In our opinion, the Ford 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines are by far the best engines in the Ford F-150. They both offer an excellent balance of power, performance, towing, fuel economy, and reliability. It’s hard to go wrong with either engine. However, it can be tough to make a decision on which F-150 EcoBoost engine is right for you. In this article, we compare the 2.7 EcoBoost vs 3.5 EcoBoost and look at specs, towing, performance, and more.
If you are interested in learning about either the 2.7L EcoBoost or 3.5L EcoBoost independently, we have written full guides about each twin-turbo V6 which you can find here:
Basic 2.7 & 3.5 EcoBoost Specs
|Max Towing Capacity*
|Max Payload Capacity*
|$0, base engine
The above specs are a good summary of the notable differences between the Ford 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost engines. 2.7L twin-turbo EcoBoosts are currently the base engine option at no cost in the XL SuperCrew. An extra $1,400 allows you to upgrade to the larger, more powerful 3.5L engine. If you’re in the market for a used F-150, then there will actually be some cheaper choices since it dates back to 2011.
Anyway, Ford 3.5L twin-turbo engines offer the best max towing capacity for the F-150 at 13,200 lbs. Its 470 lb-ft of torque is available at low RPMs, which makes it a great choice for towing. However, the 2.7 EcoBoost also offers excellent power, torque, and towing capacity. It just doesn’t deliver quite the same performance given its smaller design, but it does offer better fuel economy.
Again, this is a pretty good overall summary of the 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost. However, in this article, we’ll break down this info further for those who are still torn between the twin-turbo F-150 engines.
*Engine cost is based on the 2021 XL SuperCrew F-150. The exact cost varies on specific trims, but the 3.5L is generally about $1,400 more expensive than the 2.7 EB. Towing and payload capacity are from 2021 F-150 models equipped to tow the maximum weight.
If you would rather consume this content via a video, check out our Ford 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost comparison video below:
What Cars Use The 2.7L EcoBoost Engine?
First Generation Applications:
- 2015-2017 Ford F150 (325 horsepower)
- 2017-2020 Lincoln Continental (335 horsepower)
- 2019+ Lincoln Nautilus (335 Horsepower)
- 2015-2018 Ford Edge Sport (315 Horsepower)
- 2019+ Ford Edge ST (335 Horsepower)
- 2011-2016 Ford F-150
- 2017-2019 Ford Fusion Sport (325 Horsepower)
Second Generation Applications:
- 2018-present Ford F-150
- 2021-present Ford Bronco
What Cars Use the 3.5L EcoBoost Enigine?
First gen 3.5L EcoBoost engines are in the following Ford and Lincoln models:
- 2010-2019 Ford Flex
- 2010-2016 Lincoln MKS
- 2010-2019 Lincoln MKT
- 2010-2019 Ford Taurus SHO
- 2013-2019 Ford Explorer Sport & Platinum
- 2011-2016 Ford F-150
- 2015-2017 Ford Expedition
- 2015-2017 Lincoln Navigator
The 2nd gen engine is in the following:
- 2017-present Ford F-150
- 2018-present Ford Expedition
- 2017-present Ford F-150 Raptor
- 2018-present Lincoln Navigator
- 2017-present Ford GT
1st Gen vs 2nd Gen Engines
One of the most significant changes to the Ford EcoBoost formula came in 2017 for the 3.5L EcoBoost and a year later for the 2.7L EcoBoost. The second generation 3.5L EcoBoost was released in 2017 in the new Ford GT, introducing significant performance and reliability updates to the engine. Upgrades to the second generation engine include the addition of port fuel injection, turbo updates, a new two-chain timing chain system with double sprockets, lighter hollow camshafts, an updated VCT phaser design to improve reliability, and other minor yet significant tweaks. The most important update was unquestionably the introduction of port fuel injection which worked in combination with the existing direct injection system.
In 2018, the 2.7L EcoBoost received nearly identical updates. Additionally, the 2.7L EcoBoost also received a new and revised exhaust gas recirculation system and a new 10-speed automatic transmission in most Fords. In terms of reliability, port injection and timing chain improvements proved to exponentially improve the reliability of bot engines. The introduction of port injection on second-generation EcoBoost models significantly improved the carbon buildup issue that was common on both the 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines. Revised timing chain mechanisms also decreased the likelihood of timing chain rattle and associated cam phaser problems too.
Ultimately, the second generation of both the 2.7L and 3.5L EcoBoost engines are significantly improved over the earlier versions. If you are in the market for a Ford powered by either of these EcoBoost engines, seriously consider finding a 2nd gen variant. The added reliability and performance are worthwhile if the budget allows.
Ford 2.7L vs 3.5L EcoBoost Performance
We’ll avoid getting too specific with anything like 0-60 or quarter mile times. Those numbers can vary significantly depending on trim, 4WD vs RWD, etc. Of course, all else equal, the 3.5 EcoBoost is going to be the faster truck. Both share the same basic twin-turbo, direct injection, V6 design. The 3.5L engine simply has the displacement advantage to offer more power and torque.
Long story short – if you’re after performance the 3.5 EcoBoost is a clear choice. That’s not to say the 2.7L engine is a slouch by any means. It still offers more than enough power and torque for most. Both engines are also very mod-friendly and can make quite a bit more power with basic bolt-on upgrades.
