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Old 01-17-2019, 01:34 PM #1
Farby Farby is offline
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Help me choose my Cargo Box

My 2018 SR5 is in need of a cargo box. I am under the impression my best options are a Yakima or Thule. This may all seem a bit silly but I've never had a rack of any kind on any of my vehicles.

i've read some threads from here on the forum and feel like there are some mixed reviews on a few issues. the first being touching the roof and touching the rear hatch when opened between different size boxes.

I don't have factory cross bars so i will need an aftermarket set. Money isn't really an issue and from what i can see bars and a box will cost in the range of $1000-1500.

My requirements are that it be big as hell( i have three kids and we utilize the third row so trunk space is shot), not damage/touch my roof or rear hatch and if I can open the sunroof while it's on that's a bonus. Simplicity of install is also a bonus. I just want something that easily bolts on to my factory side rails.

So which is the best option. Ideally the bars themselves would remain on all the time so aero/noise reduction is important as well. Anybody with experience with any specific models is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance. I really appreciate all the help this forum provides.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:39 PM #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Farby View Post
My 2018 SR5 is in need of a cargo box. I am under the impression my best options are a Yakima or Thule. This may all seem a bit silly but I've never had a rack of any kind on any of my vehicles.

i've read some threads from here on the forum and feel like there are some mixed reviews on a few issues. the first being touching the roof and touching the rear hatch when opened between different size boxes.

I don't have factory cross bars so i will need an aftermarket set. Money isn't really an issue and from what i can see bars and a box will cost in the range of $1000-1500.

My requirements are that it be big as hell( i have three kids and we utilize the third row so trunk space is shot), not damage/touch my roof or rear hatch and if I can open the sunroof while it's on that's a bonus. Simplicity of install is also a bonus. I just want something that easily bolts on to my factory side rails.

So which is the best option. Ideally the bars themselves would remain on all the time so aero/noise reduction is important as well. Anybody with experience with any specific models is much appreciated.

Thanks in advance. I really appreciate all the help this forum provides.
get the factory cross bars. i currently have a yakima showcase 15 and it is very close to touching the roof but does not. i noticed 0 reducing in mpg and barely any noise difference.

Yakima does have a larger 20 box as well. i dislike the push button unlock of the showcase and would prefer the lever style unlock.

My car is lifted and with the box it does not clear 7'7 garages so keep that in mind.

The thule use a different style locking system and seems easier to use.

Go to etrailer.com and they have videos and reviews of boxes. very nice to help decide what you want.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:44 PM #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boyguan View Post
get the factory cross bars. i currently have a yakima showcase 15 and it is very close to touching the roof but does not. i noticed 0 reducing in mpg and barely any noise difference.

Yakima does have a larger 20 box as well. i dislike the push button unlock of the showcase and would prefer the lever style unlock.

My car is lifted and with the box it does not clear 7'7 garages so keep that in mind.

The thule use a different style locking system and seems easier to use.

Go to etrailer.com and they have videos and reviews of boxes. very nice to help decide what you want.
The factory rack is short. Go to REI if you have one and test fit. Many standard boxes will interfere with the rear spoiler when opening the lift gate. I put thule crossroad adapter and bars above the rack to get a bit more height.
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:47 PM #4
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I think the biggest you can go Yakima wise is the Skybox 16.

The skybox 18 is too large that it will touch the rear hatch when fully opened on stock rails and crossbars.

I ended up getting a Prinsu rack just to get the Skybox 18 since I'm in the same situation as you (3 kids and a dog).
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Old 01-17-2019, 01:49 PM #5
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I have a Thule Evolution 1800 cargo box that I managed to grab for $50 off of craigslist. It's pretty big. The hatch does hit the cargobox when I have it mounted but I created a limiting strap with some paracord that prevents my hatch from opening all the way.

