Adding a cargo box to your SUV, hatchback, or any other suitable vehicle helps improve your organization, comfort, and carrying capacity. The boxes come in a vast range of sizes and can be used to accommodate your gear, i.e., skis. The boxes also vary in durability, security, aesthetics, ease of use, etc.
The best currently available brands are designed by various recognizable brands like Yakima and Thule. However, other brands like SportRack and INNO have made some solid contributions.
Here's a breakdown of the market that includes compact carriers, premium luxury models, and all-rounders under $2000 that can get the job done.
Rooftop Cargo Boxes Under 2000
$800: Thule Motion XT L
- Capacity: 22, 18 (Alpine), 18, 16 cu. ft.
- Dimensions: 77 by 36 by 17 inches
- Skis: 5 to 7 pairs (175cm long)
- Access: Dual-side
There is little room for improvement with the Thule's Motion XT L. It has the best features, quality, and ease of use. The rooftop cargo box stands out and features a refined fit and finish, has a great operation experience, and a user-friendly installation. Additionally, it's fairly priced for its amazing features and quality.
It's difficult to go wrong with Thule's all-rounder, whether you plan on road-tripping and need some extra space or are a weekend warrior that wants to blend in on the city streets. You could choose to save some money and opt for more affordable options; however, there are some things you may not be aware of that you are giving up on.
The Motion XT L has one of the easiest and most efficient installation mechanisms. It uses PowerClick mounts that make an audible click when properly installed, helping you secure the cargo box to your roof in minutes. This feature is especially important if you regularly switch your cargo box between different vehicles.
Additionally, the Motion XT is easy to close, open, and secure, courtesy of its large handles on the sides, the smooth operating locks, and the stiff and perfectly fitting lid. Lastly, it has a top-notch nose design with an extra solid base and an overlap that provides better wind resistance. All these features make it one of the best cargo boxes currently available. you can purchase it at Amazon here.
$679: Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite
- Capacity: 21, 18, 16, 15 (Lo), 12 cu. Ft.
- Dimensions: 81 by 36 by 15 inches
- Skis: 5 to 7 pairs (185cm long)
- Access: Dual side
The Yakima Skybox has a quality build, extremely versatile design, and competitive price. While the Motion XT is exceptional and well-rounded, Yakima's skybox is also quite good and can do the job at competitive prices. This is why Yakima's Skybox is quite popular amongst most buyers.
Yakima's 16 cu. Ft. model costs $679 while it's 18 cu. Ft. version costs $729. Yakima produces durable cargo boxes you can use to store your gear.
They are designed with a tool-free installation mechanism that accommodates most after-market and factory racks. They are also available in various sizes ranging from 12 to 21 cu. Ft. including a low clearance model and one with a 12-inch width that leaves enough space to store other items like a bicycle.
The skybox is designed to withstand any stress from being on the road. It's made with rugged ABS plastic, with aerodynamic shapes, which taper at your vehicle's rear to accommodate the hatch and antenna. However, Yakima's skybox lags a bit behind when looking into the details.
For instance, its turn handle requires more force to work. It isn't easy to use with one hand; plus, it sticks in place when frozen. Additionally, Yakima's cargo box requires more finagling to place it properly. This can be a downside if you regularly install and reinstall your cargo box. However, the cargo box is relatively reliable and shouldn't be dismissed entirely. you can purchase it at Amazon here.
$400: Sportrack Vista XL
- Capacity: 18 cu. Ft.
- Dimensions: 63 by 38 by 19 inches
- Skis: N/A
- Access: Rear
The Sportrack Vista XL is spacious and has an easy installation at a low cost. You could choose to spend $1500 on a cargo box; however, the Vista can still do the same job at a relatively low cost. It has a lot of things going for it compared to other cargo boxes. Additionally, it comes fully assembled and is easy to install compared to other cargo boxes.
The sport rack Vista XL has more storage space because of its 19 inches height than other sleeker cargo boxes with a 15-inch height. However, it still has some design flaws, such as its rear opening mechanism, which can be awkward. Often, most people prefer cargo boxes that open from the side.
It also has a short 63-inch length that makes storing longer items impossible. For instance, it doesnt accommodate skis. Additionally, the cargo box has a flimsy lid than other similar products in this category. Also, its U-bolt mounting mechanism isn't as sleek as more modern clamp styles.
It's also not aesthetically pleasing compared to more expensive cargo boxes; however, its $400 price tag compensates for these drawbacks. Thus, it's the best alternative if you are on a budget. you can purchase it at Amazon here.
$690: INNO Wedge 660
- Capacity: 14.1, 13.4, 12.4, 10.6 cu. Ft.
- Dimensions: 80 by 33 by 11 inches
- Skis: 6 to 8 pairs (185cm long)
- Access: Dual side
The INNO Wedge 660 has a contoured base that helps you keep a low profile without affecting its depth. This comes in handy if you frequent enclosed parking lots or garages. Most cargo box models add an extra inch or two to your vehicle (combining your box and rack's height). This can be a little tricky for your driving experience and safety, particularly for SUVs or vans.
The cargo box has a sleek, aerodynamic shape that accommodates the rear hatch and antennae and reduces wind noise and drag. However, this cargo box provides an option for people that want to keep a low profile. The cargo box provides 11 inches of depth and only rises by 9.6 inches above the rack's crossbars. It also has other features that you should consider, such as premium fit and finish and easy, tool-free installation.
The INNO is more accessible than the sport rack Vista because you can open it from both sides. It is one of the low-profile rooftops on the market; however, a few other cargo boxes like the Thule Apline also come close. If you are worried about clearance,14, 12, 11, then the INNO cargo box may work for you; but they also offer other variants that you can choose from. you can purchase it at Amazon here.
$469: Yakima RocketBox Pro 11
- Capacity: 14, 12, 11 cu. Ft.
- Dimensions: 89 by 24 by 16 inches
- Skis: 210cm long
- Access: Dual side
If you are into boating, surfing, or biking, there must be a lot of competition for your rooftop space. Thus, getting a wide rooftop cargo isn't an ideal solution in such instances. Yakima's Rocketbox has a narrow profile that doesnt take up much space on your rooftop rack, leaving room for you to add other gear.
Thus, the best thing you could do is buy a rooftop cargo box that's wide enough to store your cargo and narrow enough to provide space for other items, ergo, Yakima's RcketBox Pro 11. The cargo box is 24 inches wide, making it one of the narrowest cargo boxes on the market. Installing the cargo box leaves you enough room to fit other equipment for a wholesome trip.
Yakima's RocketBox roof box is an entry-level product available in 14 and 12 cubic foot capacities. You'll appreciate their tool-free installation mechanism, separate latch plus locking mechanism, and dual-sided opening if you are on a budget. Both variants are far wider than the 33 and 36-inch variants.
However, many buyers have stated that the RocketBox has a flimsy build, with a nose design that doesn't resist the weather are efficient as other high-end models. However, it would be good to note that the RocketBox is fairly good for its price and a great option if you are on a budget. You should also remember that most vehicles have a 165-pound dynamic load limit which you should remember before loading the cargo box with too much gear. you can purchase it at Amazon here.
There are lots of things to consider when purchasing a rooftop cargo box. Most of these reasons include:
- The amount of cargo being transported
- The type of cargo you wish to transport
- Your vehicle
- Your vehicle's roof rack
- Cost of the cargo box
You'll have to take some time and find out which type of cargo box suits your needs the most and whether the product is within your budget range before making your purchase. Failure to do this may lead you to make the wrong purchase, which is a waste of money. However, these are the best cargo boxes that will help out if you are on a budget.