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Cargo Carrier Options for 2015 Toyota Highlander with Panoramic Sunroof and Factory Roof Rack

Question:

hi, I dont know which one I should choose. I am debating between Rightline sports 1 with 12 cub. and Rightline Jr 9 cub. I have locked not justified cross bars on top, with 24 inches in between. I am planning a 12 hours road trip. I know Toyota roof cross bar can holds up to 150lb in total, but since I am not going to purchase the roof basket, I am thinking put the roof bag on top of the roof with roof mat underneath, not sure if this is going to work. If yes, how should I install/tight the roof bag. Or it is fully not recommend to have a roof bag on top of panoramic sunroof. thanks,

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Expert Reply:

Panoramic sunroofs and other such glass structures built into a vehicle roof are not designed to carry weight. Your Highlander owner's manual should indicate what the roof weight capacity is, and chances are that it also says not to place any cargo at all on top of the panoramic sunroof.

If this is the case, your options are to install a metal roof basket or ABS plastic cargo box on the existing crossbars, or to use a 2-inch hitch-mount cargo carrier like # C18151 along with a weatherproof cargo bag # 988501. The two linked articles on cargo carriers may help you decide which option is best for your particular cargo requirements.

For a roof box confirmed to fit your factory roof rack Thule recommends the 18-cubic-foot Motion XT, part # TH629806. An advantage of this type of carrier is that it can be locked. If you prefer a metal cargo basket then you can use their Canyon XT Roof Cargo Basket # TH859XT. The benefit of this carrier's light weight - only 29-lbs - is that more of your roof rack's weight capacity will be available for your actual cargo. The Motion XT weighs 46-lbs and the Canyon XT over 50-lbs even when they are empty.

If you'd like to tell me a bit about the cargo you need to transport I can fine-tune my recommendations to your needs and preferred budget.

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