3.5 EcoBoost vs 5.0 Coyote

3.5 EcoBoost vs 5.0 Coyote: Which Ford F-150 Engine Is Best?

Would-be Ford F-150 buyers are faced with a common dilemma – should they get a 3.5 EcoBoost V6 vs an old-school 5.0 Coyote V8? On paper, there’s a huge difference in price, displacement, and cylinder count. Although, thanks to modern engine design and tech, these new smaller V6 engines are, in many cases, far superior compared to the classic V8.

A classic V8 has been a go-to choice to power pickup trucks for many people for quite a long time. The experience of raw power and torque, with the added benefit of the sound of a naturally aspirated engine, is the perfect recipe for a big truck. However, this all changed when Ford introduced its 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 engine for the F150, offering much of the same.

But, the EcoBoost was more fuel efficient and just as (if not, more) powerful than its bigger brother, the 5.0 Coyote V8. The 3.5-liter twin-turbo engine is practical and more powerful for day-to-day use, and as an enthusiast, it doesn’t fail to put a smile on your face. So, between two absolutely fantastic engines – the 3.5 EcoBoost vs the 5.0 Coyote – which one is best?

Ford F-150 5.0 Coyote V8 vs 3.5 EcoBoost V6

Here are some of the more common differences you need to consider between the 5.0 Coyote V8 vs the 3.5 EcoBoost V6:

1. Price

One of the main differences between these engines is the cost. Even though the EcoBoost has two fewer cylinders and has a smaller displacement, the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 variant of the Ford F-150 is still the more expensive engine. Even though there are several advantages to buying the 3.5, the price was a huge factor for people opting for the tried and tested V8.

There is a significant difference between the price of these engines, and even in the second-hand market, you can get an F-150 with the 5.0 V8 for cheaper in comparison to the 3.5 V6. The fact that there are only two variants of the F150 present that use the 3.5-liter engine, is the reason why people are more inclined towards the old-school V8 that is loved by everyone.

3.5 EcoBoost vs 5.0 Coyote

2. Performance & Towing Capacity

There wasn’t a huge power difference between these two engines when their respective first-generation engines came out, but over the decade, these engines have been refined and upgraded to produce more power and be more efficient on the road. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost (second-generation High Output variant) is capable of producing more power and torque than the 5.0 V8.

The 3.5 is only available in two variants of the F150, which produce about 450 horses and 510 LB/FT of torque. On the other hand, the 5.0 produces 395 horses and 400 LB/FT of torque. In fact, the twin-turbocharged V6 EcoBoost has a higher towing capacity than the naturally aspirated V8; around 14,000lbs compared to 13,000lbs. If you need to tow, get the 3.5 EcoBoost.

3. Fuel Economy (MPG)

Despite producing more power, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 also gives amazing gas mileage. The 3.5 EcoBoost gives a gas mileage of 18 MPG in the city and 23 MPG on the highway. On the other hand, the 5.0-liter V8 Coyote gives a gas mileage of 17 MPG in the city and 22 MPG on the highway. Not a huge variation, but enough to make a difference.

On top of that, the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 engine does have some extra features like Flex-Fuel capability, giving the 3.5 EcoBoost an edge over the 5.0 Coyote. This is mostly thanks to the 3.5 EcoBoost’s clever engineering and design, as Ford relies on its turbocharging system to crank out more power, but remain hugely fuel efficient. You could even get a hybrid with the F-150 now, too.

4. Reliability & Common Issues

Ford’s cars and engines are generally pretty reliable and dependable, which bodes well for owners in the long term. The EcoBoost V6 is no exception. The aforementioned 3.5-liter powertrain has been around for a decade and no major red flags have been noted about this engine. Still, when compared to the naturally aspirated 5.0 Coyote V8, the 3.5 has more moving parts.

