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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, all! First post here ...

I have a 2008 Outback XT with some form of Yakima Skybox that's 16" tall. It has about 3" of clearance in my garage, which is 80".

I've been thinking about upgrading, and I'm struggling to find ANY vehicle that meets all my requirements.

Anyway, long story short, here are my questions:

1) Do you have a current model Outback with a roof box that fits an 80" garage? If so, what box and bars?

2) Will the 2018 be the same height as the 2017?

Specifically (and these may be contradictory requirements), I'd like a roof box that's low profile enough to fit the garage, long enough to fit 185cm skis with a few other pairs as well, and short enough to allow the hatch to open.

Putting skis inside the car isn't an option, and neither is a roof rack - my skis travel with me pretty regularly, and I don't want them filthy and crudded up.

Help! I'm thinking of going Tacoma with topper ...

Full-ish requirements if anyone's wondering:
  • Fit multiple pairs of skis up to 185 in an enclosed space
  • Skis do not impact second row
  • Dogs in second row
  • Hitch for bike rack
  • Fits in garage with storage solution (parking garages are also in play)
  • Not *too* wide because I have to use city parking for work
  • Decent ground clearance for trailhead approaches
 

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2017 OB 2.5 Lim/ 2005 STI 400 WHP
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I have a 2017 outback with hitch for bike Racks.
I use the yakima skybox lopro. It's specifically for skis. It's only about 11 inches tall. I made custom rails that only add about an inch to the height of the 2017 outback that Google says is 66 inches tall.

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Discussion Starter #4
I have a 2017 outback with hitch for bike Racks.
I use the yakima skybox lopro. It's specifically for skis. It's only about 11 inches tall. I made custom rails that only add about an inch to the height of the 2017 outback that Google says is 66 inches tall.

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Thanks! I'd prefer not to DIY, but this is a good start.

I'm not wedded to Yakima - my hitch rack is a Thule, so swapping to Thule would save me a key. Not that it's particularly critical.
 

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Thanks! I'd prefer not to DIY, but this is a good start.

I'm not wedded to Yakima - my hitch rack is a Thule, so swapping to Thule would save me a key. Not that it's particularly critical.
Thule also makes a super profile one that is 24 inches wide and considerable cheaper. On paper it is a bit taller but it dipps bellow the cross bars front and rear. I used to own it before 3 kids. It's plenty path enough for 2 adults skis poles boots and helmets.

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You might have to lengthen the rear track on either one. I did. I could go over the pros and cons of both but if it's only for skis and it's only for 2 adults get the smaller one. It fits significantly taller objects. It's way smaller and lighter. I can put it on by myself but that's not the case with the yakima.

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*** And it fit in the garage BEFORE I lowered her ***
 
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The height difference between 2008 and 2018 is 2.9 inches assuming both come with racks.


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Discussion Starter #12
After carefully reading the 2018 data, looks like the Limited has these integrated crossbars that are a bit lower than the Touring setup would be with added crossbars. I *assume* I could use the Limited crossbars to get a little space.
 

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The 16" height of your Yakima Skybox is pretty much the issue here - that really stands out as a tall cartopper. I understand you may want to preserve your cargo carrying capacity up top, so thinking of your options here:

  • Can you sell or trade the Yakima for something shorter in height, but longer and wider? For my lifestyle, tall really doesn't help that much, whereas length and width helps a lot.
  • Take a look at your garage door, which I assume is the cause of the clearance issue. The upper stop on an automatic door opener is adjustable beyond where the springs and cables naturally cause it to stop, but most installers let it stop there.
  • The garage door tracks can also be raised a touch and a longer vertical track installed (don' try this yourself unless you know what you're doing, BTW).
  • Have a machinist fabricate some custom crossbars that drop the box an inch or two down to almost the roofline of the car
  • Or, you could just decide to hang on to that great 2008 XT that already works with this box, and call it all good!
 

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After carefully reading the 2018 data, looks like the Limited has these integrated crossbars that are a bit lower than the Touring setup would be with added crossbars. I *assume* I could use the Limited crossbars to get a little space.
The dealer would totally let you take the car home for a test fit. They did for me.

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Discussion Starter #15
The 16" height of your Yakima Skybox is pretty much the issue here - that really stands out as a tall cartopper. I understand you may want to preserve your cargo carrying capacity up top, so thinking of your options here:

  • Can you sell or trade the Yakima for something shorter in height, but longer and wider? For my lifestyle, tall really doesn't help that much, whereas length and width helps a lot.
  • Or, you could just decide to hang on to that great 2008 XT that already works with this box, and call it all good!
Thanks, John! There are a number of boxes that are a lower, but longer, and that would solve another tricky issue - my husband's 190cm powder skis! I was a bit shell shocked by the price of some of the thin line boxes, but then I realized that I was just out of touch with roof box prices in general. I also wasn't sure if a longer/different box would play well with the hatch. I remember getting a short box specifically for that issue.

The lowest profile seems to be 11". It was hard for me to picture 5" making a difference - but when I think about it more rationally, a 5" difference does help with a 3" gap and a 3" taller vehicle.

As for the XT - I mean, it is pretty great. But there are reasons I'm looking at a new vehicle. Manual transmission was mandatory when I got it - now I just want to drive up I-70 to the Eisenhower in traffic without wanting to hang myself. The seats are also uncomfortable for my husband's broad shoulders, and I get to hear about it every winter weekend when we drive to the mountains. And in the three weeks before I started this thread, I had an electrical issue, needed the brakes ground, and the power steering block started leaking like a faucet, totaling about $2k in repairs. Amortized over the last few years, I've paid very little for maintenance - but it got me thinking. And of course, new cars have new features!

