SportRack Cargo Box Review

SportRack Cargo Box ReviewThe SportRack roof cargo box is a durable hard shell carriage that conveniently helps you carry extra gear by decongesting your car’s cabin. Whether you’re off to a family vacation, camping, or skiing, the roof cargo box will fit everything you throw into it.

Furthermore, the roof box for car can be mounted on the vehicle and removed in next to no time using 4 easy lock clamps at the bottom of the box. A quick installation, load it, lock it, and you are all set for the next adventure.

Thule Group acquired SportRack in 2006, a global leader in making outdoor accessories. That revolutionized the quality of products made by SportRack, and to date, all their roof rack storage boxes always stand out in the market.

Key Features

  • Tool-free mounting –The quick-release U-bolt mounting mechanism makes for easy installation and removal of the box.
  • Durable – It is made from UV-resistant ABS material.
  • Rear and passenger opening mechanism – Easy loading or unloading away from the oncoming traffic.
  • It does not leak – The vinyl hole cover seals off any moisture, keeping the box’s interior and your cargo dry.
  • Excellent aerodynamics – Low profile and angled contours design to minimize air resistance and fuel consumption
What we like What we don’t like
Durable and quality construction Basic construction, not stylish
Flexibility- easy to mount and remove Buckling at high speeds
Compatible with most factory racks The lock clamps are made of plastic
Security locks to secure cargo when in transit
Reasonably priced
Low gas mileage


Sportrack roof cargo carriers are made from high-quality ABS material. ABS is an amorphous plastic material that is tough, easy to thermoform, and has outstanding impact resistance. This stellar construction makes SportRack roof cargo boxes durable chip-resistant while offering good dimensional stability.

The ABS is further UV treated to exceptionally withstand weather and chemical corrosion. It enables the roof box for car to retain its vibrant color and shape despite prolonged use in harsh weather conditions.

ABS has low acquisition and treatment costs, making the roof rack storage boxes more affordable to most households. However, this does not compromise the overall quality and sturdiness of SportRack’s products.

The sole blemish of the material used in construction is that the 2″ clamps are plastic. The plastic is susceptible to corrosion by the steel U-bolts in the long run. Using metal clamps would provide a more durable service life.


Thanks to Thule’s U-bolt mounting mechanism, this box can be installed and unmounted within five minutes. Position the box on top of the load bars and insert the U-bolts below the box.

Once the bolts pop into the interior of the box, insert the easy lock clamps. This will effectively hold the roof box for car firmly and securely.

To unmount the box, unlock the clamp system, unwind the U-bolt threads, and it will seamlessly detach from the roof rack. Exercise caution as you fasten the bolts since the steel U-brackets have been known to scratch the crossbars.

Small changes in positioning will strongly affect both the vehicle’s and box’s aerodynamical properties. Therefore, the roof box should be positioned centrally on the roof, towards the vehicle’s rear end, with the narrow end facing the front.

This will minimize air resistance, provide better vision and keep the wind noise at bay. However, you shouldn’t set the roof box far backward that it interferes with the opening and closing of the rear hatch.


A roof rack storage box is just as good as the roof rack installed on. If your vehicle comes with a factory-installed rack, finding a compatible SportRack box is easy-peasy. This is because, the box is compatible with Thule System racks, square bars, and round bars.

SportRack boxes are long and slender, requiring plenty of hatch clearance to be installed appropriately. The hatch clearance is determined by measuring the distance from the center of the front crossbar right up to the closest part of your trunk, which is level with the crossbar. It would be best if you opened the trunk door before measuring begins.

Therefore, these roof cargo box are a good fit for owners of minivans, CUVs, SUVs, and station wagons. For sedans and hatchbacks, the boxes tend to overhang on the windshield. The use of adjustable racks may suffice, but there are plenty of inconveniences during long drives and unloading cargo.

For accurate sizing, you can check with the SportRack website’s drop-down menu. It offers a comprehensive listing of all compatible roof and back roof cargo carrier based on your vehicle’s make, model, and year of manufacture. If the search yields no listing of your car, there are no compatible boxes available.


The SportRack roof cargo carriers have a low profile and are bullet-shaped. Moreover, they have angled contours lining the top lid of the box. This ingenious design minimizes drag, which affects how your vehicle accelerates maneuvers at high speeds.

Having a roof box for car installed will have an impact on your fuel economy. As such, SportRack engineers work hard to ensure this is kept at a bare minimum. The gas mileage loss rarely exceeds 5%, that most drivers won’t notice any difference in consumption.

Ease of Use

SportRack’s boxes feature the rear opening for the Vista model and passenger side opening for the Horizon and Skyline models. These designs guarantee your safety as you are able to load or unload your gear away from oncoming traffic.

