2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost
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Ford 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost

Chandler Stark

Meet Chandler

Chandler is an automotive expert with over a decade of experience working on and modifying cars. A couple of his favorites were his heavily modded 2016 Subaru WRX and his current 2020 VW Golf GTI. He’s also a big fan of American Muscle and automotive history. Chandler’s passion and knowledge of the automotive industry help him deliver high-quality, insightful content to TuningPro readers.

Since the Ford EcoBoost series debuted in 2010, it has established itself as one of the top American engine families. Combining turbocharged I4s and V6s with direct injection fueling, the EcoBoost engines produce solid performance and fuel economy, while reducing emissions and weight (compared with V8 engines). Two of the most popular EcoBoost engines are the 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost engines. Read on to learn all about the Ford 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost engines. 

Ford 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost History

Ford initially started developing their EcoBoost engines in the late 2000s, and their idea was simple enough. They wanted to make smaller engines, with direct injection and turbochargers, that could deliver the same horsepower and torque output as their larger displacement V8 predecessors. In addition, the smaller engines and direct injection also meant better fuel economy while decreasing emissions outputs.

Ford released the first EcoBoost engine, the 2.0 EcoBoost, in 2010. They derived it from the Mazda L-engine, and the first vehicles they put it in were actually the Volvo XC60 and V70. The first Ford vehicles to get the 2.0 EcoBoost were the Ford Edge and Ford Explorer, who got it in 2011. In 2015, Ford released the 2.3 EcoBoost engine. They have most prominently featured the 2.3 EcoBoost inside the S550 Mustang, but Ford also uses it inside the Focus ST (and formerly the RS), and the Bronco, among others. 

The 2.3 EcoBoost is more powerful than the 2.0 EcoBoost, both in terms of peak performance and the overall powerband. The 2.0 EcoBoost makes between 203–250 horsepower and 221–280 lb-ft of torque. In contrast, the 2.3 EcoBoost produces a minimum of 270–350 horsepower and 305–350 lb-ft of torque. 

As of 2023, Ford continues to use both the 2.0 and 2.3 EcoBoost engines, with them giving the 2.0 a refresh in 2015 when they released the 2.3. The EcoBoost engines appear poised to remain some of Ford’s primary power plants for the foreseeable future. Previously, we have looked at the 2.3 vs 2.7 EcoBoost engines, as well as the Ford Maverick vs Ford Ranger, which use the 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost engines. Make sure to check out those articles for even more EcoBoost content. 

Engine Specs

EngineFord 2.0 EcoBoostFord 2.3 EcoBoost
Engine FamilyFord EcoBoostFord EcoBoost
Model Years2010-Present2015 – Present
Displacement2.0 Liters (1,999 cc)2.3 L (2, 253 cc)
Compression Ratio9.3:1-10.1:19.5:1
Head/Block MaterialAluminumAluminum
Bore & Stroke87.5 mm x 83.1 mm (3.4 in x 3.3 in)87.5 mm x 94 mm (3.45 in x 3.7 in)
Fuel SystemDirect InjectionDirect Injection
Valve Train16V DOHC (4 valve/cy)16V DOHC (4 valve/cy)
Horsepower Output203-252 horsepower270-350 horsepower
Torque Output221-270 lb-ft of torque305-350 lb-ft of torque

Ford 2.0 EcoBoost Design

The Ford 2.0 EcoBoost is a 2.0 liter (122-cid) inline-4 engine that uses an aluminum cylinder block and head. The bore and stroke are 87.5 mm x 83.1  mm (3.4 in x 3.3 in), and the cylinders have steel sleeves for durability. In addition, the heads have an integrated exhaust manifold to help save weight and boost efficiency. The engine is turbocharged instead of naturally aspirated, and the first generation (until 2015) used a BorgWarner K03 turbocharger. The turbo ran variable levels of boost depending on the vehicle. 

The EcoBoost uses a dual overhead camshaft (DOHC) valve train with four valves per cylinder, for 16 valves total. The engine also has Ford’s proprietary Twin Independent-Variable Camshaft Timing (Ti-VCT) to improve fuel economy and performance. 

In 2015, Ford revised and improved the 2.0 EcoBoost. The biggest change was the replacement of the K03 turbo with a new twin-scroll style turbocharger (see below). Ford also increased the compression ratio from 9.3:1 up to 10.1:1 on some models and improved both the fueling and oiling systems. They also gave the engine more robust internals, including a forged-steel crankshaft and new rods and pistons. 

Ford 2.3 EcoBoost Design

The Ford 2.3 EcoBoost is a 2.3 liter (137.5-cid) inline-4 engine that also uses an aluminum cylinder block and head. The compression is 9.5:1, and the bore and stroke are 87.5 mm x 94 mm (3.45 in x 3.7 in). Similar to the 2.0, the 2.3 also uses an integrated exhaust manifold as part of the cylinder head. The 2.3 has always used a twin-scroll turbocharger. 