The dealer would totally let you take the car home for a test fit. They did for me.
Sorry for disappearing - I got a little lost with all of the phone screen caps, and then I got distracted by life. Thank you, btw - I did do a lot of that, even have a spreadsheet for it - but it's hard to add A + B + C and be sure the numbers are precise. Personal experience always counts for more in my book.

Since starting this thread, I've done a lot of thinking and also visited a dealership, although I didn't want to test drive just yet. They will let me (carefully) attempt to drive the new Outback into my garage with the co-branded Thule box, which on paper at least is long enough for my husband's longest skis. That box is ostensibly 17", so I would think it won't work, but I'd be happy to try it. It comes down to the rail and crossbar heights.

Apparently the Touring comes with a heated steering well, while the Limited does not. And the Limited has those nifty "retractable" crossbars (really they fold in - they don't retract), while the Touring does not. I'm in Colorado with perpetually cold hands, so the Touring wins, despite the taller crossbars. (V6 is mandatory - I'm not even convinced that will make up for my beloved turbo at altitude, but something's gotta give.)


Some nice improvements I noted over my 2008 -

The ability to lock the dual zone climate control, and the fact that it goes down to 60 instead of 65, and at that point doesn't immediately blast you with cold air. When I'm driving and it's 9 degrees out and I'm wearing ski clothes, this behavior is rather annoying.

Super exciting - the Touring lets you pop the rear seats from the far back. If I had a dime for every time I was at the hatch with my hands full, then realized I needed to go flip the back seats down ...
 

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I have the model below the touring. I thought the roof race was better until I started to use it. The roof rack on the touring is WAY WAY better.

I think all trims in all models have the lever to fold the seats down from the trunk.

Another major plus about the touring is the headlights, they are soo much better than the halogen bulbs. But my favorite is the brown leather. Way better than white, I do like my black but would have preferred brown. And as a none musician I think the stereo is fantastic, way better than any other car I have owned.

The H6 engine is way smoother than the turbo, it is a great engine. I have the turbo in my other car. While altitude will change the performance of a turbo car, a naturally aspirated engine will loose about 3% power for every 1000' above sea level. But my old 2.0 4 cylinder legacy wagon made it over the I 70 passes in Colorado at normal speed. I just had to be a little more forceful with the gas.
 

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I have the model below the touring. I thought the roof race was better until I started to use it. The roof rack on the touring is WAY WAY better.

I think all trims in all models have the lever to fold the seats down from the trunk.

Another major plus about the touring is the headlights, they are soo much better than the halogen bulbs. But my favorite is the brown leather. Way better than white, I do like my black but would have preferred brown. And as a none musician I think the stereo is fantastic, way better than any other car I have owned.

The H6 engine is way smoother than the turbo, it is a great engine. I have the turbo in my other car. While altitude will change the performance of a turbo car, a naturally aspirated engine will loose about 3% power for every 1000' above sea level. But my old 2.0 4 cylinder legacy wagon made it over the I 70 passes in Colorado at normal speed. I just had to be a little more forceful with the gas.
Thanks! What do you not like about your rack vs the Touring?

I'm not a huge fan of the brown leather, but it's ... fine? Husband likes the green; I hate it. But it's *my* car =) I mean, would be. Of course. Of the available options, I like blue best. The white and black aren't sparkly at all; turns out I really like sparkly. I've also had two white cars, and I'm not a fan (not to mention that they are invisible against snow).

There's a dealership in Silverthorne, so I could take a test drive there to feel out I-70. I'd feel a bit guilty as it's unlikely I'd buy there when there's a dealership only five minutes away from my house by bike. Also, if I did find it sluggish, I'm not sure it matters. The S# mode on my Outback + manual + turbo sure is nice for hills at altitude - but with all my other requirements, the Outback is the best bet, not even considering how much cheaper it is than anything else I'd considered with similar features. Three Subarus in a row ... I may be a bit of a devotée.
 

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Thanks! What do you not like about your rack vs the Touring?
A few major problems with my roof rack.
*its so far back on the roof. Many roof top boxes require modification to clear the tailgate.
*the bars are so close together. They need more spread. yes you can move the back one further to the rear but not if you want to use your trunk.
*The shape of the bars are only on subaru. They do not fit many bike racks such as thule or yakima. There are entire threads about that. You can buy adapters from subau but they are $20 for 4

The touring I think has advantages, you can just take the cross bars off. Then you get a way better roof line. you can adjust the spread. you can mount the front bar way further forward. bike race are made to fit with that standard crossbar. The roof rack is wider, you can buy even wider bars at any REI.

the touring also had the steering responsive headlamps.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
A few major problems with my roof rack.
*its so far back on the roof. Many roof top boxes require modification to clear the tailgate.
*the bars are so close together. They need more spread. yes you can move the back one further to the rear but not if you want to use your trunk.
*The shape of the bars are only on subaru. They do not fit many bike racks such as thule or yakima. There are entire threads about that. You can buy adapters from subau but they are $20 for 4

The touring I think has advantages, you can just take the cross bars off. Then you get a way better roof line. you can adjust the spread. you can mount the front bar way further forward. bike race are made to fit with that standard crossbar. The roof rack is wider, you can buy even wider bars at any REI.

the touring also had the steering responsive headlamps.
Now that you mention it, the sales guy also pointed out the issues with rack positioning. Not being able to use "whatever" rack I want is a definite deal breaker. Removing the cross bars, not so much - they stayed on my WRX till I totaled it, and then just got moved to the Outback, where they have stayed ever since. (Eventually I'll need to figure out how to deal with crossbars so rusted that they won't fit through the tower holes anymore ...)

Definitely sold on the Touring, and after all this noodling I'm pretty sure I can get a box slim enough to work, even if it's not *my* box. Now just need to actually test drive it ...
 
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