I personally wouldn't use the oem crossbars as they do sit too low. I wouldn't be able to use my cargo box on the oem crossbars because the box won't clear the shark fin. I've had two setups. My first setup was yakima cross bars on some yakima mounting adapters that attach to the stock roof rails. It works great and you usually can find a set of used crossbars on craigslist for cheap. You'll just need to buy the mounts separately. My second and current setup are the LFD crossbars. I prefer these as they sit higher than the oem crossbars and lower than the yakima setup. Perfect imo.

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Old 01-17-2019, 01:57 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazi160 View Post
I think the biggest you can go Yakima wise is the Skybox 16.

The skybox 18 is too large that it will touch the rear hatch when fully opened on stock rails and crossbars.

I ended up getting a Prinsu rack just to get the Skybox 18 since I'm in the same situation as you (3 kids and a dog).
When I put the factory rails and the Skybox 16 as far forward as possible I still hit the rear hatch. And with a heavy load it could rub the sat antenna. After I got a bit of extra height with the Thule crossbars it barely clears the hatch.

The short length of the factory rack is one of the worst design features on the 5th Gen 4R. The 4th Gen had a much longer rack system that went to the sunroof.
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Last edited by bamma; 01-17-2019 at 02:00 PM.
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:23 PM #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamma View Post
When I put the factory rails and the Skybox 16 as far forward as possible I still hit the rear hatch. And with a heavy load it could rub the sat antenna. After I got a bit of extra height with the Thule crossbars it barely clears the hatch.

The short length of the factory rack is one of the worst design features on the 5th Gen 4R. The 4th Gen had a much longer rack system that went to the sunroof.
Ah, you're right. The person I saw who got the box, I didn't realize he installed stock rails that were for the 2010-2013 model. Apparently those are bit a taller so the skybox 16 fit.

Photos of Rooftop Cargo Boxes
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Old 01-17-2019, 02:55 PM #8
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Here's a good comparison of some of the larger boxes available.
Thule Motion XT XL Review | OutdoorGearLab

We had a Thule Atlantis 1600xt, and now a Thule Motion XT XL mounted to our 2015 4runner limited, on factory cross bars.

Two negatives I experienced with both of these carriers on the OEM cross bars:
1. With the low cross bars, and max forward placement of the cross bars you are limited in being able to move the carrier forward/rear. You are limited in how far forward you can move the carrier, which you may need to do so it doesn't hit the rear hatch.
However, if you move it to far forward, the front of the carrier overhangs the front bar, resulting in turbulent air flow and bouncing of the carrier box against the roof. No bueno. Move it too far back to stabilize at higher speeds and it'll be hitting the spoiler when you open the hatch.

2. With how low the cross bars are, even if you get a Motion XT which has an antenna notch at the rear, the carrier rests on the antenna, and creates a visible distortion in the roof. No bueno. Even moved forward to the maximum resulted in this for me, same with the Thule Atlantis. I overcame this by replacing the antenna. For you, this is probably not an option since the sharkfin shape and contents changed in 2016? I believe.

If i were to do it again, or didn't have OEM cross bars, I would get a set of 2 Thule 7503 aeroblade edge bars, which sit slightly higher than OEM, but still look OEM-ish, and can be locked.

See this link at etrailer for details. They also have a few pictures and at least one video with these bars on a 4runner.
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Old 01-17-2019, 03:28 PM #9
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Since the factory rack is your limiting factor for the size and shape of box you can run without interference with the spoiler on the hatch, and you said money is not the issue, then I might suggest going to a professional rack installer and have them replace the factory rack with new tracks like the Rhino Rack RTS545 - it will allow for the use of traditional Rhino, Yakima, Thule or similar roof rack systems and allow forward positioning of crossbars with plenty of room to clear the hatch with pretty much any cargo box size or shape. In addition, the tracks are way easier and more functional to re-position or adapt different types of mounts in the future. This does involve drilling into the roof so its not for the faint of heart but pretty standard for a professional installer.



