Automotive

US Specialty Vehicles gives the Jeep Wrangler a mean new look

US Specialty Vehicles gives th...
USSV Rhino XT at the 2015 LA Auto Show
USSV Rhino XT at the 2015 LA Auto Show
View 17 Images
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gets a new look
1/17
The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited gets a new look
California's US Specialty Vehicles has different ideas for Wrangler styling
2/17
California's US Specialty Vehicles has different ideas for Wrangler styling
The Rhino XT wears a mean set of fender flares
3/17
The Rhino XT wears a mean set of fender flares
Toyo Open Country R/T tires
4/17
Toyo Open Country R/T tires
USSV's package includes the rugged-look exterior and overhauled interior
5/17
USSV's package includes the rugged-look exterior and overhauled interior
USSV Rhino XT at the 2015 LA Auto Show
6/17
USSV Rhino XT at the 2015 LA Auto Show
USSV takes a Ford F-450 Super Duty chassis and turns it into a one-of-a-kind SUV
7/17
USSV takes a Ford F-450 Super Duty chassis and turns it into a one-of-a-kind SUV
USSV's Rhino GX body is built from steel and composite
8/17
USSV's Rhino GX body is built from steel and composite
USSV Rhino GX at the 2015 LA Auto Show
9/17
USSV Rhino GX at the 2015 LA Auto Show
USSV lists the Rhino GX's tire size as 38/15.50R20
10/17
USSV lists the Rhino GX's tire size as 38/15.50R20
The Rhino GX features leather trim and wood veneers
11/17
The Rhino GX features leather trim and wood veneers
USSV offers the Rhino XT as a conversion starting just under $45,800
12/17
USSV offers the Rhino XT as a conversion starting just under $45,800
Inside the Rhino GX
13/17
Inside the Rhino GX
The Rhino GX out in its element
14/17
The Rhino GX out in its element
Bigger than average
15/17
Bigger than average
The Rhino GX puts its V10 to work
16/17
The Rhino GX puts its V10 to work
Rhino GX
17/17
Rhino GX
View gallery - 17 images

Few would argue against the idea that the Jeep Wrangler remains one of the most off-road-capable 4x4s on the planet it roams. California-based aftermarket builder US Specialty Vehicles sees some room for improvement in the way the Wrangler expresses its intentions, though. It's slapped a rugged, military-style body kit on the four-door Wrangler Unlimited and upgraded the interior into a warm, supple space. The result is the Rhino XT, the all-terrain SUV reinvented.

If you look closely, you can spot the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited hiding below USSV's kit, but to the untrained eye, the Rhino XT is virtually unrecognizable as a Wrangler. It looks more like a Toyota FJ Cruiser with big, angular body kit. In particular, the grille/headlight surround and gently arched roof look like an homage to the discontinued FJ. That roof is a removable hard top, maintaining the Wrangler's ability to delight passengers with spring breezes and splashy stream crossings.

Beyond those simple cosmetic updates, USSV designers have gotten a bit angry and aggro, giving the XT a highly aggressive look with massive, riveted flared fenders, rugged bumpers, reinforced FRP body panels, and designer tow hooks. The 35-in tires on/off-road tires around 20 x 10-in aluminum wheels add to the tough, angry look, and a redesigned heavy-duty roll cage helps keep it all together.

USSV's package includes the rugged-look exterior and overhauled interior
USSV's package includes the rugged-look exterior and overhauled interior

The Rhino XT rides extra-rugged on the outside but comfy and sophisticated inside. The interior package includes USSV-badged premium leather seats, a "European style" dashboard, leather-trimmed door panels, 3D-look digital instrument panel, Alpine navigation system, back-up camera view, chrome trim and leather-wrapped steering wheel, among other enhancements.

The Rhino XT is strictly a cosmetic package, and the mechanicals remain stock, which means the 285-hp 3.6-liter V6 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, Trac-Lok differential rear axle and 3.73 axle ratio. It also features electronic stability control, roll mitigation, and front and rear sway bars.

November has been a big month for the Rhino XT. USSV debuted it at the SEMA Show, opened up reservations, and is currently showing it again at the LA Auto Show. Complete vehicle pricing starts at US$75,445.

The Rhino XT definitely gives the Wrangler a tough alternative look, but we can't help but feel that the package should include some extra power or capability to go along with its muscular body kit, or at least be based on a higher-spec Wrangler like the Rubicon. As it is, it seems like an awful lot of bark without the matching bite.

USSV takes a Ford F-450 Super Duty chassis and turns it into a one-of-a-kind SUV
USSV takes a Ford F-450 Super Duty chassis and turns it into a one-of-a-kind SUV

USSV has another interesting creation on display in LA, the Rhino GX. The shop makes the extra-large, military-style 4x4 SUV out of the Ford F-450 Super Duty chassis. Powered by Ford's 362-hp 6.8-liter V10 engine, this "rugged road warrior" transports up to seven inside a tough shell built from a framed construction of 20-gauge cold steel and composite. The hexagonal windows, riveted fenders and off-road lights finish off the menacing design.

USSV fills the inside of that burly body with three rows of power seating and dresses it in premium leather, wood veneers and other high-end materials. It's a combination of large, hammering V10 off-roading and luxury interior lounging that would be pretty shocking if we didn't peek in on the wild world of aftermarket truck building regularly.

The Rhino GX starts at $165,095 and quickly jumps above $200,000 with options.

Source: USSV

View gallery - 17 images
11 comments
gizmowiz
Looks more like a Hummer to me.
DonDewar
The thing about the Jeep community is that everyone is different, and seeks to enjoy their Jeeps in different ways. I bought my Jeep as a base to build a capable rock climber and off-roader, and that's what I did. I like the classic Jeep look, so left the body alone and concentrated on powertrain and suspension improvements. Others may not feel the same. They may like the look of those transformed vehicles. More power to them. All I ask is that you keep buying Jeep Wranglers, as the more they sell, the longer Chrysler will keep them in production and available for me.
StevenR.Brown
It does like a bit like the Hummer HX concept that GM rolled out in 2007. GM is still rumored to be reviving the HX concept as a GMC vehicle using a shortened version of the Canyon/Colorado platform.
Stephen N Russell
Love this, produce some to Rent & for sales. Armored sales to: banks, Pvt security, prison/jails, Data Hubs, VIP use, & TV & movie prod.
LandoThig
Rhino XT looks like the Hummer HX concept vehicle.
KateApker
Really 20X10's for off road??? Axles werent upgraded? Interior is purdy but not practical if you go off road. Its needs more lighting for off road use. Designer tow hooks what a joke!!!!!! What a POS for poseurs! Its a mall crawler!
MichaelBrown
Looks like a wanna be Hummer! Also, all jeeps after a few years become rust buckets! All of mine have and others I know. There are more after market parts to fix a rotted frame on jeeps than other vehicles!An as an off road vehicle, that should not be the case.
RickBarnes
Worst "parts bin" vehicle ever.
Cuckoo
Looks horrible, may as well just get a Hummer.
Erwinecosmart
Looks more like a Toyota to me..... LOts of these modifiied parts are available off the shelf...