Last July 2, 2014, I was fortunate enough to be invited as one of the participants in the Ford EcoSport Mystery Case drive; an event full of surprises and fun filled activities to showcase the capabilities of the 2014 Ford EcoSport subcompact crossover.
When I got the invitation to join the drive, there were no details other than the meeting time and place. I tried asking the Ford people where would the drive be, but they said that it will be a surprise… a mystery indeed.
Upon reaching the meeting place, which was in Ford Global City showroom, the drive remained unknown, leaving me and other media participants wondering what Ford has prepared for us. Nevertheless, after eating breakfast, Ford didn’t prolong our agony by revealing the nature of the Ford EcoSport Mystery Case drive.
We found out that we signed up for an Amazing Race type of drive. The 12 participants were divided into 6 groups. With this, for every EcoSport vehicle there will be two participants on-board acting as teammates for the duration of the drive. I was assigned to team up with Jason Ang of Motion Cars and we were given the blue colored Ford EcoSpot Titanium variant. Sweet.
Just like the Amazing Race, Ford gave us the first destination of the day, which was at the Paragon Plaza in Boni. We don’t have a clue on what we’re going to do in the said location, but the teams were pumped up as we glided through the rush hour traffic of EDSA.
When we arrived at the Paragon Plaza, teams were led to Breakout Philippines, an escape room game where players need to solve puzzles in order to get out before the time expires. If you’ve played any of these break out or escape-style games on your computer, this one is the life size version. I have to say that Breakout Philippines was an awesome experience. Tag along your friends or families and I’m sure that you will have a great time.
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to escape the room on time. Too bad.
We were then instructed to go at Beyleaf in Intramuros, Manila. We took the Ortigas flyover bound to San Juan, the little Baguio. On our way to Bayleaf, the EcoSport swiftly tackled the up and down hill roads of San Juan with ease. The EcoSport also showcased its agility as we weaved through the morning traffic. The steering of the EcoSport gives you confidence whenever you want to change lanes and gives you the power when you step on the gas. However, I noticed that the EcoSport tends to have a rough time switching gears.
Upon reaching Bayleaf, we had our lunch before proceeding to the actual Mystery Case drive.
After eating lunch, the first challenge was to find out how many softdrink cans will fit in the EcoSport’s side door panels, glove compartment and the mid-section panel between the two front seats. Teams made random guesses as to what the actual number can fit to the EcoSport and we found out that it can accommodate up to 13.
Then we were given a clue that has random numbers and we figured it out as coordinates for our next destination. With the help of Waze app, we were able to reach the next destination. We didn’t have a hard time locating the next destination, but we made a crucial mistake as the Ford Marshall told us to get down the vehicle and he’ll park it for us at the nearest parking space. So we went down the EcoSport and literally ran to the next location under the heat of the scorching sun only to find out that we need the vehicle for the next challenge. I called the Ford marshall, but he wasn’t answering, so Jason and I ran back to the parking space. When we arrived, the EcoSport wasn’t there. We were clueless and decided to run back at the designated location. Thankfully, I saw the blue Ford EcoSport parked near the designated location.
With perspiration and a longing for air, we quickly hopped in at the vehicle and went. The challenge was to maneuver the EcoSport in reverse and make it climb up a platform. This challenge proved that the EcoSport has the power and composure in tackling such scenarios with confidence. Jason successfully did the task without a problem and we were given the clue for our next destination but with the series of unfortunate events, we dropped down to maybe fifth or sixth place.
For our third destination, we were instructed to go in the Calvo Museum in Escolta and find the oldest Ford advertisement. We found out that the oldest Ford advertisement was dated year 1920 and said you can already own a Ford vehicle for just PHP 795. Clearly time flies… and so do the prices.
Then we were once again given our next clue with a task of looking for a street vendor that has three coins infused with the Ford logo. After doing the task, we were instructed to go at the Ford Manila Bay showroom, the second to last stop of the race.
Jason and I decided to avoid the Calao – Roxas Blvd. area because reports said that it will be closed for an earthquake drill. We took the longer route and was doomed due to the heavy traffic. As a result, we were the last team to arrive at Ford Manila Bay. Then we were given the task of constructing a puzzle that has an image of the EcoSport’s interior with dropped down rear seats. Ford says that an average-sized washing machine can easily fit to the EcoSport if the rear seats are laid flat. After the puzzle challenge, were tasked to cracked the mystery code with a clue that states, “Where it all started.” The answer was Henry; Henry Ford.
We were the last team to arrive at Enderun… the last stop. Despite being the tail of the group, I was satisfied at the EcoSport’s performance as, after all, the drive was meant to showcase the qualities of the EcoSport.
To know more about the vehicle, read our editor-in-chief’s in depth review of the Ford EcoSport.