The Maverick is the newest addition to Ford’s line of pickups. It’s a great truck for those who only need or want a modest, compact truck. The 2.0 EcoBoost engine option in the Maverick also means there’s plenty of potential left. It delivers 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft from the factory. However, the 2.0L turbo engine is capable of making 300+hp with some simple upgrades. In this article, we discuss the best Ford Maverick upgrades including power gains, benefits, cost, & more.
Ford Maverick Engine Options
Before jumping into the bulk of this article it’s important to quickly discuss Maverick engine options. The standard engine in the Maverick is a 2.5L hybrid engine. It’s an Atkinson cycle variant of the Mazda 2.5L L engine. Some of the mods in this article work on the 2.5 hybrid Maverick, such as an intake and tune.
However, the bulk of this article is focused on the 2.0 EcoBoost engine. Its turbo design makes it easier to mod and squeeze additional power out of the 2.0L inline-4. The EcoBoost is also the only engine option available with 4×4 or AWD and delivers better towing capacity. In essence, this will likely be the most popular Maverick engine and is our main focus in this article.
5 Best Maverick 2.0 EcoBoost Upgrades
- Cold Air Intake
The above mods are all simple bolt-ons that can push the Maverick 2.0L to the next level. Things like a turbocharger upgrade could certainly make the list of the best mods. However, our main focus here is on simple upgrades. These upgrades are also the best starting point as they’re good engine mods regardless of how far you want to push the truck.
Anyway, in the next few sections, we’ll look at the above list and discuss each of the upgrades in-depth. We will also cover benefits, power gains, costs, and more.
A tune for the Maverick 2.0 is the foundation for making more horsepower and torque. It’s the best bang for your buck as tuning offers great power gains for the price. A tune alone delivers an extra 25-50whp and 40-70wtq. You’ll be hard-pressed to find better power for the $400-600 price of a tune.
Maverick 2.0 EcoBoost tunes also help extract the full performance potential from other mods. Upgrades like a downpipe, intake, or intercooler don’t offer max power gains without tuning. Tuners adjust fueling, timing, and other parameters to properly account for bolt-on upgrades.
The Maverick is still a new truck, so tuning options are currently limited; more tunes will certainly pop up in the coming months and years. Anyway, there are already a number of quality tuners available. It’s important to look for a tuner from a reputable, trusted company.
Best Maverick 2.0L Tuners
Which tune is best for each person can vary depending on the goals and needs for the truck. As such, there isn’t one tune that is indefinitely better than another. Again, stick with a quality, trusted tuner. A few of the best tunes include:
- SCT Livewire or X4
The JB4 is a different route from most tunes as it’s a piggyback tuner. It’s a simple plug-and-play tune that attaches to two sensors in the engine bay. It then works with the factory PCM tuning to adjust boost, timing, and fueling. Burger Motorsports JB4 is loaded with great features, offers on-the-fly map changes, E85-compatible tuning maps, and tons more. It delivers power gains up to about 50whp and 70wtq, which is in line with the results of flash tunes.
SCT offers a few different tuner devices for the Maverick. These are true flash tunes that completely remap the PCM. The SCT Livewire offers a larger screen than the SCT X4, but costs a couple hundred extra. SCT also offers some great features along with off-the-shelf Maverick tuning maps. Flash tunes also give you the ability to opt for a custom tune to better dial in the tune for your specific needs and goals.
We’re big fans of the JB4 and believe it’s a great route for many Ford Maverick owners. Either way, both the JB4 and SCT are quality, reputable tunes. Whichever direction you go, a tune is sure to take your Maverick 2.0L to the next level.
2) Downpipe Upgrades
Downpipes are one of the best bolt-on upgrades for just about any turbo engine and the Maverick is no exception. The downpipe bolts directly to turbocharger on the Maverick 2.0L EcoBoost. It’s the most important part of the exhaust system on a turbo engine (outside of the manifold and turbo itself).
The factory downpipe contains a big, bulky catalytic converter (cat). It creates a lot of back-pressure, which is not good for turbo performance. Switching to a high-flow catted or catless downpipe frees up tons of performance on the Maverick.
A catless downpipe will provide the best performance. However, they are illegal for on-road use. Enter high-flow downpipes. These downpipes also offer great power gains, and are more likely to pass emissions testing.
Downpipe Upgrade Benefits
- Faster spool
- Easier on turbo & engine
- Louder exhaust notes
Catless downpipe upgrades will likely deliver power gains on the higher-end of the range. Expect about 7-12whp with a high-flow Maverick downpipe. Reducing back-pressure also leads to quicker turbo spool among many other benefits. It makes the turbos job a lot easier and is healthier for the engine overall. Lower backpressure means lower EGT plus less stress on the turbo and engine.
Lastly, Maverick downpipe upgrades deliver louder exhaust and turbo sounds. It’s not overly loud or obnoxious, especially if you leave the rest of the exhaust stock. At idle or cruise you likely won’t hear any louder sounds, but under throttle a downpipe delivers a deeper, more aggressive note. Ultimately, a downpipe offers much more than just power gains making this an excellent mod.