The 2.3 EcoBoost uses forged connecting rods, high-strength and lightweight pistons with fully floating wrist pins, and a fully forged 4340 steel crankshaft. The pistons have oil cooling jets to help with increased heat and for durability. It also has a chain-driven high pressure oil pump, and a deep sump oil pan specifically designed to prevent oil starvation during track use.

Like the 2.0, the 2.3 uses a DOHC valve train, but the 2.3 has oversized valves (32.5 mm intake, 30 mm exhaust). The exhaust valves are filled with sodium for improved cooling and have performance valve seats. The 2.3 also uses Ford’s Ti-VCT camshaft technology, which improves fuel economy and performance. 

Credit: Kevauto/Wikipedia (2021 Ford Bronco EcoBoost)

Direct Injection Fueling: Explained

When comparing the 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost, one of the most important things is the direct injection fueling. Both engines use direct injection, and it’s actually one of the most important parts of the EcoBoost platform. Direct injection is in comparison with port injection, which used to be the standard and is still widely in use today. 

Direct Injection (DI), also seen as Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI), is a new take on the standard sequential multi-point electronic fuel injection. The main differences are that DI systems typically run at much higher fuel pressures, locate the fuel injector inside the combustion chamber, and allow for much more precise fuel delivery and control. This means that not only do DI systems have better performance, but they also reduce emissions and result in superior fuel economy, too. 

The drawbacks to DI-systems are the cost and resulting carbon buildup on the intake valves. DI-systems are much more expensive than traditional port fuel injection systems, because not only are the parts more sophisticated, but there are more of them. Such as the supplemental high-pressure fuel pump located near the fuel rails. 

In addition, since the fuel injector is located directly in the combustion chamber, it does not spray fuel over the intake valve. This causes them to be susceptible to carbon buildup. If the problem gets bad enough, the EcoBoost will start misfiring and struggle to run or idle. The only way to remove the carbon is through walnut blasting, a labor-intensive job that involves removing the intake manifold to access the valves (see video below).

Overall, DI is a vast improvement over port fuel injection, and despite its cost and downsides is still superior. Many more manufacturers are now using either full DI-systems of hybrid systems that have both port and DI injection.

Twin-Scroll Turbochargers: Explained

In addition to both having direct injection, both the 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost engines also use twin-scroll turbochargers. The 2.3 EcoBoost has always used them since hitting the market in 2015, while the 2.0 EcoBoost upgraded to a twin-scroll with the 2015 refresh. Both of them run variable levels of boost depending on the vehicle and horsepower rating. Most run between 12–20 PSI of boost. 

Twin-scroll turbochargers are more efficient than traditional single-scroll turbochargers and are becoming the standard on production vehicles. 

Twin-scroll turbos separate the exhaust gas pulses into two different ports, known as scrolls, when they enter the turbo from the integrated exhaust manifold. By separating the pulses, the flow is much smoother and faster, which allows for more pulse energy to be transferred from the exhaust to the turbo. This allows for a quicker and more sustained boost response.

Ford’s tuning utilizes this, in conjunction with DI, to massively increase power output and efficiency on the EcoBoosts. It results in earlier peak torque and a flatter overall curve, while increasing horsepower everywhere in the power band. Together, DI and the twin-scroll turbo are responsible for the 2.3 EcoBoost engine’s ability to have 330 horsepower while still managing 30+ mpg on the highway (in the Mustang). Try doing that with a V8. 

Ford 2.0 vs 2.3 L EcoBoost: Reliability

So far, both the 2.0 and the 2.3 EcoBoost have shown themselves to be very reliable engines. They can easily run for well over 150,000 miles without requiring rebuilds, and most owners are very satisfied. However, both have also shown themselves to be susceptible to a number of problems. Overall, we would still call both the 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost to be reliable engines, but there are a few issues you should be aware of with each.

2.0 EcoBoost Problems

On the 2.0 EcoBoost, the most common problems are coolant intrusion, cracked exhaust manifold, boost control solenoid failure, low-pressure fuel pump failure, and carbon buildup. Most of the problems are related to the first generation 2.0 EcoBoost, as they switched to a different cylinder block with the 2015 refresh. However, the coolant intrusion issue is linked to both the Gen 1 and 2 engine blocks and head gasket, and is caused by improper mating. 

The cracked exhaust manifold is a big issue, because as we mentioned the manifold is integrated into the cylinder head. The manifold can crack due to excessive heat, especially from towing, and is again more common on Gen 1 engines. The boost control solenoid regulates the amount of boost pressure the turbocharger runs, and would run into issues after 50k miles on the Gen 1.

The final issue is related to carbon buildup, which is a symptom of the direct injection fueling. Both the 2.0 and 2.3 EcoBoost engines suffer from carbon buildup, but usually it is not enough of an issue to cause problems until well over 150,000 miles. 