This alone makes it more likely to have a bad part and might cause problems. The most common issues with the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 on the F-150 are the carbon build-up on the intake valves, as well as timing chain failures. However, recent updates that were made to the later 3.5 EcoBoost V6 engines have mostly mitigated and solved these two problems for most people.

There are still other problems to be wary of with the 3.5 EcoBoost V6, such as cam phaser rattle, excessive spark plug & ignition coil wear, intercooler condensation, turbocharger failures, and more. Meanwhile, the generally more reliable 5.0 Coyote V8 isn’t invincible either, as it too can suffer from issues such as throttle body failures, cracked exhaust manifolds, water pump failure, spark plug ejection, and more.

5. Maintenance & Servicing

The V8 engine has been a part of the F150 lineup since the 1950s. It is way less complicated to work on the 5.0-liter Coyote engine rather than a 3.5-liter EcoBoost. The V8 is one of the most common engines that are available in the United States. As such, any part of this engine can be easily replaced because of its wide availability.

Along with that, the V8 is such a common engine that any problem can be solved at a cheap price. So practically, it is easier to maintain a V8. Otherwise, servicing and maintaining a 3.5 liter EcoBoost requires that you need to work your way around the twin-turbocharger, countless electronics, and more, which makes it harder to service or maintain DIY.

6. Technology & Features

When delving into the world of engines, advancements in technology can’t be overlooked. The 3.5-liter EcoBoost, with its twin-turbocharged setup, gives users an extra edge when it comes to immediate power delivery. The turbochargers ensure that there’s minimal turbo lag, resulting in prompt throttle responses.

This makes it especially effective in situations that require quick bursts of speed or rapid acceleration. On the contrary, the 5.0 Coyote V8 relies on natural aspiration, providing a more linear power delivery curve. Although it doesn’t have the sharpness of the twin-turbo setup, many drivers appreciate the predictability and smoother power progression that the V8 offers.

Moreover, the V8 has variable camshaft timing, optimizing performance across a broad power band. The choice becomes a matter of personal preference; do you lean towards modern tech or traditional raw power? Either way, you really can’t go wrong with just how much engineering Ford put toward either engine.

7. Sound Profile & Exhaust Note

For many automotive enthusiasts, the roar of an engine can make or break their driving experience. The 5.0 Coyote V8 boasts that classic, throaty rumble that’s been a staple of American trucks and muscle cars. For those who enjoy an unmistakable growl under the hood, the V8 becomes an obvious choice.

In contrast, the 3.5 EcoBoost V6 has a different sonic profile. While it lacks the deep bass of the V8, it does offer a more refined, modern sound that’s characterized by the whine of the turbos. For some, this provides a futuristic touch, signaling the melding of performance with technological evolution.

3.5 EcoBoost vs 5.0 Coyote

8. Environmental Considerations

Emissions and environmental considerations have become significant concerns for car owners and automakers. While both engines adhere to necessary regulations, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, with its smaller displacement and advanced tech, generally emits fewer greenhouse gases than its V8 counterpart. This is crucial for those who prioritize eco-friendly choices in their vehicles.

Furthermore, the direct fuel injection in the EcoBoost can lead to a more complete combustion process, further minimizing pollutants. While the V8 offers an undeniably robust performance, those looking for a greener alternative might lean toward the V6.

9. Resale Value

Resale value can be a defining factor for many potential buyers. Historically, vehicles fitted with V8 engines have maintained a slightly better resale value, mainly due to their widespread appeal and the romanticism attached to V8s in the American psyche. Plus, for long-term dependability and robustness, the Coyote V8 is less problem-prone than the EcoBoost V6.

However, as times change and technology evolves, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost’s reputation has been on the rise. Increasingly, users appreciate the blend of power and efficiency it offers, which could potentially increase its resale value in the coming years. On the other hand, the rarity of a big V8 could still keep its resale value high in the used market.

