Ford 2.0 EcoBoost Performance Upgrades
The 2.0 EcoBoost may not get as much recognition for its performance potential as it deserves. It’s often under the radar thanks to the larger 2.3, 2.7, and 3.5 EcoBoost engines. However, the Ford 2.0L turbo engine still delivers great performance from the factory. There’s also a lot of untapped power on the table. A few basic bolt-on upgrades can boost the 2.0 inline-4 to the next level; 300+whp is possible with a few simple mods. In this guide, we discuss some of the best bolt-on performance upgrades for the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost.
1st Gen vs 2nd Gen EcoBoost
Before diving in it’s important to discuss a few differences between 2.0 EcoBoost engines. In 2016, Ford began rolling out the 2nd gen EcoBoost engine in the Ford Edge. It then made its way into the Ford Escape, Fusion, and many other models. Due to a few updates it’s generally the more capable engine for tuning and modding. A few notable updates for the 2nd gen 2.0 EcoBoost include:
- Twin-scroll turbo
- New aluminum block
- Re-designed cylinder head
- Higher compression ratio
- Fueling upgrades
This isn’t an exhaustive list of changes between the 1st and 2nd gen engines. Many of these updates are to improve efficiency and low-end torque. However, they also help the 2nd gen 2.0 EcoBoost offer a bit more power with performance upgrades.
In general, with similar mods the 2nd gen engines will pick up more power and torque. It’s not a huge difference, but with full bolt-ons it may add up to 10-20whp. Both engines have plenty of potential with a few bolt-on upgrades. The point remains, though. If you’re looking for aftermarket potential the 2nd gen EcoBoost is probably the best bet.
Various Ford’s With the 2.0 EcoBoost
A few more quick notes before we move along to the actual performance upgrades for the 2.0 EcoBoost. The engine is in many Ford an Lincoln models, such as the Fusion, Escape, Edge, MKZ, MKC, etc. This article applies to all of these engines since they use the same 2.0L inline-4 turbo engine. Of course, less the 1st vs 2nd gen differences we discussed above.
In essence, this article applies to all Ford and Lincoln models with the 2.0 EcoBoost engines. However, not all parts fit all of the models and years. Ensure you double check fitment before moving forward with any upgrades. The Ford Fusion 2.0L EcoBoost is one of the more common cars to be upgraded and tuned, and likely has the best selection of aftermarket parts available.
5 Best 2.0 EcoBoost Upgrades
A few of the best 2.0 EcoBoost performance upgrades include:
These mods aren’t in any specific order of what you should do first. Everyone has varying views of which mods are best to start with. However, most will agree a tune is the best starting point. Nonetheless, outside of major mods, the above list is a good starting point to squeeze more power out of the 2.0 turbo engine.
We’ll break down the above 2.0L EcoBoost bolt-on upgrades in-depth throughout the rest of this article. We also provide useful about power gains, cost, and more. Hopefully this will help 2.0 EcoBoost owners where to start with modding their cars.
1) Ford 2.0 EcoBoost Tuner
A tune or tuner for the 2.0 EcoBoost is the foundation to making more power. It offers the best bang for the buck on an otherwise stock 2.0L turbo engine. A tune alone can offer gains around 20-50whp and 30-70wtq. Excellent power gains for the 2.0 EcoBoost, especially consider a tune only runs about $400-600.
Tunes also allow you to extract the full potential from other performance upgrades. Other bolt-on upgrades simply don’t offer max performance without the help of a tune. This is because a tune properly adjusts for the additional air-flow, fueling, etc.
Compared to some other EcoBoost engines the 2.0 doesn’t have a big selection of tuning options. However, there are still plenty out there. It’s important to look for a 2.0 EcoBoost tuner from a reputable and trusted company. Otherwise, which tune is right for each person can vary. Definitely consider a tune that has good support and room for swapping flashes/maps in the future, though.
