Editor’s note: The 1980s was a transition period for engine technology in America. The iconic carburetor gave way to fuel injection. Cubic inches were out, and liter designations marked a new era for engines — one when power and fuel economy were no longer mutually exclusive. This modern engine age has featured some of the best innovation, technology, and performance yet.

So what have been the best powerplants of these last 30 years? We asked you to help us answer that very question via Facebook and Instagram. Factoring in your votes and comments, we’ll unveil the Top 10 over the next couple of weeks.


#8 – Ford EcoBoost

Ford forced American performance enthusiasts to at least reconsider the old “there’s no replacement for displacement” adage when it introduced the EcoBoost engine family.

Introduced for the 2011 model year, EcoBoost engines come in a variety of four- and six-cylinder sizes (and even three-cylinder) and are available on everything from the compact Focus to the workhorse F-150. Popular sizes include the 3.5L V6, 2.7L V6, 1.6L I4, and a 2.3L offered in the S550 Mustang. Each one of these engines incorporates a common set of characteristics: turbocharging and direct injection.

The combination of turbocharging and direct injection results in more airflow and pin-point fuel delivery. Using the greater air volume from the turbocharger and increased fuel efficiency from direct injection, the compact EcoBoost engine creates power on par with larger, naturally aspirated engines while achieving much better fuel economy in most applications. Plus, the pin-point fuel delivery of the direct injection design fosters a reduced amount of “greenhouse emissions.”

You want to do more with less?

Enter the twin-turbo 3.5L EcoBoost V6 which will make more than 600 horsepower on the new Ford GT supercar, more torque than the 5.0L V8 on the F-150, and will reportedly help the 2017 Raptor make more power than the current model’s 411-horsepower 6.2L V8.

Or how about the EcoBoost Mustang? In case you missed it, the spunky 2.3L, outfitted with only a subframe kit, half-shaft kit, driveshaft loops, custom exhaust, roll cage, bucket seat, and Ford Racing engine calibration, registered a 12.56-second pass in testing.

When six-cylinder engines make more power than eight-cylinder engines, and four-cylinder engines make more power than six-cylinder engines, everything we think we know changes.

Which is why the EcoBoost finds itself on this list.

Because with it, Ford changed everything.

Top Modifications

If you own an EcoBoost engine, there are aftermarket parts available to add even more giddy up to your Ford. According to Summit Racing, here are some of the more popular items for the 3.5L version:

And here are some for the 2.3L version:

Author: Matt Griswold

After a 10-year newspaper journalism career, Matt Griswold spent another decade writing about the automotive aftermarket and motorsports. He was part of the original OnAllCylinders editorial team when it launched in 2012.