We are in the midst of an off-road pickup craze, from the powerful Ford F-150 Raptor to the unique Jeep Gladiator. But it’s not just OEMs getting in on the game, aftermarket companies are cashing in on off-road upgrades, including Roush, which has an upgrade package for the 2020 Ford Ranger.
Visual upgrades are plentiful, and the looks do their best to make the Ranger look like a Raptor. You immediately notice the radiator grille with the large “ROUSH” logo in the center instead of “FORD”. And instead of amber marker lights, two sets of LED running lights are mounted in the top of the grille. The fenders get dark metallic painted flares that add a bit of width, and there are Raptor-esque LED markings on the rear. Roush adds a few graphics to the truck and some red-painted tow bars. Inside, Roush fits custom diamond-stitched leather upholstery, Roush logo on the instrument panel, WeatherTech carpet, a custom key fob and a large badge on the dashboard.
As for mechanical upgrades, they’re pretty mild. The 18-inch Roush wheels are fitted with 32-inch all-terrain tires. The truck sits on Fox 2.0 shocks with matching Roush springs, which make the ride height equal to the Ford Performance leveling kit. Roush also adds its own cat-back exhaust that adds noise but gives no power to the Ranger’s otherwise standard 2.3-liter four-cylinder turbocharger. All added parts are warranted for three years / 36,000 miles.
We only had a few hours with the Roush Ranger so our ride was completely on the street. And as you’d expect from the mod list, it doesn’t really drive any different from a regular Ranger. The suspension appears to be better tuned than the standard Ford FX4 off-road suspension as it is smoother and better under control over bumps. It doesn’t add any more body roll and the steering is still quite accurate with some mild feedback. However, there is not much grip on the road, compared to Rangers with less aggressive off-road tires. As for the exhaust, it has a four-cylinder grunt, but it’s quite loud when throttling, and it can boom in the mid-rev range. Fortunately, it is very quiet when you drive on the highway.
The rest of the truck is just like any Ranger. The turbo engine responds quickly and has great torque in the low and mid range. The transmission is just average, shifts relatively smoothly, but not fast. The cabin is fairly quiet, although it feels a bit small and the plastic feels cheap. Roush’s diamond-stitched leather seats are a nice improvement, although it would have been nice to see Roush do a little more to brighten up the interior. The exterior is a nice balance between more butch elements such as the grille and subtle changes such as the fender flares.
The problem is, these mild upgrades cost a lot. The basic package is $ 12,750, which is then added to the cost of the truck to be converted. Our test sample was based on a Ranger XLT Crew Cab with a base MSRP of $ 42,515. In addition to the standard Roush package, Roush fitted optional extras including a $ 1,800 bed cover, front and rear locking boxes costing $ 400 each, and a $ 250 off-road utility. All-in, the truck was priced at $ 57,980. That price could go higher as Roush has a variety of other options, including a cargo management system, a chase rack with LED light bars, and additional side stripes. And of course you could specify an even more expensive basic truck to have it converted.
Coincidentally, our test truck costs about $ 2,000 more than a Ford F-150 Raptor, which starts at $ 55,150. And the Raptor is a bigger truck, with much more power and off-road capability. Now not everyone wants a bigger truck, but you can get more performance and still pay less money by upgrading your Ranger with official Ford parts. We managed to equip a Ranger XLT SuperCrew 4×4 very similar to our test Roush truck. It included fender vents, exterior graphics, large fender flares, a retractable bed cover, floor mats, cat-back exhaust and the Ford Performance Package 2 with Fox shocks, matching springs, blue tow bars, off-road all-terrain tires, and an engine tune that boosts output at 315 horsepower and Brings 370 pound-feet of torque. Total price? $ 48,075. There may be some minor costs involved in installing the performance package, but probably not enough to eclipse the Roush test truck. It lacks the Roush’s diamond-stitched leather seats, lock boxes and 18-inch wheels, but you could fix all that with the money saved and have a more powerful truck.
So there’s nothing wrong with the Roush Ranger, it just doesn’t seem like a good price. But if you really like the look and name Roush, it’s a perfectly pleasant, albeit pricey, pick-me-up.