Ford reintroduced their compact Ranger a couple years ago now (here’s our 2019 first drive review), but still no word of a burlier Raptor variant like our friends Down Under have been enjoying for years. But wth mid-size trucks gaining popularity, it’s just a matter of time we’ll see a proper off-road, performance-focused variant of the small truck rolling off the Ford assembly line.
Meantime, Michigan-based ROUSH Performance — known best for their killer Mustang projects like this Roush Stage 3 rocket — is getting the ball rolling with the 2020 ROUSH Ranger upgrade package starting at $12,750 tacked on top of the base price.
ROUSH will take take a 2020 Ranger XLT and return with a nice, long list of styling enhancements, interior upgrades, and off-road performance add-ons. Unfortunately, unlike the 350-hp VelociRaptor Ranger by Hennessey, ROUSH doesn’t touch the 2.3L EcoBoost engine producing the stock 270-hp and 310 lb.-ft. or torque. Why? We’re not sure because we know the performance shop is capable of tuning this thing out.
As the company puts it, “The ROUSH Ranger is a project we’ve been excited about for a long time. The 2020 ROUSH Ranger is an exceptional mid-size truck that combines both style and capability.”
The only other ramped up, North American-built Ranger that comes to this one is this new ProRunner Series 1 package by Automotive Performance Group (APG). But we digress.
Here’s how ROUSH upgrades the Ranger XLT
But perhaps this isn’t meant to be a Raptor equivalent after all, but rather a nice option for Ranger fans simply looking to change things up. In fairness, despite any engine updates, this handsome compact hauler does elevate other capabilities worthy of off-the-beaten path adventures.
Rolling on 18-inch satin black ROUSH wheels wrapped in 32-inch Grabber ATX rubber from General Tire, this small beast finds a ROUSH/Fox 2.0 suspension upgrade for both improved everyday driving and off-road abilities. Exhaust notes also sound better courtesy of a dual-tip performance cat-back exhaust system flossing dual ROUSH-etched stainless-steel tips.
That’s about it for performance. The rest is mainly cosmetic but worthy nonetheless. This includes custom red tow hooks, upgraded fender flares with accent lighting, and ROUSH puddle lamps, front grille, and dual LED light bars.
Inside, the stock Ranger finds a nice refresh with ROUSH floor liners by WeatherTech, comfier seats courtesy of premium ROUSH leather with quilted stitching and embroidery, and new gauges driver front and centre. Rounding things out is serialized interior badging, a certificate of authenticity and ROUSH “R” key fobs.
More upgrades are optional
All this is standard with the package. Not enough? We didn’t think so. Optional upgrades are more nice-to-haves including a retractable aluminum bed cover, off-road utility kit, a couple graphic upgrades, a centre and rear vault, a bed cargo manager, and a ROUSH roof rack with dual rigid light bars.
Is ROUSH’s upgraded Ranger a Raptor equivalent? No. Is it trying to be? Well, not really. But for off-road enthusiasts looking for extra abilities, or simply everyday drivers seeking a look that’s distinct, this package does mark the boxes. Plus, the company will back things up with their 3-year, 36,000-mile limited warranty.