– Detroit, Michigan
One of the perks to working in one of Detroit’s un-gentrified neighborhoods is that there aren’t too many people watching what happens on every block. That’s pretty handy if you’ve got a beefy, supercharged Roush F-150 at your disposal, for instance. Nobody will yell or glower if you shatter the silence with a roaring V8 and lay down faint trails of rubber on the road. And you thought trucks were only about towing.
With no factory-backed street-performance truck on offer from Ford – the Raptor is meant for sand dunes rather than suburbs – Roush engineers took it upon themselves to build a fast version of the F-150. Using lessons learned supercharging Ford Mustang V8 engines, Roush strapped a TVS blower atop the F-150’s 5.0-liter V8, reprogrammed the engine computer, bolted up a new exhaust, and proudly amplified the truck’s output to the tune of 600 horsepower and 557 pound-feet of fun.
- There’s more power available than anyone needs in an F-150. The truck’s already stout 5.0-liter V8 gains 215 hp and 170 lb-ft, which is especially impressive given Roush made no internal modifications to the engine. With that shove on tap instantly, half-throttle passing maneuvers are effortless, and running away from other traffic takes nary a second thought. Of course, all this power is still housed in a heavy, un-aerodynamic truck, so this isn’t as quick as, say, the company’s supercharged Mustangs. You never get ohmygod acceleration because you’re either spinning the rear tires or fighting a wall of aero drag, but it’s still certainly the quickest pickup I’ve ever driven.
- Ford sells roughly 60,000-70,000 pickup trucks per month; buy the Roush, and you’ll never mistake yours for someone else’s. The looks are polarizing: you’ll either think it’s the coolest truck around or the tackiest. Either way, there’s no mistaking the Roush for anything else. Chunky fender flares, an in-your-face grille, new decals and badges, and a massive Roush windshield banner announce to all around that this is something far more special than the standard Ford F-150 Sport on which it is based. In case you’re more about show than go, it’s worth noting that for only $11,000, Roush will deck out your F-150 with everything seen here except the engine mods.
- The biggest perk of going with a Roush vehicle is that it’s closer to a factory truck than an aftermarket toy. You don’t have to scramble around on your garage floor hoping mismatched parts will work together because Roush tests every component, even subjecting body parts and wheels to crash testing. Best of all, the F-150 comes with a three-year/36,000-mile warranty, so if anything goes wrong, you’re covered.
- Compared to the last time I drove this F-150, Roush engineers have sharpened up the automatic transmission programming. It’s now far more eager to drop a gear when you dip into the loud pedal, and shifts are faster and more aggressive. It gets even better when you put the transmission in Sport mode.
- If I were going to the dunes, I’d want my truck equipped with these cool 20-inch Roush wheels and Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ off-road tires. For street use, not so much. The tires thrum and wander on the highway, and don’t provide as much grip for accelerating or cornering as I want from anything with 600 horses.
- The new exhaust that peeks out behind the passenger-side rear wheel is certainly loud, but I’d like a bit more refinement. It roars and rumbles all the time, and its immense noise isn’t nearly as sweet to the ears as was the exhaust note of the Roush RS3 Mustang we recently tested. Fortunately, Roush says it’s working on making the multi-mode Active Exhaust we liked so much on the company’s Mustangs available on the F-150 SC; look for it to launch before the end of this year.
- Yeah, it’s pricey. The Ford F-150 Sport that forms the basis for this test car rings in at $56,210 with options, but that’s before Roush applies all its goodies to the mix. Paying $80,547 for a hopped-up pickup truck is not for everyone. Then again, think of it in terms of supply and demand: You’re paying for warranty coverage and the perk of owning one of the only 600-hp pickups on sale today.
Photos: Jake Holmes / Motor1.com
Gallery: 2016 Roush F-150: Review