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Malone Roof Rack Vs. Thule Roof Rack

Question:

Can you compare the quality of the materials used crossbars and foot kits/towers for Malone universal crossbar system and Thule Crossroads 450 with square bar? Is quality why Malone is so much less expensive?

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Expert Reply:

The Malone Universal Crossbar System # MPG201 is a more economical choice but it still does a good job. The design and quality of Thule's system is why they have such a large difference in price. Whether you go with the Thule Crossroads system # TH712400 # TH450R or Thule Evo system # TH712400 # TH710401 they both are going to be a high quality roof rack system. The Thule racks both have a weight capacity of 220 lbs compared to Malones 165 lbs capacity. You should still check with your Impreza owners manual to see your roofs weight capacity and go with whichever is the lowest.

From my experience with all of these systems, the Malone bars do the job of giving you a roof rack and safely hauling your gear but Thule has a better fit with a sleeker design. The quality of the foot pack for Malone leaves a lot to be desired compared to Thule. It has more open spots where the pieces don't quite fit flush. These areas are prone to producing louder wind noises. No roof rack system will be completely quiet and Thule is no different but it is not as loud compared to the Malone roof rack and it looks better. One thing I would consider is a fairing for square cross-bars. The Thule AirScreen XT Fairing # TH82WV is a good option.

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