I also own a bike in this genre, a Norco Torrent HT 2. It was reasonably priced at CAD $2,199 and out-of-the-box includes a few of the upgrades you mention in the article: more capable tires (Maxxis Minions), Tektro brakes and a Race Face crankset.
Regardless of the competition's merits, I love the fact that Rocky Mountain is simply making and selling this bike. Far too many people think they need to spend a lot of money on a mountain bike in order for it to be capable and for them to have fun. This is not the case.
Bikes like the Rocky Growler, Norco Torrent, Specialized Fuse and Kona Big Honzo all prove that manufacturers today have models available that are extremely capable...and still allow you to feed your children.