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2016 ROUSH F-150 SC A Hot Rod Pickup Review

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2016 ROUSH F-150 SC A Hot Rod Pickup

Review By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

The only thing better than a big new pickup is one with 600 horsepower dressed up in lots of off-road cred with flashy cosmetic embellishments and the roar of an untamed beast. Let’s take a look at, and get some driving impressions of this over-the-top Roush F-150.

Regular readers will know that I love trucks – the bigger the better. The newest versions of regular pickups from the Detroit Three are so good and so luxurious they seem to have nothing in common with the common work trucks of a few decades ago. Sure, you can still buy a relatively plain two-door work truck but that is such a small part of the market we hardly notice them. Most new pickups are dressed up, powered up and ready for prime time in every way.

This Roush F-150 is wild step beyond even the fancy pickups. Getting the Roush treatment means being massaged by a company infused with the chops of racing legend Jack Roush who once worked for Ford. Roush and his company are still tightly connected with Ford but he went off on his own many years ago to dominate a variety of racing series with his cars, teams and parts.

In this case the Roush engineers and designers created a sport truck with solid performance and off-road credentials plus enough cosmetic dressing to make it just about the most testosterone-laden hauler on the planet.

First, let’s talk about the engineering.

This lusty truck starts out life as a normal aluminum-bodied, Coyote 5.0-liter V8-powered pickup shipped from the nearby Dearborn Assembly Plant to the Roush Performance facility in Plymouth. That’s where the magic happens as it gets, among other things, fitted with the Roush R2300 Supercharger system that brings the horsepower up to 600 and torque to 557 pound-feet. Special Roush engine coil covers are added as well. The Roush dealer through which the truck is delivered can install a side-exhaust system. Our test truck also had the Roush Active Exhaust that allows us to change the exhaust note from loud to mighty loud to downright raucous with the turn of a dial on the console, or even via a smart phone app.

Expected fuel mileage was not listed. Perhaps the EPA is afraid of this one. We managed a good 15.5-mpg in spite of what we’ll euphemistically call our “spirited” driving style.

Then, the truck gets a lift kit, Fox performance suspension upgrades including 3.0-inch Fox Racing Shox ™, Mickey Thompson 20-inch black wheels and Mickey Thompson Baja ATZ 305/55 knobby tires. Roush engineers determined that the Ford six-speed automatic transmission and standard 4-wheel drive and low range components were plenty robust to handle all the above-referenced horsepower and torque over whatever terrain the owner may encounter.

Just so no one will mistake this for a run-of-the-mill F-150 the enthusiastic designers at Roush embellish just about every exterior surface with their own dress-up stuff like: unique-to-Roush grille and tailgate graphics, special black fender flairs, accent lighting, hood graphics, hitch cover, optional soft tonneau cover, windshield banner and optional “splash” graphic on bed sides.

This is not the truck to drive if you don’t want to be noticed. Going down the road I can almost hear it screaming, “look at me!” And, it garnered a great deal of attention at our local Tuesday evening cruise-in at the Olympic Broil drive-in. All these eclectic car guys and gals wanted to know all about it and gasped as they peeked under the hood.

Inside the Roush F-150 gets limited unique treatment with just special floor mats by WeatherTech® and console badge. Oh, and that little knob on the console that controls the roar. The rest of the big cabin is just as Ford makes it and you can specify how fancy you want to get. Ford does a mighty fine job of designing and executing one of the best interiors you’ll find in any truck, right down to the shifter for the six-speed automatic transmission that is so big and meaty I can barely get my big fist around it.

Ok – now to the good stuff – driving impressions.

My pretty wife went with me to pick up the F-150 inside the Roush Performance shop where it is brought to life – transformed from a modern, competent, comfortable pickup to this barely civilized, raucous attention-getter. After a brief walk-around with the marketing gal and engineering guy we climbed high into the interior. (Good thing it comes with grab handles and running boards.) With a gentle push of the “Start” button the truck burst to life with a thunder and a V8 burble at idle. The Active Exhaust, I think, was adjusted to full roar. Looking around the well-appointed interior with lots of stitched leather and other up-scale materials, we made our mirror and other adjustments and were ready to roll out the narrow door. Sitting so high, putting my hand to that thick padded shifter and guiding the beast out the narrow door provided a feeling or power and invincibility.

Road manners, as you might expect, are a bit rough. She’s stiff and jumpy but not so harsh as to negate her potential as a daily driver. The drone of the aggressive exhaust might get tedious on a long drive but we found it exhilarating most of the time. The truck began to skitter sideways on a bumpy dirt road we encountered but came easily back to center with proper steering input. Notwithstanding the exhaust note the F-150’s cabin is remarkably quiet. We barely hear the gentle thrum of the Mickey Thompson Baja tires.

The Roush F-150 comes with a 3-year or 36,000-mile warranty.

How do you get one?

Just find a Roush dealer, – - usually a Ford dealership with this special franchise. Then go take a look.

First, spec out the basic truck you want from Ford. Then you’ll decide what level of Roush massaging you want. In addition to the cost of the truck, the Roush costs will range from $11,100 for the special treatment without the supercharger and a few other tidbits to the full-zoot SC, like our tester, costing about $23,600 beyond the truck cost.

By comparison, the new Ford Raptor with similar chassis enhancements but powered by a twin-turbo ExoBoost V6 with around 450 horsepower mated to a 10-speed automatic transmission will cost around $50,000.

Both certainly are great trucks with similar personalities. Wish I had them side-by-side.

Since I didn’t get a chance to give it much of an off-road test the good folks at Roush promised me more time with their F-150 later. We have an off road park not far away. Can’t wait for that experience as well.