Powertrain drivability evaluation and calibration is an important part of vehicle development to enhance the customer experience. This step mainly takes place on vehicle testing very late in the product development cycle, and is associated with a considerable amount of prototype, test facility, human resource and time cost. Design change options at this stage are also very limited. To reduce the development cost, a model based computer aided engineering (CAE) method is introduced and combined with hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation technology. The HIL simulation method offers a possibility for drivability prediction and development in early phase of product cycle. This article describes the drivability HIL simulation process under development in Ford. The process consists of real time capable multi-domain CAE model integration, powertrain control module (PCM) and HIL simulator interface development and drivability HIL simulation. The article illustrates that this efficient new approach can be achieved with existing fast developing CAE and HIL technology. Results comparison between HIL simulation and vehicle test is presented.