Ford has two very similar 3.5-liter V6 engines that do very different things. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost and PowerBoost offerings are both similar, yet dissimilar because of hybridization. Ford calls the new EcoBoost hybrid engine PowerBoost. Otherwise, they’re the same basic engines and internals, with twin-turbocharging.
Has Ford made improvements to the EcoBoost V6 engine?
Ford upgraded the EcoBoost engine in 2017 to help eliminate carbon buildup in the intake passages and on intake valves. To do this it added port injection, which aids in flushing out the carbon impurities.
For turbocharger lag, it added an electrically activated wastegate valve. This redirects the exhaust away from the turbine wheel which aids in regulating boost. Peak torque came on faster now. Also, to increase durability and decrease chain stretch, stronger timing chains (there are two-one for each bank of cylinders) were new. Ford increased the compression to 10.5:1.
Since then the 3.5-liter EcoBoost has continued to be a strong performer in the F-150 and other Ford and Lincoln models. But everything is going electric, and to capitalize on that transition, Ford began developing a hybrid version of the V6.
So, what is PowerBoost?
In 2021 Ford added a 35-kW electric motor in conjunction with the EcoBoost engine. A 1.5-kWh lithium-ion battery stores the added power. Now called PowerBoost, combined with the 47 hp electric motor and 10-speed automatic transmission, F-150 trucks could cruise at 10 mph in electric mode only. Above that the internal combustion 3.5 kicks in.
Instantly, reporters and also previous EcoBoost owners could feel the difference the hybrid system added. Quicker response, smooth operation, and more torque improved the EcoBoost’s attributes. Now, let’s compare specs.
What are the torque differences between EcoBoost and PowerBoost?
Both EcoBoost and PowerBoost are rated at 400 hp. For comparison, so is Ford’s 5.0-liter V8. But the V8 has 410 lb-ft of torque. The EcoBoost V6 comes in with 500 lb-ft of torque, and the best figures are for the PowerBoost engine. It is rated at 570 lb-ft of torque.
If capacity is what you need, then the EcoBoost engine wins this category. It has a capacity of 14,000 lbs, versus the PowerBoost’s 12,700 lbs. The Ford small-block V8 comes in with 13,000 lbs as a comparison.
If less money at the pump is your goal, then the PowerBoost has this category. Mileage figures for it are 25 mpg in the City, and 26 mpg on the Highway. Second is the EcoBoost, with 18 mpg City and 24 mpg Highway.
PowerBoost tops Ford’s F-150 engines
So it is easy to see that the full-hybrid PowerBoost V6 gained in almost every category over its earlier non-hybrid EcoBoost engines. Besides these two engines, there is the aforementioned 5.0-liter V8, a 3.3-liter Ti-VCT V6, and a 2.7-liter twin-turbocharged EcoBoost V6.
Those are the differences in a nutshell. While we once scoffed at the thought of a V6 engine in a full-size pickup, you can see from the numbers that almost every specification is topped with the PowerBoost V6.