Additionally, some Ford Fusions equipped with the 2.0 EcoBoost have experienced problems with the throttle body. These are not very widespread and are easily fixed. 

2.3 EcoBoost Problems

Similar to the 2.0 EcoBoost, the 2.3 is a very reliable engine that actually has a better reputation. There have been less issues with the 2.3 vs 2.0 EcoBoost, even though it pushes out more horsepower and torque by a wide margin.

The most common 2.3 EcoBoost problems are running hot, carbon buildup, and head gasket leaking. The issue with running hot is mainly linked to hotter climates that already experience hot temperatures. Turbocharged engines generally run very hot due to the reuse of exhaust gasses for the turbo, which can make cooling difficult – especially in hotter climates. The 2.3 EcoBoost already uses an intercooler, but a bigger one is recommended in very hot climates for improved cooling.

The problem with head gaskets was different than with the 2.0 EcoBoost. The 2.3 head gasket problem was linked to only a small number of engines, and was due to the wrong part being installed from the factory. The last issue is carbon buildup, which presents the same issues as with the 2.0 EcoBoost. One of the most popular 2.3 EcoBoost models is the Ford Ranger, and you can check out our Ford Ranger reliability guide, which covers the 2.3 EcoBoost. 


Credit: Malchick743/Wikipedia (Ford Mustang EcoBoost 2.3)

In terms of performance, both the 2.0 and 2.3 EcoBoosts exceed traditional I4 expectations. Still, the 2.3 EcoBoost is more powerful than the 2.0 EcoBoost, both in terms of peak performance and the overall powerband. The 2.0 EcoBoost makes between 160–250 horsepower and 146–280 lb-ft of torque. In contrast, the 2.3 EcoBoost produces a minimum of 270–350 horsepower and 305–350 lb-ft of torque. 

Ford reserved the 2.3 EcoBoost for high performance models like the Ford Mustang and Focus RS and Focus ST. The Ford Focus used the most powerful version of the 2.3 EcoBoost, producing 350 horsepower and 350 lb-ft of torque. It used a slightly different engine block that had improvements for cooling, and the turbocharger was also upgraded. 

According to Car and Driver, the 2017 Ford Focus RS with the 2.3 EcoBoost could go from zero to 60 mph in just 4.5 seconds, with a ¼ mile performance of 13.4 seconds @ 103 mph. Both of these bested the RS’ direct competitor, the Honda Civic Type-R, by a considerable margin. 

Performance Upgrades

Now let’s talk about modding the 2.0 vs 2.3 EcoBoost engine. Luckily, we have already looked extensively at improving both engines, and we have a host of guides for you. Both the 2.0 and 2.3 EcoBoost engines respond incredibly well to upgrades, and you can add anywhere from 10-20 horsepower with bolt-ons, to a few hundred horsepower with turbocharger upgrades. 

For the 2.0 EcoBoost, we have a guide on the 5 best 2.0 EcoBoost mods. Using the guide can take you all the way up to 300-320 wheel-horsepower and 340–360 wheel-torque, which is a significant improvement from the stock maximum of 250 crank-horsepower. In addition, we also have a specific top 5 best Ford Maverick upgrades, which uses the 2.0 EcoBoost. 

For those with the Focus RS or Focus ST, we have a wealth of guides for you. Starting with the Focus RS, we have an excellent RS exhaust upgrade guide, which has both cat-back and turbo-back options. For the Focus ST, we have top Focus ST performance mods, ST downpipe upgrade, ST charge pipe upgrade, and ST intercooler upgrade guides

Switching over to the 2.3 EcoBoost, we also have several guides for both the EcoBoost Mustang and the EcoBoost Ranger. For the EcoBoost Mustang, we have top Mustang bolt-on performance mods, Mustang intercooler upgrade, Mustang tuning, and Mustang downpipe upgrade guides. For the EcoBoost Ranger, we have top Ranger performance mods, Ranger intercooler upgrade, and Ranger downpipe upgrade guides

Ford 2.0 vs 2.3 L EcoBoost FAQ

Which is better, the 2.0 EcoBoost or 2.3 EcoBoost engine?

The 2.3 EcoBoost. The 2.3 EcoBoost makes more horsepower and torque and is the more reliable of the two engines.

Are the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost engines good?

Yes, both the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost are reliable engines that produce solid performance.

How much horsepower can the 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost make?

The 2.0 EcoBoost is capable of more than 300 wheel-horsepower. The 2.3 EcoBoost is capable of more than 450 wheel-horsepower.

Are the 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost engines better than a V6?

The 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost engines are I4 engines, but they produce more horsepower and get better fuel economy than many V6 engines.

Are the 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost engines reliable?

Yes, both the 2.0 EcoBoost and 2.3 EcoBoost engines are reliable and can make it past 150,000 miles easily.

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