By: Mr. Slide
Mr. Power recently mentioned on The Powerslide Podcast that the SUV market is on fire. He’s correct. Over the last twenty years SUV sales have skyrocketed and Volvo’s recent upgrades to its XC60 and XC90 are certainly impressive. The aggressive, square-jawed, features of these models are atypical of Volvo. The formally Swedish, now Chinese, company has always been known for its modesty. Their cars were fantastic, humble, practical, safe, and built for life. No alarms and no surprises with these babies.
Make no mistake; Volvo’s recent aesthetical improvements speak more towards a SUV liberation than they do a Volvo overhaul. In other words, the XC’s epitomize more freedom being granted to SUV designers.
Shackles have been loosened a bit, and now more than a few companies are producing beautiful SUVs. This should be celebrated — and it is. Audi, Acura, Range Rover, Mercedes, Jaguar, Porsche, Volvo, heck even Lamborghini; the list continues as all produce handsome SUVs. We are living in the SUV renaissance. Automotive companies are progressing with styling, allowing car designers the freedom to stretch their legs and run.
European and Asian designers have chomped at the bit and produced sleek, crisp, vehicles. The lines are sharp and the angles are strong, however they are not next level, knock-your-socks-off cool. No. The most fashion forward SUVs in today’s market are being produced out west — in California.
A few miles east of Los Angeles a company known as U.S. Specialty Vehicles (USSV) is turning Ford F-Series Super Duty pickups and Jeep Wranglers into Ritz Carlton suites. Their newest creation fuses Hollywood comfort with the power to drag an AMG G65 out of quicksand. A vehicle fit to cross Antarctica with the Kardashians in the back. The resulting monster has a stampeding name that facilitates pinched nerves in the necks of double taking cell phone photographers. Introducing the Rhino GX Executive.
This 19-foot, 9,800-pound, monster rolls on 20” aluminum custom wheels and is built upon the powerful Ford F450 Super Duty chassis. Under the hood the customer is allowed to pair either a 6.7L Powerstroke V8 Turbo Diesel or a 6.8L V10 gas engine to the standard 5-speed automatic transmission. With 440hp and 860lb-ft torque the Rhino GX Executive is certainly powerful…and very big.
While the physical appearance of this jazzed up Ford F450, turned steroid-fueled-Hummer, is head turning — the inside of the GX Exec is even crazier. The interior design and overall styling illustrate a complete detachment from conventional SUV tailoring. It only seats five people, including the driver (whom the customer most likely hired), contains a DVD player, and video game connections. Additionally, the special soft leather seats made by USSV serve as a foil to the SUV’s rugged physique. This level of exterior and interior design contrast is rarely seen in SUV’s. The Rhino GX Executive straddles both luxury and toughness — and only for $200,000.
Freedom spawned by big name automakers has fostered the creation of monsters like the Rhino GX Executive. It’s not a limo, it’s not an armored tank — it’s an untapped 2018 SUV. Keep em’ coming.