We’re edging towards the final lap with the Rhino. Unbelievably, I got the keys last September, shortly before the government’s second, softer lockdown. Amid the third one, as I write this, I realise that ‘lap’ is a tricky word. With all but essential trips forbidden since the last report, I have hardly been distressing the odometer.
One obvious upshot of that is the fuel consumption. Short rides spell data that strays carelessly into sub-25mpg results. Ordinarily, this would have bothered me; my wife might offer a different word, but it’s fair to say I’m not keen on £80 receipts for a fuel-up. However, my fiscal retentiveness is academic in this context: when you’re taking some shopping to your mum because she’s snowed in and the hills that surround her house are killing fields for hatchbacks and two-wheel drive SUVs, the Rhino puts on its cape and breezes through like any other day. Hill descent control takes so much of the fuss out of hills, while all-wheel traction says pish to the most slithery climbs. So the loaf, milk and gin got through, though I’m well aware that, with this machine’s 3.5 tonnes of lugging capacity, the whole corner shop could have been a delivery option. Thirsty or not, it’s an absolute hero.
Further adventures have included pharmacy and medicine collections, essential shopping and drive-thru sorties to McDonalds in recognition of the fact that my locked-down children will mutiny against endless screen learning unless they are bribed with cholesterol and sugar. Such places appear to be designed in the expectation that all burger eaters in Britain drive Nissan Micras. And the Rhino, not to be rude, is massive. Taller than Desperate Dan, wider than Chris Waddle in the 1990 World Cup penalties and longer than Proust. Dimensionally, it doesn’t know where to stop, yet from the helm, the Rhino shrinks and is plain sailing. It might not dance on a pin, but it’s wrist-friendly and compliant – if a Fiesta went through that space ahead, chances are your Rhino will too. I also find the standard Rear Cross Traffic Alert system, which bleeps when you’re reversing if it detects the risk of your rear end clouting a passing object, a sweet cherry on the technical cake.
The only investment I’ve made to date – and perhaps one day such kit will be mainstream from automakers – is a half-decent dashcam. Such are UK roads in 2021, or more specifically the behaviour of so many drivers, that I fear going out without a dashcam leaves you naked to all kinds of risk, for none of which you’ll have evidence. Sure, the Rhino is a fortress, a becalmed retreat from all the madness out there, a place to look down on all the crazy lawlessness and be grateful for the protection this big beast affords. But a camera does no harm. One tip though: set the audio to silent. From my experience, most of my reaction to other drivers is not family friendly.
Date arrived 10th September 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 28.2mpg
Economy (On test) 24.7mpg