I did something similar and replaced my factory rack with Front Runner Tracks which allowed me run my Packasport 90 and Yakima mounts and crossbars. Been running this for 2-3 years now without issue and one of the best things I did.
I also can suggest the Packasport box, which I love for skis/snowboards and the fiberglass & gelcoat construction, however I do think the side opening capabilities and height of the Yakima or Thule brands are more functional for storage purposes.

All good options here but thought I would just throw in my two cents....

Last edited by 2010riddle; 01-17-2019 at 05:18 PM.
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Old 01-17-2019, 04:06 PM #10
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I have a Thule Evolution 1600 and just purchased Malone aero cross bars for my factory rails. I think this setup should work pretty well and I trust them more than the factory crossbars which I currently have.
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Old 01-17-2019, 05:33 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jakub4 View Post
Here's a good comparison of some of the larger boxes available.
Thule Motion XT XL Review | OutdoorGearLab

We had a Thule Atlantis 1600xt, and now a Thule Motion XT XL mounted to our 2015 4runner limited, on factory cross bars.

Two negatives I experienced with both of these carriers on the OEM cross bars:
1. With the low cross bars, and max forward placement of the cross bars you are limited in being able to move the carrier forward/rear. You are limited in how far forward you can move the carrier, which you may need to do so it doesn't hit the rear hatch.
However, if you move it to far forward, the front of the carrier overhangs the front bar, resulting in turbulent air flow and bouncing of the carrier box against the roof. No bueno. Move it too far back to stabilize at higher speeds and it'll be hitting the spoiler when you open the hatch.

2. With how low the cross bars are, even if you get a Motion XT which has an antenna notch at the rear, the carrier rests on the antenna, and creates a visible distortion in the roof. No bueno. Even moved forward to the maximum resulted in this for me, same with the Thule Atlantis. I overcame this by replacing the antenna. For you, this is probably not an option since the sharkfin shape and contents changed in 2016? I believe.

If i were to do it again, or didn't have OEM cross bars, I would get a set of 2 Thule 7503 aeroblade edge bars, which sit slightly higher than OEM, but still look OEM-ish, and can be locked.

See this link at etrailer for details. They also have a few pictures and at least one video with these bars on a 4runner.
The motion XT XL was the one i was initially looking at paired with the aero bars you mentioned. I'm not sure if there is a way to tell if it will hit the antenna or hatch though.
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Old 01-17-2019, 05:39 PM #12
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Quote:
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When I put the factory rails and the Skybox 16 as far forward as possible I still hit the rear hatch. And with a heavy load it could rub the sat antenna. After I got a bit of extra height with the Thule crossbars it barely clears the hatch.

The short length of the factory rack is one of the worst design features on the 5th Gen 4R. The 4th Gen had a much longer rack system that went to the sunroof.
my skybox is angled in the rear to clear the hatch, no issues at all

i am surprised you report issues
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:13 PM #13
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my skybox is angled in the rear to clear the hatch, no issues at all

i am surprised you report issues
My skybox is also angled. Maybe Yakima increased the amount of forward/rear movement on the box track since I bought mine? My liftgate would open almost all the way with the Skybox on, but the spoiler still hits the box. We carried a rubber floor tile to stick between when we used it without the Thule setup. We have dogs so we regular access to the rear. Now that I have a Land Cruiser as my road trip/ski vehicle, the Skybox goes on it.
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Old 01-17-2019, 09:24 PM #14
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Have you thought about a full roof rack?
If you're looking at spending $1k+ that is nearing Prinsu/Gobi/Rhino rack price ranges.
You'd probably be able to fit a lot more gear on the rack and accessories + lights, etc.

Just a suggestion as once you enter that price range the options really start to open up.
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Old 01-17-2019, 10:37 PM #15
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I had a set of the Thule Aero Bars and Thule Force XL. Fit with no issues and cleared the hatch. I think all-in everything was about $700-$800. Got a good deal on Autoanything with coupons and free shipping to boot.
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