The downside is it may prove tedious to get to items that may have moved further forward in the roof cargo carrier.
The box’s security features also make it easy to use. For instance, all your belongings are kept intact thanks to the integrated locking system. Additionally, the boxes have centralized locks for added security.

However, be careful when opening and closing your roof cargo carrier. For example, when you apply excessive pressure on the lock or use a rusted key, you can damage the locks. Be gentle as a defective lock poses a danger to other road users and may lead to the loss of precious gear.

Models of SportRack Cargo Box

1. SportRack Skyline XL Cargo Box

The Skyline is an 18 cubic foot roof box for car that is perfect for camping. It is shorter than its predecessors (55 x 48 x 14 inches) but has the largest loading capacity, 150 pounds. This will come in handy if you need extra room in the car for your friends or family to sit comfortably.

Being shorter and weighing a mere 30 pounds, this box fits onto roofs of most sedans and hatchback models. Additionally, the box conveniently opens from the passenger side for easy access away from traffic.

However, driving with the Skyline while it is empty is somewhat uncomfortable due to the rattling sounds it produces.

‎Nonetheless, the biggest concern with the Skyline is that it raises your vehicle’s top clearance by a few feet. On the highway, it predisposes the vehicle to crosswinds, significantly impacting the fuel economy and handling of the car. Besides, you will have to be extra cautious when pulling into underground parking lots and garages due to the height restrictions.

SportRack Skyline XL Cargo Box
  • Made of high-density material for added stability
  • Passenger side opening for access away from traffic
  • Easy to attach and remove from the vehicle
  • Includes locks to secure contents in the box
  • U-bolt mounting hardware kit is included for the installation of the Skyline XL cargo box on most vehicles with factory installed or aftermarket roof racks rated at 150 lbs

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. SportRack Horizon Cargo Box

The Horizon is made for skiing and fishing enthusiasts. It is narrow and long, able to transport up to 8 210cm-long skis, 4 snowboards, or 5 fishing rods. This slim profile ensures there’s plenty of room left on the rack for you to haul other gear.

It comes in 3 distinctive sizes; the Alpine (88.4″ x 20.7″ x 15.9″), Large (75.9″ x 33.2″ x 16.1″) and the X-Large (91″ x 30.7″ x 16.5″). They have a volume of 11, 16, and 17 cubic feet, respectively. Despite the size and volume variations, all of them have their load capacity capped at 110 pounds.

Similar to the Skyline, it opens from the passenger side. It goes without saying; do not exceed the roof rack storage box load capacity to avoid breakages, distortions, and accidents. The roof boxes come with lifetime warranties; however, SportRack won’t cover any damages caused by the customer’s negligence.

SportRack Horizon Cargo Box
  • 11 cubic foot (311 L) cargo capacity
  • Made from rugged, impact resistant ABS material
  • Narrow and long profile is ideal for skis/snowboards and leaves room on your roof rack to mount other accessories
  • Passenger side opening for easy loading and unloading away from traffic
  • Easy to install or remove using the quick release attachment kit

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. Vista XL Cargo Box

The Vista XL is the largest roof box for car on our list. The 28 pound Vista has an 18 cubic foot cargo capacity thanks to its colossal size, (63″ x 38″ x 19″). Unfortunately, despite its size, it can only accommodate 100 pounds of solid cargo space. This is attributable to the box’s base material, which is not sturdy as the previous models.

Another unique feature of the Vista is its rear opening mechanism. It provides easy loading and unloading away from traffic but limits your access to items lying further forward in the box.

Lastly, the installation of this box is much trickier. SportRack recommends the minimum crossbar spacing to be 23⅝ inches while the maximum spacing is 29¾ inches. If your vehicle’s pre-installed or market rails are too broad, you will be required to drill new holes to install the Vista roof cargo carrier properly.

Vista XL Cargo Box
  • 18 cubic foot (510 L) internal cargo capacity
  • Made from durable UV-resistant ABS material
  • Rear opening for easy access away from traffic
  • Tool-free mounting hardware for easy installation and removal
  • Includes key and lock to secure contents in the box, and the box to your rack

Last update on 2024-06-20 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

The market is flooded with numerous options, but you can never go wrong with a product from Thule. The lifetime warranty gives you peace of mind that every SportRack roof box for car you’re buying will give you not only value for money but also durable and reliable service.

If you’re looking to save a little bit of money purchasing a durable roof cargo box, SportRack should be the model on top of your list. The quality of construction is impeccable, the fuel economy is negligible, and the quick mounting hardware works so seamlessly.

The side lock barely keeps the lid shut under strong winds. An additional safety lock, especially at the front end, would ultimately enhance its sturdiness and do away with the negative reviews.

All in all, it may not be aesthetically pleasing or have the largest loading capacities, but it does offer impressive, all-around performance.

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