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Thule's Motion XT Cargo Box Earns a Ride on Your Next Road-Trip

The Thule Motion XT rooftop cargo box is lightweight, easy to mount on any crossbars, simple to lock and secure, and looks like it’s part of the car. It should be your extra road-trip passenger for the foreseeable future.


It took me longer to unbox and dispose of the packaging than it took my wife and I to securely put the Motion XT onto our Outback - ten minutes flat. I once owned a similarly sized fiberglass cargo box that was injury-inducing to lift and mount with two people over a span of 20 minutes. With the Motion XT weighing in at under 50 pounds, I probably could have hefted it onto the bars solo. After twisting the Thule bar claws until they clicked, it was part of the car. I was done.

Slightly disappointed with the ease, I started pacing around the car trying to find fault. Remembering that my old box had issues latching all the lock points, I grabbed the keys to give it a go on the Motion XT. Thule won’t let you open either side of the box without the keys, and it won’t let you have your keys back until all latches are secure. Assuming the Thule key is on the car’s keyring, you’re not going anywhere unless the cargo box is completely secure. Foolproof.

Loading it from either side is easy as long as you’re not trying to heft boxes of books or bags of concrete up there. We stuffed it with two of Thule’s massive Chasm duffel bags, a carry-on spinner, some beach chairs, toys, sunshade, etc., and there was still room to spare.

The car was packed and I could see completely out the back windows. I can’t remember the last time that happened. I’m realizing that our dog can come on trips again without fear of being crushed by a stack of ratchet-strapped luggage.


Still sure I’d unearth a downside, I made sure to record and reset the average MPG data for our trip. After over a thousand miles, it lost me just 0.5 MPG average compared to my wife’s daily driving. The mounted and filled box cost less than $2 total in lost fuel economy. I listened for excessive wind noise at interstate speeds, but I struggled to hear anything I could attribute to the Motion XT over the car and road.

I can’t come up with a single legitimate fault to Thule’s Motion XT cargo box. In just one excursion, it’s earned a ride on all my future road trips. It deserves a perch on your vehicle as well.

Contributor and Researcher, Kinja Deals at the Inventory