The Roush Performance name is typically associated with the Ford Mustang. However, for several years Roush has also participated in the performance market for the number one selling pickup in the United States, the Ford F-150. Like the Mustang, Roush can increase the performance, handling, and style of an F-150, and potential buyers can pluck one off the lot of any Roush authorized Ford dealership.
This is the highest performance truck we’ve ever built in terms of horsepower and capability. -Justin Schroeder, Roush Performance
Schroeder was quick to point out in our interview that the Roush F-150 is not a Raptor replacement, or a substitute for hardcore enthusiasts looking for the extreme capability of the Raptor. Instead, he says, this is a truck for enthusiasts who see occasional off-road time, like the occasional trail ride, trip to a secluded campsite, hunting, or fishing location. The truck is extremely trail capable, but Schroeder says it’s not the extreme Baja racing machine that the Raptor was designed to be. “If you want to race across the desert at 100 miles per hour and jump obstacles, you’ll need to get a Raptor. The Roush F-150 is certainly a performance truck, but it’s geared towards street and lighter off-road use than the Raptor.”
Raptor comparisons aside, the new Roush package packs plenty to talk about, beginning with what’s under the hood. While you can get a Roush F-150 package on both the V8 and EcoBoost models, it’s the supercharged V8 version we’re most interested in. Cranking out 600 horsepower thanks to a Roush supercharger based on the Eaton TVS 2.3-liter rotor pack, and a new Roush side exit exhaust system, this pickup will leave a lot of musclecars behind at the stop light.
This package is more than just slapping a supercharger and exhaust system on a truck and calling it a day. Roush builds these trucks pre-title. That means that Roush becomes the manufacturer of origin, responsible for all of the warranty aspects, as well as safety certification, and more. Just like the Mustangs that Roush builds, the F-150 undergoes months of rigorous durability testing and verification, not only by Roush but by third party testing organizations as well.
“We had to tune everything from the engine package, to the suspension to work together. The research and development process took over a year,” Schroeder says. That process included putting engines on the dyno to test for durability and reliability, as well as emissions. On the street, brute force was everyone’s favorite, but putting a package together that maintained OEM level drivability and comfort for part-throttle and low speed cruising, was also important. Handling was also tested on the skid pad as well as off-road. The trucks were even sent to hot, cold, and high altitude climates and tested under extreme temperatures and conditions similar to the proving work done by Ford on all its models.
Under the truck, Roush spent as much time as it did developing the supercharger kit and engine calibration. Fox 2.0 shocks are used at all four corners, and the truck has been leveled in the front, bringing the nose up approximately two inches. This not only increases off-road capability, but it gives the truck a lifted appearance without performing major suspension surgery. The shocks are internal reservoir models and are not adjustable, however as Schroeder points out, “These are a high-performance Fox product, and while you could upgrade, we think once you experience the truck on, or off-road, and how it handles in both situations, you’ll probably agree that this is the right shock for this truck.”
Altering the suspension also meant tuning and testing the chassis. “We’ve driven this truck extensively on and off-road. We rented some off-road parks and took trucks out for off-road test drives. We’ve had our testing engineers spend countless hours in the trucks. We even had Jack Roush, Jr. take the truck out and do some testing. It’s been tested from the bottom to the top of the company by Roush employees,” Schroeder says.
Rather than rely only on the original F-150 wheels and tires, Roush teamed up with Mickey Thompson to provide not only the tires, but a tire and wheel package. We first saw them together at the 2015 SEMA show. The 20-inch wheels feature unique Roush center caps, and are based off the Mickey Thompson Metal Series MM-366 wheel. Rather than simply slap a set of wheels on the truck, Roush took them through the same OEM level testing it applies to all its wheels for breaking, corrosion, side impact, and performance.
Those 20-inch wheels are also wrapped in Mickey Thompson rubber, and the Baja ATZ P3 tires in 305/55R20. “We spent considerable time testing the tires, and the Baja ATZ provides excellent off-road capability without being noisy or harsh on the street,” Schroeder says.
To distinguish the truck from any other F-150 on the road, Roush adds its own appearance package that includes Roush graphics, a unique new grille and front bumper, and new fender flares with marker lights. “We worked very hard after the 2017 Raptor reveal last year to make sure our truck was easily distinguishable from the Raptor, and so that the Roush F-150 won’t be confused with the new Raptor,” Schroeder says.
Roush will build as many F-150s as the market demands for 2016. It is emissions certified in the 39 states that don’t follow CARB emissions guidelines. Schroeder says that Roush is working to have the 2017 model certified for every state in the U.S.
All Roush F-150s carry a three-year or 36,000-mile powertrain warranty, even the supercharged models. If for some reason a 600 horsepower truck isn’t enough for you, Roush does offer a Phase 2 Package. Schroeder says this upgrade will crank up the power another 50 ponies to 650, but it will also void the powertrain warranty.
The supercharged Roush F-150 package carries a MSRP of $22,600 on top of the cost of whatever trim level F-150 a customer cares to build from. The only additional options are a splash graphics package and bedliner. Active exhaust and a few other accessories are still in the development phases, but those options could always be installed by owners later.
We had to tune everything from the engine package, to the suspension to work together. The research and development process took over a year.
The pricing puts this truck in a premium category, but then again, for the money, can you think of another current production pickup that will run head to head with almost any stock musclecar on the street and take you camping, fishing, or just out for a fun ride on the weekends for this price? Consider that building such a truck on your own, including the labor, would cost nearly the same amount, and you won’t get the warranty or the OEM level testing and certification that Roush offers.
Schroeder says deliveries of the first 2016 Roush F-150s should begin this March. We’re hoping to get invited to a test drive later this year.