10. Weight & Balance

The physical weight and dimensions of an engine can influence a vehicle’s handling and balance. Typically, the 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 is lighter than the 5.0-liter Coyote V8, which can result in a slightly better weight distribution in the vehicle, potentially leading to improved handling and agility. This won’t matter much for most pickup truck owners, but it can in some regard.

A lighter front end could mean reduced wear on components like brakes and tires. This could help a lot in long-term running costs. Conversely, the heft of the V8 provides a grounded feel, which some drivers prefer for stability, especially at high speeds. But, for off-roading, the lighter V6 ought to be easier to maneuver around and trek over rough terrain.

11. Aftermarket Modifications

One area that enthusiasts often explore is the world of aftermarket modifications. The 5.0 Coyote V8, being a part of the muscle and tuner culture for years, has a vast array of aftermarket parts available. This means those looking to enhance performance, sound, or appearance have an expansive catalog of options to choose from, even for a more practical truck like the F-150.

On the other hand, the 3.5 EcoBoost, given its relatively newer introduction and technologically complex setup, doesn’t have as extensive a range of aftermarket options. However, the ones that do exist, like performance tuners, are designed to squeeze out more power and efficiency from the engine.

The choice here boils down to tradition vs. technology: do you prefer customization with a rich history or the cutting-edge possibilities of a newer engine?

12. Warm-Up & Cool-Down

Given the turbocharged nature of the 3.5 EcoBoost, it’s generally advisable for users to allow a short warm-up period before driving aggressively, and similarly, a brief cool-down period post-driving. This ensures the turbochargers and engine components experience less wear and prolong their lifespan.

In contrast, the naturally aspirated 5.0 Coyote V8 is less finicky about warm-ups and cool-downs. Although it’s always good practice to warm up any engine before hard driving, the V8 isn’t as demanding in this aspect. This goes to show where the 3.5 EcoBoost and the 5.0 Coyote engines respectively bring distinct attributes to the table.

3.5 EcoBoost Pros And Cons

For many years, the pickup truck segment has been changing drastically. They want to introduce lighter, more powerful, stronger, and more efficient trucks in all key areas. The F150 has been able to dominate this market for a very long time and any Ford enthusiast would never change their Ford with a Chevy or a Dodge.

When Ford introduced the 3.5-liter EcoBoost, the enthusiasts were a little skeptical, but after about a decade in the market, the Ecoboost engine performed better than expected, even compared to the popular 5.0 Coyote V8. Even though the EcoBoost like every other engine has its pros and cons, the engine has surprised everyone.

3.5 EcoBoost Pros

  • Just like the 5.0 V8, the Ecoboost almost produces the same amount of horsepower and torque while giving better fuel economy in a half-a-ton pickup.
  • People who buy the F150 for offroad purposes, work, and towing purposes are very happy with their F150 because of the low RPM torque.
  • The EcoBoost engine is relatively quiet due to a V6 engine under the hood.
  • The twin-turbo system is a very good option for someone who likes the instant acceleration and sound of a turbo.

3.5 EcoBoost Cons

  • The downfall of the 3.5 EcoBoost is that it has to rely upon forced induction to create most of its power. A problem with the turbos can cause a huge power drop while driving the truck.
  • The EcoBoost uses extra components that go through wear and tear over time. This causes more maintenance for owners down the road.
  • For purists, the raw sound of the V8 will not be present.
  • The 3.5 EcoBoost V6 is more expensive vs the 5.0 Coyote V8 engine.
  • Excess carbon build-up on the 3.5 EcoBoost is a common problem faced by the owners. It may cause power loss and misfires. This has been fixed in the newer iterations, but older ones still suffer from carbon build-up issues.

5.0 Coyote Pros And Cons

Folks are traditionally accustomed to having a big torquey V8 under the hood of their Ford truck since the early 1950s. As the F150 evolved, so did the V8 that came with it. The V8 has had its fair share of triumphs and downfalls. The Coyote isn’t an exception. Here is a list of pros and cons that will help you make your decision about the 5.0 Coyote V8 vs the 3.5 EcoBoost V6.

