Roush unleashes the beast in the Ford Super Duty F-250

Henry Payne
The Detroit News

Correction: This story has been updated with correct pickup sales figures. 

In China, 2018 is the Year of the Dog. In the United States, it’s the Year of the Truck.

With U.S. pickup sales totaling more than 2.8 million last year, automakers are beefing up lineups with new trucks. At January’s Detroit auto show, the Detroit Three debuted an all-new Ford Ranger, all-new Chevy Silverado, all-new Ram 1500 and first-ever Ford F-150 diesel.

Not to be left out, renowned Ford mod-shop Roush Performance is introducing the first Roush Super Duty F-250.

The ferocious-looking truck, outfitted with giant 35-inch bead-locked off-road tires and a blacked-out grille, will make grown men whimper.

The heavy-duty Roush F-250 follows in the footsteps of the Livonia-based company’s lineup of three modified light-duty F-150 pickups which run from the wardrobe-enhanced Roush F-150 to the high-horsepower Roush Nitemare. Roush also makes a modified version of the off-road F-150 Raptor beast.

An aftermarket performance parts shop, Roush has a unique arrangement with the Dearborn automaker where its upgraded vehicles are sold to customers through Ford dealers. Founder Jack Roush’s long history of success in auto racing — from IMSA Ford Mustangs to providing V-8 engines to NASCAR teams — has helped elevate Roush to one of the most recognizable mod brands in the United States.

Roush-badged Mustangs and F-150 pickups swagger across American roads with fearsome fascias and rib-rattling exhaust notes. Roush’s signature vehicle has long been the Mustang pony car, which Roush brought to market in 1995.

The latest version, birthed in 2016, features a menu of mods which dial up the performance volume — from hood stripes to high-horsepower engine tweaks. The supercharged, 670-horsepower Stage 3 Mustang is Roush’s signature.

But the pull of big F-series pickups, which sold almost 900,000 units in 2017 alone, has proved irresistible. F-series pickups are sold in five configurations from base XL to luxurious King Ranch, plus the 450-horsepower Raptor. Since 2001, Roush has added to that stable with F-150 modifications to compete in a market that includes competitor off-road pickup trims like the Ram Rebel and coming Chevy Silverado Trailboss.

The Roush F-250 Super Duty resembles Roush’s entry-level F-150 and F-150 FC models with its Roush-stamped black grille, flared fenders, upgraded suspension, black hood and off-road tires.

A throaty dual exhaust makes the Roush instantly identifiable from the rear. Customers can use a vehicle configurator to pick additional options like body color and Roush badging, then take delivery of the pickup at one of 200 dealers around the world.

“Roush’s entry into the Super Duty market is a game-changer for drivers who crave an aggressive, no-compromise look,” said Roush Performance sales chief Taylor Bloor. “The 2018 Roush Super Duty F-250 looks incredibly intimidating with an off-road stance and isn’t afraid to get dirty. It’s reliable, functional and just plain cool.”

Unlike Roush’s F-150 Nitemare edition — or the Stage 3 Mustang — Roush doesn’t touch the Super Duty’s V-8 or Power Stroke diesel engines, both of which are available in the Roush wrap. The 6.7-liter Power Stroke puts out an eye-popping 925 pound-feet of torque and is the industry standard in towing and payload. Like any other Ford product, the Roush comes with full drive-train warranties and an additional 3 year/36,000 mile guarantee for the Roush extras.

With its muscled stance and raised suspension, the Roush F-250 is wider (4-6 inches) and taller (by 2 inches to 82.5) than the stock truck.

Now on sale, the Roush F-250 package starts at $13,880. Added configurations top out at over $15,000. Ford’s V-8 powered F-250 starts at about $52,000 and the diesel at about $65,000 before Roush modifications.

Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at hpayne@detroitnews.com or Twitter @HenryEPayne. Catch “Car Radio with Henry Payne” from noon-1 p.m. Saturdays on 910 AM Superstation.