What do you get when you combine the frame from a four-door Jeep Wrangler, a twin-screw supercharged V8, a steel body, and a whole list of other options? You get the Hellcat Powered Rhino XT built by U.S. Specialty Vehicles (USSV). That name might sound familiar to you because they are also the ones that build the Rhino GX SUV based on the Ford F-450 commercial chassis. The GX was the vehicle that the Rock drove in one of the recent Fast and Furious films. And now the smaller Rhino XT is enjoying the spotlight after making an appearance in the latest installment of the Fast and Furious franchise, I haven’t seen the film yet so there’s no need to worry about any spoilers here.

As a Jeep fan, I’m not sure how to feel about having what’s basically a Toyota FJ body on a Wrangler chassis, even if there is a 707hp Hellcat motor under the hood. But when I mention that the twin screw supercharged V8 is the 6.2L Hellcat engine producing 707hp, it’s funny how that can immediately increase the appeal of a vehicle.

Photo: usspecialtyvehicles

Apparently, USSV made an arrangement to purchase the base model four-door Wrangler chassis directly from Jeep and then take them back to the shop and start tearing them down to the frame. From that point, they begin the rebuilding process where they can custom build each car to a customer’s specifications. They do things like armoring as well as basic structural reinforcement to make the Rhino XT significantly more rugged and rigid to handle whatever’s thrown at it. However, this isn’t a glorified tank. It is designed with quite a bit of luxury in mind. But again, it all depends on what the customer wants and maybe more importantly is willing to pay for.

The Rhino XT’s big brother, the Rhino GX which is based on the Ford F450 platform, is similar to the Knight XV. And the Knight is intended to be the absolute best in regards to luxury, toughness, and overall bug-out apocalyptic survival vehicle. And it has an $800,000 price tag to back that up. The GX isn’t quite on that level and could arguably be considered a bargain bug-out vehicle with an estimated price tag between $200,000 and $250,000, depending on the options you chose. It will still protect you in the event things get hairy, but it’s not going to be tough enough to survive a direct hit from the M.O.A.B (mother of all bombs).

Photo: usspecialtyvehicles

The Rhino XT seems to be following that same trend. There’s no doubt the XT is going to be a lot tougher than say a standard Jeep Wrangler (sorry Jeep fans, it pains me to say it), Toyota FJ, or any other standard four-wheel drive vehicles, at least in stock form. But at the same time, it’s also not built strong enough to take the direct impact of an RPG either. USSV actually revealed the XT back in 2015 at the L.A. Auto Show, although at the time it was not slated to have the Hellcat motor. That’s been a recent development, and a pretty damn good one I might add.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. It might play a part in the Fast and Furious 8, but that was just a prototype model. It’s way too early to know exactly how good the Rhino XT will be and what performance characteristics it will bring to the table. But with potentially 700+hp under the hood that turns the beefy Toyo Tires into a cloud of smoke and pile of dust with “hilarious” ease according to client relations at USSV, it sounds like they ‘re off to a great start. Official production has begun and customers should start reviewing orders by the end of the year. The original version of the XT had a price tag around $80,000, this new and improved Hellcat equipped version will make the drastic jump up to $157,000. That’s a lot of money for what appears to be a heavily modified Jeep with a Toyota FJ body on it. Imagine what a stock Wrangler Unlimited (est $38,000) would look like after dropping more than $60,000 worth of upgrades on it. Needless to say, the Rhino has some serious potential but it also has major expectations to fill.


Photo: ussspecialtyvehicles

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