Roush Stage 3 Mustang Puts Down Awesome Numbers, But is it Enough?

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The Smoking Tire’s Matt Farah was less than impressed with the 710-horsepower Roush but is he selling it too short?

There’s a reason why we only have the Big Three automakers in the U.S. and not the Big 10 or Big 12. Building cars is not only expensive and risky, but it’s also incredibly difficult to do well. Automobile companies have to balance design, materials, crash safety, power, fuel economy, interior comfort, infotainment technology, and price, all at the same time. As The Smoking Tire‘s Matt Farah shows in this review of the 2019 Roush Stage 3 Mustang, Roush gave it plenty of power, but that comes at a high price – in more ways than one.

Farah’s test vehicle started life as a 2019 Mustang GT Premium Fastback with a limited-slip differential and regular suspension. No MagneRide dampers for him. Roush then added its $23,000 Stage 3 kit, which includes a height-adjustable coilover suspension system, cast 20-inch wheels, a supercharger that helps the 5.0 generate 710 horsepower, and upgraded half shafts. Then they piled on $6,800 worth of options, such as billet pedals, a sport exhaust, Roush leather seats, forged 20-inch wheels, and a set of three-way adjustable coilovers. Final price? About $79,000. Farah’s reaction of “Oh. My. God.” makes it clear that the Stage 3 has a lot to live up to. 2019 Roush Stage 3 Mustang

His drive through California’s Big Tujunga Canyon doesn’t start on a high note. Before Farah even sets off, he hears a clunk from the MT82 manual gearbox as he shifts from neutral to first. Once he gets going, he nails a shift and hears a grinding noise. 2019 Roush Stage 3 Mustang

Surely the Roush’s 710 horsepower make him forget all about those annoyances, right? Not exactly. Farah does admit the boosted Coyote is “a total powerhouse.” However, he goes on to say that during normal commuting and around-town driving, the Roush feels slower or less lively than a stock Mustang GT. 2019 Roush Stage 3 Mustang

Farah even has an issue with that once-astronomical amount of horsepower. That’s partly because, to him, “Mustang horsepower isn’t like other horsepower. It’s less. For instance, a 700-horsepower 911 would feel way faster than this.” Whether it’s because of abnormally high parasitic drivetrain loss, the Mustang’s weight, its gearing, or some other factor, the Mustang doesn’t feel as if it’s putting all of the power to the road that it possibly can. Farah sums it up by saying, “It’s just not that fast.”

On the plus side, Farah does praise the Roush’s refinement and its ability to neutralize bumps in the road. 2019 Roush Stage 3 Mustang

The Roush’s price doesn’t do it any favors. It doesn’t buy a car that looks or feels special enough to justify a $30,000 premium over a regular Mustang GT. It doesn’t even get Farah’s approval as a track car (the less powerful Shelby GT350 does).

Then Farah does something we’re not used to seeing in car reviews. Visibly annoyed, he admits he’s out of things to say and spends most of the next few minutes just driving fast, not uttering a word. At that point, he doesn’t need to. We got the message. It’s clear he’s not fond of the car.

We can certainly respect Farah’s brutal honesty. However, we can’t agree with his assessment. We also can’t disagree with it. Why? Because we haven’t driven the Stage 3 Mustang. If a Roush representative happens to be reading this, please know that we’d love to provide a second opinion on it.

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Derek Shiekhi's father raised him on cars. As a boy, Derek accompanied his dad as he bought classics such as post-WWII GM trucks and early Ford Mustang convertibles.

After loving cars for years and getting a bachelor's degree in Business Management, Derek decided to get an associate degree in journalism. His networking put him in contact with the editor of the Austin-American Statesman newspaper, who hired him to write freelance about automotive culture and events in Austin, Texas in 2013. One particular story led to him getting a certificate for learning the foundations of road racing.

While watching TV with his parents one fateful evening, he saw a commercial that changed his life. In it, Jeep touted the Wrangler as the Texas Auto Writers Association's "SUV of Texas." Derek knew he had to join the organization if he was going to advance as an automotive writer. He joined the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA) in 2014 and was fortunate to meet several nice people who connected him to the representatives of several automakers and the people who could give him access to press vehicles (the first one he ever got the keys to was a Lexus LX 570). He's now a regular at TAWA's two main events: the Texas Auto Roundup in the spring and the Texas Truck Rodeo in the fall.

Over the past several years, Derek has learned how to drive off-road in various four-wheel-drive SUVs (he even camped out for two nights in a Land Rover), and driven around various tracks in hot hatches, muscle cars, and exotics. Several of his pieces, including his article about the 2015 Ford F-150 being crowned TAWA's 2014 "Truck of Texas" and his review of the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, have won awards in TAWA's annual Excellence in Craft Competition. Last year, his JK Forum profile of Wagonmaster, a business that restores Jeep Wagoneers, won prizes in TAWA’s signature writing contest and its pickup- and SUV-focused Texas Truck Invitational.

In addition to writing for a variety of Internet Brands sites, including JK Forum, H-D Forums, The Mustang Source, Mustang Forums, LS1Tech, HondaTech, Jaguar Forums, YotaTech, and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. Derek also started There Will Be Cars on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

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