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.
Rhino Rack Master Fit 550 Review
Cons: Floppy lid construction, hard to close, too large for a small car
Manufacturer: Rhino Rack
Our Analysis and Test Results
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
OutdoorGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: November 25, 2013
Have you used this product?
Don't hold back. Share your viewpoint by posting a review with your thoughts...