The Rhino’s four-cylinder diesel reaches maximum power at 3,800rpm, while top torque of 420Nm kicks in across a 1,600rpm–2,600rpm plateau. Periodic infusions of AdBlue are required to ensure the Euro 6 exhaust emission regulations are met.
It features keyless starting – not an arrangement we favour on security grounds – which allows you to fire up the engine by pressing a button on the dashboard, assuming the key fob is on hand.
Drivers can switch from automatic to manual mode by pushing the shift lever over to the ‘M’ setting then flicking a button on the lever’s side to go up and down the box. Another button next to the lever allows whoever is at the wheel to select from Eco, Power or Winter settings.
Eco means you enjoy less performance but better economy, Power gives you a meaty acceleration boost, while Winter improves grip on slippery surfaces.
The Rhino handles remarkably well, with the speed-sensitive, hydraulically assisted steering tightening beautifully to give a reassuring level of feedback as you swing through bends. There is certainly no lack of performance – especially if you press the Power button – and it is delivered smoothly, with a highly effective kick-down facility making it easy to accelerate past slower-moving traffic.
The well-built Rhino is quiet too, thanks to effective engine bay sound proofing and the use of polyester wheel arch linings to deaden road noise. What’s more, it’s by no means a
poor off-road performer.
Four-wheel drive is available and you twist a knob between the seats to enable it to be engaged. The knob allows you to choose between a high or low-ratio set of gears when you venture into the rough, depending on the terrain. When four-wheel drive is disengaged, the Rhino reverts back to rear-wheel-drive.
Understandably, the Rhino won’t go where a Land Rover can go off road and it probably wouldn’t stand up to the sort of battering that Toyota’s Hilux can soak up. However, if you are looking at something that will get you across a muddy field and then up a badly rutted cart track, or in and out of a dusty, boulder-strewn quarry, then this could be the truck for you. On the negative side, the Rhino rides very poorly on ordinary highways when unladen unless the surface is billiard-table smooth. If it is any less than that, then expect your progress to be bumpy. The more weight you put in the back – and businesses do, after all, require pick-ups as working tools – the better the ride gets.