3) Intercooler Mods
Front-mount intercooler (FMIC) upgrades are another excellent mod for the Ford Maverick. The factory 2.0 EcoBoost intercooler is effective on a stock truck. However, start tuning and increasing boost on the Maverick, and the intercooler quickly becomes inefficient.
Air exiting the turbo is often in excess of 200°F, and it’s the intercooler’s job to cool that air as close to ambient temps as possible. Extra boost & power means extra heat and the stock FMIC isn’t designed for that. As such, the Maverick 2.0L engine begins heat soaking as intake air temperature (IAT) rises.
This heat soak leads to a loss of power and performance, which is where larger FMIC’s come into play. Intercooler upgrades generally don’t add big peak power gains. Instead, they help prevent heat soak and power loss. Benefits of intercooler mods include:
- Consistent performance
- Safer for engine
On a “glory” run a Maverick FMIC likely won’t show peak gains of more than about 3-10whp. However, it helps prevent power loss that could exceed 20+whp in certain conditions. Cooler IATs also help prevent detonation/knock and are much safer and healthier for the 2.0 EcoBoost engine.
4) Cold Air Intake Upgrades
Next up are cold air intake (CAI) upgrades. We don’t really agree with the cold-air intake nomenclature on turbo engines, but we’ll ignore that for a few moments. Combining a tune and intake as two of the first Maverick engine mods is a common choice. Adding boost and power means you need more airflow.
The stock intake is a quality, efficient system. As such, power gains are pretty minimal without additional mods like tuning and a downpipe. Still, an intake can add power gains of about 3-7whp, and heavily modded Mavericks might see even better gains.
Maverick cold air intakes also add some awesome turbo and induction sounds. If not for the minor horsepower gains and intake may be worth it for the sounds alone. Intake upgrades are usually one of the cheaper bolt-on upgrades and they’re easy to install. It’s certainly not the most capable mod on this list, but the price, sounds, and ease of installation make it a worthy upgrade.
Turbo Open vs Closed Intake
Intake upgrades have many different names. Performance intake, cold air intake, and intake systems are just a few names. On turbo engines, it’s best to think of intakes as simply open or closed systems. Cold-air intakes don’t exist on turbo engines. Air enters the filter, travels through a red-hot turbocharger, and the air heats up further as it’s compressed before being cooled by the FMIC. Temperature at the filter has virtually 0 impact on the intercooler’s ability to cool the air.
Running a filter wide open in the engine bay will lead to warmer temperatures at the filter. However, it won’t affect the IAT after the intercooler. As such, the main purpose of an intake upgrade is to simply flow more air.
Open intakes provide the best airflow since there isn’t a restrictive airbox around the filter. They will also make more turbo and induction sounds. That said, both open and closed Maverick intake upgrades will offer roughly the same power gains. More airflow from an open filter likely only helps for turbo upgrades or other major mods.
Last but not least are fueling upgrades and better fuel quality for the Maverick. We’ll be quick on this topic since it’s best to save fueling for one of your final mods. High-quality fuel is an important part of maximizing performance. Better fuel also helps the engine run cooler, reduces the chance of knock or detonation, and much more.
If you’re tuning the Ford Maverick then we recommend running 91 or 93 octane at the least. In the performance world, even 93 octane is considered poor fuel quality. It’s plenty for a modest tune with basic bolt-ons. However, if you want to push to the next level you’ll need more than standard pump gas.
E85, race gas, or water-methanol injection (WMI) are 3 popular fueling options to maximize performance. E85 is the best option, but it’s very demanding on the fuel system. Otherwise, race gas or WMI are viable options to make more power.
Ultimately, there’s a lot that goes into fuel quality and fueling upgrades for the Ford Maverick. It could be an entire article of its own and then some. If you’re looking for more power then we recommend doing some additional research on fueling solutions for the Maverick.
Despite Being A Relatively New Truck, the Maverick Has Some Pretty Quality Mods Available Already
The Ford Maverick 2.0 EcoBoost is a stout truck from the factory. An inline-4 might not sound like a great engine for a truck. However, the 2.0L turbo EcoBoost manages to pump out a respectable 250 horsepower and 277 lb-ft. The turbo design also allows for tons of aftermarket potential with simple bolt-on upgrades.
An intake, tune, downpipe, and intercooler are a great starting point to push the Maverick to the next level. They all offer more benefits than just power gains. It’s also the foundation to making more power even if you want bigger upgrades like a turbo upgrade. Higher quality fueling like E85, race gas, and WMI also go a long way on the Ford Maverick.
The 2.0L EcoBoost engine can make 300+whp and 350+wtq with these simple bolt-ons. All the mods can be had for less than $2,500 total, so you won’t break the bank in the process. Regardless of which route you go, these Ford Maverick upgrades will surely take the truck to the next level and likely put a big smile on your face.
What’s your experience with Maverick 2.0 EcoBoost upgrades? Are you considering any?
Leave a comment and let us know!