Winner: 3.5 EcoBoost
Ford EcoBoost Tuning
It’s not hard to get an extra 100+ horsepower and torque out of the F-150 EcoBoost engines. We wrote an article about some of the best upgrades for the 3.5 EcoBoost here. A few basic mods take the 3.5 EcoBoost to 450-550+whp. That’s probably more power than most people need in a truck. However, additional mods can even push the 3.5L twin-turbo engine north of 600whp.
2.7 EcoBoost engines can also pick up tons of power with similar mods. Check out the 5 best 2.7 EcoBoost mods. However, as a smaller engine, the gains aren’t quite to the same degree. A tune and an E85 fuel blend can boost the 2.7L engine to 400+whp and 450+wtq. Throw on the other basic upgrades and the 2.7 EB F-150 can deliver more power. Upgraded turbos can even push it to 500-550+whp. Very impressive numbers for a relatively small V6 engine.
Winner: 3.5 EcoBoost
When similarly equipped the 3.5 EcoBoost offers about 4,000 lbs more towing capacity vs the 2.7 EcoBoost. The 3.5L engine actually offers the highest towing capacity available on the F-150. That holds true for payload capacity, too. However, chances are the 2.7L engine still offers plenty of towing capacity for most F-150 owners.
If you are planning on towing heavy loads often the 3.5 EcoBoost is the better choice. And it’s not simply due to the fact it has a higher towing capacity on the F-150. The smaller 2.7L EcoBoost has to rely on the turbos a lot more when towing heavy loads. Larger displacement on the 3.5 EB gives it a considerable advantage. It won’t need to use quite as much turbo.
Of course, the engines are designed to withstand the boost and stresses while towing. Twin turbo engines like the 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost do generate a lot of heat, though. It can be pretty hard on the engine when you’re towing a lot of weight on steep terrain. That’s where the larger EcoBoost engine has an advantage since it can rely on its displacement.
Winner: 3.5 EcoBoost
Finally, an area the 2.7 EcoBoost has an advantage. It’s hard to dive into specific details since exact fuel economy comes down to many different factors. Is the F-150 4WD or RWD, what is the truck weight, etc.? Anyway, in a similarly equipped F-150, the 2.7 EcoBoost is going to deliver about 2-3 more MPG than the 3.5 engine.
It’s pretty straightforward since the smaller displacement is going to have the advantage. This is especially true since both engines utilize very similar designs and technology. All else equal, the smaller Ford 2.7 EcoBoost is more fuel efficient.
However, when towing, the 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost likely offer very similar fuel economy. In certain situations, the Ford 3.5L twin-turbo engine might even have a small advantage. Again, this boils down to its larger displacement not needing to use high boost from the turbos quite as often.
Winner: 2.7 EcoBoost
This is a topic we’re very familiar with since we spent a lot of time researching and writing about reliability for both the Ford 2.7 EcoBoost and 3.5 EcoBoost. Ford has done very well with these engines, in our opinion. They both suffer from pretty similar issues, but problems are few and far between. Some of it simply comes down to the luck of the draw. However, with proper maintenance, the 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines should deliver good reliability.
One thing is clear – Ford did an excellent job with the 2nd gen engines. Direct injection engines suffer from carbon build-up problems on the intake valves. Ford addressed this on the 2nd gen 3.5L and 2.7L engines with the addition of port injection. They also ironed out some timing chain problems the 3.5 EcoBoost suffered, and oil pan issues on the 2.7 EcoBoost.
With that being said, the Gen 2 3.5L EcoBoost is infamous for having cam phaser rattle issues, which is more of an annoyance than a serious drivability-affecting issue.
Check out the below links for more information specific to each engine:
EcoBoost Engine Longevity
Long-term reliability of the 2.7 EcoBoost vs 3.5 EcoBoost can be up for a lot of debate. Is one engine generally going to last longer than the other? It’s almost impossible to say as of now. The 3.5L engine has been around for a decade now, but the 2.7 EB is still only about 6 years old. As of now there really isn’t enough info to say one engine has the advantage.
Anyways, the 2.7 & 3.5 EcoBoost engines shouldn’t have any issues making it beyond 200,000 miles in most cases. Exact longevity, of course, comes down to tons of different factors. How the engine is maintained, used, driven, etc will all have an impact on longevity. Again, we’re big fans of both F-150 EcoBoost engines and which is better might simply come down to the luck of the draw.
F-150 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost Summary
The Ford EcoBoost engines are among the best choices in the F-150 for their good balance of performance, towing, fuel economy, and reliability. There are a number of differences between the engines, such as engine block material. However, they also share many things in common. Notably, the 2.7 and 3.5 EcoBoost engines are both twin-turbo, DOHC, direct-injected V6 engines with Ti-VCT.
If maximum performance and towing capacity are the goals then the 3.5 EcoBoost is a clear choice. Although, the 2.7L engine delivers great performance and towing that’s more than enough for most. Its smaller displacement also delivers better fuel economy making it a great choice for a daily driven truck.
Reliability between the two engines like isn’t a big factor. The 2.7 vs 3.5 EcoBoost each deliver good reliability, and the 2nd gen engines are a great improvement. All around, Ford has done an excellent job with these F-150 EcoBoost engines. Which one is right for you likely just comes down to your needs and wants.
Do you have a 2.7 or 3.5 EcoBoost? Which one are you considering?
Drop a comment and let us know!