Hands-on Gear Review

Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 Review

Rhino Rack Master Fit 550
Price:  $619 List | $625.91 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to install, holds a lot of cargo
Cons:  Floppy lid construction, hard to close, too large for a small car
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight (lbs):  45
Volume (Cubic Feet):  19.4
Size (L x W x H inches):  85x35.8x17.3
Manufacturer:   Rhino Rack

Our Verdict

The Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 really is a beast. Better suited to larger vehicles, we think this roof box is a bit large and unwieldy on our tester's small Toyota Matrix. The Master Fit 550 is the easiest model to mount, taking less than 5 minutes, but we are disappointed with the construction quality of the lid that is difficult to open, close, and lock.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist

Last Updated:
Monday
November 25, 2013

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The Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 is very easy to install, but makes driving a smaller vehicle more difficult when buffeted by winds. We wish the lid was be stiffer.

Performance Comparison


Jed Porter loading up the large capacity Master Fit 550  mounted on his Subaru Forester  to move some of his stuff around.
Jed Porter loading up the large capacity Master Fit 550, mounted on his Subaru Forester, to move some of his stuff around.

Construction Quality


The Master Fit 550, at first glance seems to be of high quality, but with a bit more use we were somewhat disappointed. We really like the mounting system, which is where this roof box excels. The mounting hardware is pre-assembled in the box and seems very sturdy. The lid of the box, on the other hand, does not seem that sturdy. The lid feels very floppy, especially compared to the Thule Sonic Large and the Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite. This lack of stiffness makes it hard to open and close. We often had a hard time closing the lid because the floppiness and can cause the latches not to match up, and instead deviate from each other, not allowing the box to close or lock. With some extra attention to what you are doing, this problem is avoidable.

We had a hard time closing the Rhino Rack Master Fit 550's lid because it is floppy. This can cause the latches not to line up and deviate from each other  not allowing the box to close or lock.
We had a hard time closing the Rhino Rack Master Fit 550's lid because it is floppy. This can cause the latches not to line up and deviate from each other, not allowing the box to close or lock.

Appearance


We like the appearance of the Master Fit 550. We especially like the matte silver finish, and think it could help with keeping your cargo cool on hot summer days (instead of having a black cargo box). We do think that with 19.5 cubic feet of space, this version looks a little too large on our lead tester's smaller Toyota Matrix, and prefer the smaller sized Thule Sonic. We think it is be best suited to larger vehicles like our tester's Subaru Forester.

We think the Master Fit 550  with its 19.5 cubic foot capacity  is too large for our tester's Toyota Matrix. We recommend this box for larger vehicles like mini-vans or SUVs for your family road trips.
We think the Master Fit 550, with its 19.5 cubic foot capacity, is too large for our tester's Toyota Matrix. We recommend this box for larger vehicles like mini-vans or SUVs for your family road trips.

Ease of Use


The Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 is the easiest model to install. We love how simple it is to mount: you simply insert the clamps in the slots over your cross bars, turn the dial until it is snug, and you are ready to go! Unfortunately, this box is not the easiest to open or close. Potentially because of its sheer size (it is the largest box in this review) the lid was particularly floppy, and as we already mentioned, sometimes the latches did not line up, making it impossible to lock. The lock mechanism itself is very simple, there is no button or handle like on the Yakima Skybox to aid in opening the box, but it seemed to work fine.

The Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 is the easiest roof box to install  which we really like. You simply insert the clamps in the slots over your cross bars  turn the dial until it is snug  and you are ready to go!
The Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 is the easiest roof box to install, which we really like. You simply insert the clamps in the slots over your cross bars, turn the dial until it is snug, and you are ready to go!

Aerodynamics


The Master Fit 550 is the largest roof box we tested, and the second heaviest, at 45 pounds. Driving with the Master Fit, sometimes we felt like we had a bit of a sail on our roof, making the car drift and causing more difficulty in handling, especially when going over 70 MPH. Perhaps this is because it is a little too big for our tester's vehicle. For being the largest and one of the heaviest we tested, the gas mileage was not affected any worse than the rest of the roof boxes.

Security


We experienced some trouble with the locking mechanism of the Master Fit 550, as we have already mentioned. We think the floppy lid causes trouble. You could potentially turn the key without the latches actually mating and accidentally leave your box, or a part of it, unlocked.

Best Application


This box has a large capacity and can haul around a lot of stuff. We estimate you could fit about 6 pairs of skis or 4 snowboards inside. We recommend this box for larger vehicles like mini-vans or SUVs for your family road trips.

Value


Rhino Rack's Master Fit 550 retails at $619, and is the most expensive model we tested (but only by $20). It is also the largest capacity box. We think it is a decent value because Yakima and Thule's larger capacity boxes retail at more than $619, so the easy to install Master Fit could be a good choice if you need something that large.

Conclusion


This cargo box's mounting hardware excels over the rest we tested, but its construction quality is lacking. We think this could be a good choice for someone who needs to haul around a lot of stuff on a larger vehicle like a mini-van. For a box almost as large and easier to use, check out the Yakima Skybox.
Jessica Haist

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Most recent review: November 25, 2013
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (4.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 100%  (1)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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