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Monday, June 30, 2014

2011 Tiguan Roof Rack Decision

Getting a new vehicle comes at a cost. Not only do I have a car payment again but I’m faced with the added costs of a new roof rack should I want to use my kayak or take my mountain bike anywhere without jamming it inside the car.

The complication I had was finding a roof rack that wouldn’t impair my ability to open my panoramic sunroof when installed. Having had a Thule roof rack stolen from my previous car even with the security locks I wanted to check out all the other options.

I could pick up the OEM roof rack but it’s ugly and you are limited to the space between the feet and the heavy plastic shields which isn’t enough to allow me to take 2 kayaks and my bike with me at the same time. It is important that I am able to take multiple things with me when I go on small road trips. The OEM rack just doesn’t afford me the space and look I want.

Yakima offers several options for the Tiguans. The lowest cost option is the Railgrab. While it appears that this option will give me the clearance with the bar it’s hardly an attractive option. The round cross bar is boring and pedestrian in appearance. The second option is the Whisperbar rails system. These are really low profile and are a very attractive option. They seem to barely change the overall all appearance of the car when in use however the fit tips indicate that you should remove the bars before using the roof. I really want to be able to leave the base cross bars on the car and only remove the attachments when not using them. Since it doesn’t offer the clearance needed its out. The third and fourth options are the Whisperbar Through Bar and HD Bar systems but those aren’t for vehicles which already have the roof rails.

That led me back to Thule. Thule also had several options for my car. The base mounts for my vehicle were the same but the difference was the bars. The basic SquareBar’s are not attractive and also any attachments have clamps that hang below the bar.  I would need to be very careful not to open the roof when the bar is in use or risk dragging the roof down a jagged edge of a clamp screw. It does appear that the bar can stay on the vehicle while the roof is in use. The second option was the Aeroblade’s. The aeroblade also have the same t-track that allows many standard attachments to use the adaptor packs that keep the bar clamp free. That means no hanging clamps or screws that could damage the roof.  With the Aeroblades there are two options like the Yakima’s WhisperBars. They offer an integrated bar and foot pack or the separate bar and foot pack. The integrated AeroBlade Edge fit guy mentions that the roof may not be used with the bars in place.  The separate bar and footpack didn’t say it would impact the use of the sunroof.

Just to be on the safe side I went to the local Eastern Mountain Sports and took a bar outside and held it about the height it would be with the Rapid Crossroad foot pack’s and tested the roof. It cleared but not with a huge amount of space so we will have to see when the rack is fully loaded if it clears. I plan to install it this week and will add another post when I do.

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