Without the Lightning around, the Roush F-150 is the hottest Ford pickup
you can buy at a dealership (that is, select dealerships that carry Roush
products). Of course, you can always take your F-150 to a noted Ford tuner
like Kenny Brown or Steeda. Total cost for our test truck was just under
$50,000. Considering that the base price for a Dodge SRT-10 is about $45,000,
and you could get the old Lightning for around $34,000, the Roush truck
is a pricey route to late-model performance. But the quality control and
fit ‘n’ finish are top-notch, and the truck has a spirited
manner not always found on other so-called sport trucks. Plus, all the
modifications are covered by warranty.
There is little doubt in my mind that Jack Roush has a passion for performance
trucks. I remember talking to him about different truck styles and trends
in the early ‘90s at his Michigan shop. The new F-150 isn’t
an easy vehicle to modify. Its bulk stifles performance and its mass makes
it difficult to achieve a streamlined appearance. So it’s understandable
that the Lightning project could have been struggling. But Jack’s
crew pumped out more than 400 horsepower from an engine rated at 300 off
the assembly line, and that’s a trick that doesn’t come with
inexpensive bolt-ons. The body kit and lowering package put some well-needed
relief into a stodgy profile that just screams out for a little more reach.
The overall package is competent, somewhat alluring but definitely homogenized.
Jack’s approach is to share his name across the F-150 line and offer
different levels. So many choices may have diluted the performance efforts
that could have been focused on just one killer offspring. But the truck
is, for the moment, exclusive.
there’s always the possibility of a Stage 4! Let’s hope Jack
wins a third-straight NASCAR championship and feels frisky enough to put
out a 500-horsepower version.