Best 2.0L EcoBoost Tunes
Again, which tune is right for each person may be different and lots of tuning options exist. Nonetheless, we believe a few great tuner options for the 2.0 EcoBoost include:
- SCT X4
- JMS BoostMAX
We will have a guide in the near future for 2.0L EB tuning specifically since there’s a lot to cover. The above are tuner devices that have built in off-the-shelf (OTS) tunes. This is the standard starting point since you’ll need a device and means to actually flash the tune. In the future, you might consider custom 2.0 EcoBoost tuning options for better performance.
Again, we’ll cover this in-depth in an article soon and link to it here. Regardless, if you’re looking to add performance upgrades to your 2.0 EcoBoost a tune is an excellent starting point.
2.0 EcoBoost Tune Price: ~$400-600
2.0 EB Tuner HP Gains: 20-50whp (40-70wtq)
2) 2.0L EcoBoost Performance Intake Upgrades
Combining a tune and intake is a popular choice. It makes sense since adding boost and power requires more air-flow. However, the Ford 2.0 stock intake is actually pretty efficient from the factory. Small gains of 3-7 horsepower are possible with a 2.0 EcoBoost performance intake upgrade. It’s possible to pick up more power with full bolt-ons on an aggressive tune.
The stock intake can usually handle the air-flow demands with a conservative tune only and no other mods. In these cases the 2.0L EcoBoost might only gain a few horsepower. Biggest power gains from an intake upgrade will be seen by those running a tune, downpipes, FMIC, better fueling, etc.
That said, an upgraded intake does add some awesome turbo and induction noises. If not for the small power gains we think an intake is a good mod for the sounds too. An intake upgrade also adds an aesthetically pleasing aspect to the engine bay and is easy to install.
2.0 Inline-4 Open vs Closed Intakes
Performance intakes have many names. Some refer to them as performance intakes, cold air intakes, air filter upgrades, etc. On turbo cars, like the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost, we prefer to think of intakes as open or closed systems.
An open intake is simply open to the engine bay. Closed intake systems use an air-box and shield the filter inside the box. Open intakes do pull in slightly warmer air due to heat in the engine bay. However, that has little to no affect on a turbo engine. A lot of heat is generated by the turbos anyways. It’s then cooled by the intercooler. In essence, temperature at the intake has little to no effect on the intercoolers ability to cool the charge air.
Open intakes are our preference on turbo engines since they often provide more air-flow. They will also create more turbo and induction sounds. Ultimately, most intakes are going to provide the same performance on the 2.0L turbo EcoBoost engine. Look for something with a quality air filter from well-known companies like S&B or K&N.
2.0L Turbo Intake Price: ~$200-400
2.0 EcoBoost Intake HP Gains: ~3-7whp
3) Ford 2.0 EcoBoost Downpipe Upgrades
Downpipe (DP) upgrades are one of our favorite mods for any turbo engine. The downpipe bolts directly to the 2.0 EcoBoost turbocharger. It’s the most important part of the exhaust post-turbo. 2.0 EcoBoost downpipe performance upgrades will yield more power than any other part of the exhaust behind the turbo.
Back-pressure behind the turbo is not good for power or performance. The closer to the turbos the worse back-pressure becomes for power. A stock Ford 2.0L downpipe uses a bulky catalytic converter. Its good for emissions reasons, but not so much for performance.
Upgrading the 2.0 EcoBoost downpipe comes with many benefits outside of just horsepower. A few of those benefits are:
- 5-15whp (10-20wtq)
- Quicker turbo spool
- Safer/healthier for turbo and engine
- Louder exhaust
Power and torque gains from a DP upgrade are pretty solid. Quicker turbo spool will add more low-end torque and give you a bigger kick back into the seat. Additionally, reducing back-pressure is generally healthier for the engine. It can lower EGT’s and stress on the engine and turbo. Top that off with a louder exhaust – one that’s not obnoxiously loud – and its easy to see why an upgraded downpipe is a great mod for the 2.0L EcoBoost.
Ford 2.0L EB Catless vs High-Flow Catted DP
Again, the primary goal with a downpipe is to reduce back-pressure directly behind the turbo. That’s what helps to offer more power, quicker spool, lower EGT’s, etc. A catless downpipe will have the least restriction and therefore the least back-pressure. As such, 2.0 EcoBoost catless downpipes will add the most benefit to performance.
