If the automotive outsider were to take a casual peek into Ford's product strategy, they'd probably think EcoBoost were the savior of the Blue Oval kingdom. Ledgers would be filled with scrawls of the word "EcoBoost." Planning posters would show the proliferation of the EcoBoost engine family in the United States and around the world. In this paragraph alone, you can't avoid thinking about EcoBoost.

On an unseasonably warm November day, Ford invited us to the outskirts of Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, to try out the latest member of the EcoBoost family. We've known the family-hauling Edge would be among the first in the U.S. (alongside the 2011 Explorer) with the 2.0-liter EcoBoost, the next size down from the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V-6 that's been leaving its mark in the Flex, Taurus SHO, and F-150.

The key piece to this EcoBoost operation (and achieving Corporate Average Fuel Economy requirements) is merely shoehorned into the gloss-black Edge: the direct-injected, turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four. Estimated output is 230 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque, and this four-cylinder with forced induction and twin independent variable camshaft timing is expected to provide comparable performance to a naturally aspirated V-6 with more displacement. The transmission is the regular, non-SelectShift six-speed automatic.

There's precious little official information in terms of specifications, given the powertrain's preproduction state, but the initial driving impressions are real. The engine was in need of fine-tuning, with developmental issues such as delayed throttle response from a stop manifesting itself in a very clear manner. In addition, the front-wheel-drive midsize crossover exhibited abnormally resistant steering that mimicked loss of power steering. An alarming amount of torque steer was evident at speeds as low as 25-30 mph, but the ride itself was subdued and appropriately damped for comfort.

The good news comes for those who intend to drive a hefty amount in a straight line. At speed, depressing the gas pedal delivers a linear surge of power that would be difficult to discern from the Edge's currently available, base 280-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6, even with four occupants onboard. Being able to immediately dig into the torque band was a critical concern for the engineers, especially for a vehicle expected to push 4000 pounds without the kids and lacrosse equipment in the back.