new Focus through a corner or check out the new tech in the Fusion is a great way to bring the brand directly to customers. It’s somewhat reminiscent of Shelby’s “Try Before You Buy” program, which puts potential buyers at the helm of super-powered Ford products in a track environment for a real flavor of the potential lurking under a heavy right foot. The Shelby experience isn’t free (it’s actually quite expensive), but the idea is the same: make a test drive more than a few rings around the block, and watch the customer swoon.

As for the chance to win a free car, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

2015 Ford Edge

2015 Ford Edge High Resolution Exterior
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Introduced for the 2007 model year, the Ford Edge quickly became a hot-ticket item, selling some 130,000 units in its very first year. For 2015, Ford gave the Edge a refresh, and it looks pretty good, with hard, creased lines and a straightforward design language that remains clean. Up front, there’s an active grille shutter that closes for better aerodynamic efficiency at speed, furthering boosting the mileage from the 2.0-liter four-banger residing under the hood. This unit produces 245 horsepower, with economy looking like 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. Pricing starts at $28,100, while one lucky EcoBoost Challenge participant will win an optioned-out Titanium model with a sticker price of $45,490.

Read our full review here.

Source: ecoboostdrive

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