However, catless downpipes are technically illegal and produce a bit more of a raw exhaust smell. That’s where high-flow catted options come into play. They will still offer the same benefits as a catless downpipe. Simply to a slightly lesser extent. Expect a high-flow 2.0 EcoBoost downpipe to gain about 3-5whp less than a catless option.
Unfortunately, high-flow downpipes with cats can be quite a bit more expensive. Cats aren’t cheap to make which is the primary reason. Also – even though a high-flow DP should pass visual and actual emissions testing – the EPA still considers them illegal.
2.0 Inline-4 EcoBoost DP Price: ~$150-600+ (high-flow usually start at $500+)
2.0 EcoBoost Downpipe HP Gains: ~5-15whp (10-20wtq)
Best Focus ST 2.0 EcoBoost Downpipe
Due to the legal status of catless downpipes they can often be tough to find online from major brands. Those looking to upgrade their turbo and do other serious mods should likely opt for a catless DP. However, for most 2.0 EcoBoost owners, a high-flow catted downpipe is a great option. As such, we will stick to recommending our favorite Focus ST catted downpipe – CVF.
CV Fabrication (CVF) offers a few awesome performance upgrades for the Focus ST 2.0 EcoBoost. What we’re looking at here is the CVF 3″ stainless steel catted downpipe. The DP includes a 400 cell catalytic converter, so emissions testing shouldn’t be an issue. It’s mandrel bent and TIG welded with a flex section, so the quality of this downpipe is excellent. At $425 it’s among the cheapest catted ST downpipes around. Quality, great price, and good fitment – what more can you really ask for?
Ultimately, we’re big fans of all the products from CVF. We think it’s nearly impossible to find a better balance of price, quality, and performance. If you’re looking for a high-flow catted ST 2.0L downpipe then look no further. Use coupon code TUNINGPRO at checkout for 5% off!
Price: $425 ($403 with code TUNINGPRO)
Buy Here: Ford Focus ST 2.0 High-Flow CVF Downpipe
4) 2.0 Turbo Inline-4 FMIC Mods
Front mount intercoolers are another great bolt-on performance upgrade for the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost engine. The stock intercooler is effective on stock vehicles or with a very modest tune. However, start adding boost and the 2.0L FMIC quickly becomes overwhelmed.
In turn, the engine begins heat soaking as IAT’s climb above standard levels. Essentially, heat soak means the turbo is running so hot the intercooler can no longer effectively cool the charge air. In turn, the engine will pull ignition timing to prevent any pre-detonation (plus hot air is less dense). Point is – heat soak leads to quite a bit of power loss.
That said, an FMIC upgrade alone isn’t going to add too much peak horsepower. Rather, the biggest benefit is consistent performance and a healthier engine – especially during back-to-back pulls, track days, or canyon runs. Some benefits of 2.0 EcoBoost performance intercooler upgrades include:
- 5-10whp (similar torque)
- Consistent performance
- Reduced chance of pre-detonation
On glory runs an upgraded intercooler might only offer about 5-10whp, if that. However, after beating on the car and engine for a while it can prevent massive power loss. Losing 10, 20, 30whp on a stock intercooler isn’t impossible.
Best 2.0 EcoBoost Intercooler Upgrades
A few solid choices for upgraded FMIC’s on the Ford 2.0L turbo engine are:
- CVF Intercooler Upgrade (for Ford Focus ST)
- Steeda Front Mount Intercooler (for Ford Fusion)
- CX Racing FMIC (for Ford Escape)
As with the downpipe discussion, we really like CVF and they have a great intercooler for the Focus ST. It’s a great intercooler with proven results and supports up to 670hp. There are a lot more options that we simply don’t have the space to list. It’s a little complicated since the 2.0L Ford EcoBoost is in many different models and fitment varies. We’ll have an intercooler post in the near future so we can expand on the technical details and list a lot more options on the market.