5.0 Coyote Pros

  • Unlike the EcoBoost, the Coyote engine uses all-American muscle and modern engine technology to create power and torque in a naturally aspirated capacity.
  • The owner has to worry about fewer parts that can go bad, and the Coyote is an engine familiar to most mechanics and technicians, which makes maintenance easy and cheaper.
  • The experience of raw power and torque that goes well with a big American V8 is always a net positive.

5.0 Coyote Cons

  • Tunability is an issue to a certain degree, and it remains somewhat limiting. It depends on what you are planning to do with your F150.
  • From the factory, the 5.0 Coyote creates a significant amount of less torque than the EcoBoost does, therefore it cannot tow or haul as much.
  • The EcoBoost has better fuel economy and efficiency than the 5.0 Coyote V8.


  • Michael Fennelly Says

    The redesigned 3.5L Ecoboost’s are said to be free from the carbon on the valves issue. They are now port fuel injected and the gas now washes over the intake valves cleaning them along the way providerd people use Tier 1 gasoline. At the same time the timing chain was redesigned so that is no longer an issue. Please respond as I have included my e-mail. Thank you,

    • Hi there, Michael Fennelly!

      Thanks for the comment! Indeed, as of the recent updates Ford made to the 3.5 EcoBoost, the carbon buildup issue is far reduced. It still happens though, but only after a long while (estimated at around the 200-250k mile threshold), so it ought to make long-term maintenance and servicing way easier and less problematic.

  • selina Says

    Will 3.5 twin turbo tow as much if not more than the 5.0? Also, will it be more fuel efficient than the 5.0?

    • Hi there, Selina!

      While the 3.5 EcoBoost (non-hybrid) is a smaller engine, displacement-wise and cylinder-wise, the tow capacity is actually better than the 5.0 V8 – 14,000lbs vs 13,000lbs. The MPGs are slightly better with the 3.5 EcoBoost too; 18/23 MPG vs 17/22 MPG, city/highway.

  • Craig Says

    I noticed that too!

  • Chris Says

    Can e15 (88 octane)gas be used in the 2nd generation 3.5 ecoboost?

    • The use of E15 (88 octane) gasoline in the 2nd generation 3.5 EcoBoost engine, commonly found in vehicles like the Ford F-150, should be approached with caution. Generally, EcoBoost engines are designed to be flexible with fuel types, often capable of running on regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 or higher. However, E15 fuel contains 15% ethanol, a higher ethanol content than the more common E10 gasoline.

      Here are some considerations:

      Manufacturer’s Recommendations: Always refer to the vehicle’s owner’s manual for specific fuel recommendations. Manufacturers typically specify the type of fuel that is best for the engine’s performance and longevity.

      Ethanol Effects: Higher ethanol content in fuel can lead to issues in engines not designed for it. Ethanol can be more corrosive and may affect rubber seals and other components in the fuel system.

      Octane Rating: The octane rating of E15 (88) is generally acceptable for most modern engines designed for regular unleaded gasoline. However, the specific tuning and design of the EcoBoost engine should be considered.

      Warranty Considerations: Using a fuel type that is not recommended by the manufacturer can potentially void the warranty if it leads to engine damage.

      Performance and Efficiency: While EcoBoost engines are designed to be efficient with turbocharging and direct fuel injection, the use of E15 may slightly alter performance or fuel efficiency due to the different combustion characteristics of ethanol-blended fuels.

      For the 2nd generation 3.5 EcoBoost specifically, if there’s no explicit approval from Ford for E15 use, it’s safer to stick to E10 or regular unleaded gasoline. If E15 is approved, it should be used with the understanding that there may be some differences in performance and engine wear over time. Always prioritize the guidelines provided by the vehicle manufacturer to ensure optimal performance and to avoid any potential issues with the vehicle.

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