The styling accessories give the Roush a look that is better than many other after-market kits. Picture: FORD PREFORMANCE CENTRE
The styling accessories give the Roush a look that is better than many other after-market kits. Picture: FORD PREFORMANCE CENTRE

US tuning company Roush, which opened locally in 2016 under the Performance Centre banner, shot to fame with its latest Ford Mustang Stage 3 conversion offering about 500kW. Now it is turning its attention to the Ford Ranger to birth the Ranger Roush.

It can be had in three states of tune depending on the owner’s application and pocket.

What sets Roush apart from other tuners is that its work is backed by Ford, which allows the warranty to be retained once the upgrades have been done.

There are three stages, each with its unique offering with the next rung adding more kit to the preceding one. RS1 (Stage 1) brings beefier looks courtesy of a body kit that includes a Roush front valance and grille (the latter with deep red Roush lettering), a bonnet wrap, black 18-inch alloy wheels, sports bar, side steps, deck lid cover, rear valance and a free-flow exhaust with dual pipes. The interior gets embroidered headrests and Roush floor mats.

Interior upgrades are limited just to upholstery changes. Picture: FORD PREFORMANCE CENTRE
Interior upgrades are limited just to upholstery changes. Picture: FORD PREFORMANCE CENTRE

This will set you back R135,000 over and above the price of the vehicle, based on a 3.2l, five-cylinder turbodiesel double-cab XLT model.

The next level, RS2 (Stage 2) takes all the mod cons of RS1 and adds items such as an enhanced intercooler and software upgrades that are said to boost power by 16% (147kW stock) to 170kW. In addition there is also a Pedders Foam Cell TrakRider suspension kit and Slotted Geomet Coated Rotor brakes and pads. This will set you back R185,000 on top of the vehicle’s list price.

In addition to the first two stages, the flagship RS3, which we drove, adds a Hybrid Turbo upgrade and aluminium intercooler, which boosts power to about 190kW, while it gets a full leather interior with red stitching and a matching leather-bound steering wheel. It costs an additional R245,000 over the vehicle’s list price, which pushes the all-in price to more than R700,000 placing it squarely in the Volkswagen Amarok V6 Highline’s territory.

The Stage 3 kit provides many mechanical upgrades that push power up to 190kW. Picture: FORD PREFORMANCE CENTRE
The Stage 3 kit provides many mechanical upgrades that push power up to 190kW. Picture: FORD PREFORMANCE CENTRE

The look of the RS3 Ranger Roush is something to behold and is tastefully done without being overly accessorised like some of the faux Raptor kits. While traces of the newfound muscle were not immediately apparent on the road, we visited engine tuners Dastek in Centurion to use its dynamometer.

We first placed a standard Ranger 3.2 XLT on the dynamometer, said to be one of the most accurate rolling floors for diesel-powered vehicles, to see how it fared.

According to the results, the stock vehicle made 115kW on the wheels. According to one of the senior technicians at the establishment, the vehicle was making slightly more power than normal due to an after-market exhaust fitted to it.

Then it was the turn of the Roush Ranger to be placed on the dyno and while engine power is said to be 190kW, the model produced a fairly credible 145kW on the rear wheels.

To truly discern the added oomph of the Ranger Roush one needs to drive it back to back with a regular model. There is definitely more torque off the line when you plant the throttle to the floorboard as the tyres tend to chirp before the vehicle huffs and puffs forwards. It feels relatively impressive, but lags behind the Amarok V6 on sheer grunt at the upper reaches of the rev range, not to mention the inherent refinement that comes with the V6 configuration. The Amarok V6 would still be my choice of the two.