Like most Subaru owners, I’ve been very loyal over the years. Since 1996, I’ve owned 5 Subaru wagons–one Legacy wagon and 4 Outbacks. When I consider purchasing another vehicle, I really don’t wander much from the Subaru lineup because of the overall value Subaru provides. They are also a very progressive company with environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes.
Now all that may change with the 2010 Subaru Outback. Not only is it built unnecessarily like a wanna-be SUV with extra plastics and “tough” styling, they’ve completely missed the mark on one of the most important features–the factory roof rack!
Most roof racks are simply an open rail going front-to-back on the vehicle. This allows for easy installation of any aftermarket crossbar from Yakima, Thule or others. Being stuck with the factory crossbars is an extremely limiting factor, in my opinion and here’s why:
- Subaru is in the car business, Yakima and Thule are in the roof rack business… ’nuff said
- Genuine Subaru accessories are typically 4-5 years behind in technology
- The factory crossbars typically have lower load ratings
- Factory crossbars are funky shapes, thus limiting the bike and ski rack attachments
- Factory crossbars are limited in width and will only allow 2-3 bikes or a small box and a single bike… aftermarket bars can be set up wider to accept more bikes, skis and a larger box AT THE SAME TIME
Not only are the above limiting factors in play fro the 2010 Subaru Outback, but the open area of the crossbar rails (at center) I’m told is a mere 21-inches wide–not wide enough for a sturdy bike rack, cargo box attachment or enough for a stable ski rack.
Here’s a snippet from the crew at Rack Attack Portland about the 2010 Subaru Outback factory roof rack:
So we’ve had several of the Outbacks in our shop now, and I’ve got good news and more bad news.Good news–the Yakima Skybox 16 will work. This will be the biggest box we can go with, and it will hold your 185cm skis. The Thule Atlantis 1800xt is officially too big to clear the hatchback, though.
Bad news now–the crossbar spread for the above options are an almost pointless 21″–less than you will need for boards or boats over 8′, and too narrow for any cargo baskets or boxes. Skis and most bike racks will be OK. Yakima grants you 150lbs capacity, and Thule will only let you slide with 110lbs.
Well, that pretty much sums it up from the rack experts at RackAttack.com.
As a loyal Subaru owner, this is disappointing, but my disappointment is tempered because my next vehicle will likely be of the 7-passenger variety. Just so long as the Subaru Tribeca doesn’t lose its standard roof rails (hint, hint, Subaru!), it may still be in the running against the Volvo XC90 and other similar mid-size SUV’s with 3 rows of seating.
Look at the pictures to the right… one of these roof rack rails is not like the others.
More Info: See the Rack Fail for Yourself at Subaru.com