Ford 2.0 EcoBoost FMIC Price: ~$400-700
2.0L Turbo FMIC HP Gains: 5-10whp (consistent performance – helps prevent power loss)
5) Ford 2.0L Fueling (E85, Race Gas, Methanol)
We won’t spend quite as much time on this topic, but it’s a very important one. Quality fueling is incredibly important if you want to maximize the 2.0 EcoBoost engines performance. It also helps reduce the chance of engine knocks along with many other benefits.
We highly recommend running 91 or 93 octane at the very least. If you have easy access to higher quality pump fuels then all the better. Turbo engines love octane since it helps mitigate the chance of engine knocks. That means you can safely run more boost and more power.
For those truly wanting to maximize power and engine health then you’ll want to consider E85 or methanol injection. Race gas is a solid option too, but we’ll skip that for now and focus on E85 and methanol injection.
2.0 EcoBoost E85 Fueling
What we ultimately recommend is running an E85 blend with the appropriate tune. Something like E30 fueling will offer notable benefits over standard pump fuels. Ethanol fuel has an incredibly high octane rating; somewhere in the ballpark of 108 octane with full E85. Of course, effective octane rating won’t be that high if you’re only running E30.
However, it’s still a huge improvement over 93 octane. E85 also burns much cooler and requires more fuel be injected. All of this adds up to a very happy engine that’s less prone to engine knocks. That means you can run more aggressive ignition timing and turn up boost, which means good power improvements for the 2.0 EcoBoost. E30 blends with a proper tune can unleash an extra 10-15+whp. A lot more power is possible with an upgraded turbo or other major upgrades.
Ford EcoBoost Methanol Injection
Methanol injection is another solid fueling option. It’s actually a totally different system, though, so we don’t recommend this for beginners. You’ll need a full water-methanol injection (WMI) kit like this option here. You also have to source methanol and mix it with the water. This is another topic we’ll expand on in the future.
Anyways, methanol is considered a highly flammable and high octane fuel. It offers similar benefits to E85, but has one major advantage. E85 puts a lot more demand on the fueling system. Since methanol runs off its own tank, pump, etc it actually reduces demand on the fuel system. Power gains are similar to that of running an E30 blend, if not a bit more.
How Much Power Can the 2.0 EcoBoost Make?
In the BMW world, the above mods are typically considered full bolt-on (FBO). Everyone has slightly different ideas of the term FBO, but we like to think of it as the above mods. On a turbo car a tune, intake, downpipe, FMIC, and quality fueling are typically the recipe for big power gains.
With all of these mods the Ford 2.0 EcoBoost is capable of about 300-320whp and 340-360wtq. That’s a good amount of power for a pretty small turbo engine. It’s also probably plenty of power for most. Of course, an upgraded turbo and other mods can take the 2.0 EcoBoost even further but that gets expensive. Turbo mods are expensive and then you start adding in fueling mods, internal upgrades, etc and costs skyrocket.
Ford 2.0 EcoBoost Performance Upgrades Summary
The 2.0L EcoBoost engine is often overshadowed by its larger siblings like the 2.7 and 3.5 twin turbo V6 EcoBoost engines. However, the 2.0 inline-4 still provides good performance and plenty of aftermarket potential. In fact, with a few bolt-on mods for less than $2,000 the 2.0 EcoBoost can make 300+whp and 350+wtq.
A tune is a great starting point for upgrading the 2.0 EcoBoost as it offers 20-50whp alone. It’s also the foundation for maximizing performance from other bolt-on mods. Downpipe and FMIC upgrades come with tons of benefits outside of just horsepower. Performance intake upgrades for the 2.0L EcoBoost are also a good choice, but don’t offer quite the same power as some of the other mods.
Finally, high-quality fueling is extremely important if you want to get the most out of the turbo inline-4. It’s a good idea to run 91 or 93 octane at the very least, but even that’s fairly poor fueling. E85, race gas, and water-methanol injection are all great fueling choices to take the 2.0 EcoBoost to the next level.
What’s your experience with modding the 2.0L EcoBoost? Are you considering any mods?
Drop a comment & let us know!