Subaru Forester is a great car, no doubts about that, it is not known as the other Subaru cars like the outback, but it is at the same level of excellence.
With that said, this car has problems, the most obvious one is the limited storage space, especially if you have a large family.
To solve this problem, you have two choices, buy a new car with more cargo capacity or getting a roof cargo box.
buying a roof cargo box for your Subaru is clearly the right one, but with the huge number of roof boxes on the market, it is not easy to make a choice.
In this guide, we have only listed the boxes that we tested on our own car, the results were different from brand to brand, but in the end, we created this final list of the best roof cargo boxes for the Subaru forester, outback, and Impreza.
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Table of Contents
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Thule Force is, without any doubts, the best roof cargo box for Subaru Forester, its large number, great manufacturing quality, and sleek design improves its performance in comparison to the other roof boxes on this list.
Its 11 cubic feet carrying capacity is not the biggest, but there are other factors used to judge a roof box.
Its Power Click quick-mount system is the best roof box mounting system currently on the market right now, you can mount this roof box by yourself in less than two minutes, without the need for any manuals or guides.
Its universal mounting brackets can attach to a huge number of crossbars, without needing to modify them manually.
Its dual side opening has the best user experience, better than the rear opening systems on the roof boxes like the Sportrack Vista.
If you are trying to find a roof box with a good hatch clearance, the Tule Force is the best roof box for you, its hatch clearance makes it possible to use it on many types of vehicles.
Most roof boxes on this list open either from one or two sides, but the Sportrack Vista opens from the back side, this can be weird for anyone used to work with the more famous roof box, but there is a reason for this design which is the fast unloading speed of any small luggage.
You can unload your belongings from either the passenger or the driver side as well as the rear.
In real life tests, we found that it is a bit hard to remove larger objects from the sides, but from the back, it is still easy to get things done.
Sportrack Vista is built using high quality materials that don’t allow water to get inside of it, and gives the box a stronger structure.
It can hold a weight of 100 pounds or 45 kgs, more than good for the majority of Forester users.
The overall design of the box is made to minimize air fraction and resistance as much as possible, and as you may know, the less air resistance the less fuel consumption, and less noise is generated.
This box can be mounted on most Subaru forester roof racks without any additional manual work, you don’t have to worry about hiring a specialist to modify your current roof rack.
If you are done with it, you can remove this roof box without any complication. Some people prefer to leave their roof box on the roof of their vehicle all the time, but we advise against that, leaving a roof box you don’t need will affect your fuel economy in the long run.
Finally, the Sportrack Vista has a locking cylindrical mechanism that is integrated to the rear side opening, this lock will secure anything inside the box, this is an extremely useful feature on long range trips when you need to leave your car (to go to a hotel for example).
Additionally, the lock cylinder that is integrated into the rear opening of the box ensures that the contents are secure at all times and that the box is attached correctly and securely to the roof.
Thule Pulse is an alternative option for people searching for a simple roof box to have without the need to buy one with a ton of features that you will never use.
Being cheaper is not an indicator of bad quality (in the context of thule roof cargo boxes), this is a very reliable box, it has a timeless modern design with some textures on its exterior.
The negative side of this roof box is its limited capacity, if you have a large family (more than six people), we do not advise to have the Thule Pulse, but on the other hand, this roof box can sustain damage and shocks better than many alternatives with the same price, and it can keep your cargo safe and waterproof.
Loading and unloading it does not take too much time, it can be done in seconds, and there are not complicated procedures to do that, just unlock, unload, lock, that’s it.
We installed this roof box in less than 3 minutes, someone with no experience with roof boxes can install this roof box on a Subaru Forester in less than 10 minutes.
We did not like the single side opening of this box, having to move to the passenger side to open and close the box is annoying, this might be a fair exchange for the lower price, but again, a dual side opening box is always better than a single side opening one.
A central locking system will help you to secure your belongings inside it, this system is effective but it is less durable when we compare it to the locking system in the other thule roof boxes, but again, if you need to have a roof box that excels in anything, you need to spend more money.
The Vector is the most expensive roof cargo box in this list, it is a premium choice for people who like to have the best in terms of design, ease of use, security and durability.
Its newer and reinforced design allows it to carry more weight.
We consider the Thule Vector to be the best premium roof box for subaru forester, Outback and also impreza.
In our previous review of the thule vector, we praised its security system, the one key lock system in combination with the locking slider, secure your luggage from thieves.
The back side is improved in comparison to the previous models to get more hatch clearance, this will be a huge selling point, while the front side is a bit more stiffer and heavier to be more air resistant.
It is available in two colors, a glossy metallic black and a titan matte.
And just like many other Thule boxes, you can use the included universal mounting clamps to attack the roof box to any cross bars on the Subaru forester, and you don’t need to be afraid to tighten these clamps less or more than what is recommended, they will automatically notify you once they are properly locked.
This is the best roof box to use at night, its high quality LED lambs that uses AAA batteries, can illuminate the insides of the vector, the LED lamps will automatically turn off once no movements are detected (each one includes a motion sensor).
And it is easy to use, a handle will help you to lift the lid (the upper part of the roof box) without the need to touch the shiny glossy finish.
There are two types of the thule vector, the m and the alpine, the alpine has more length and it is more usable for skis and snowboards.
We choose to include the JEGS 90098 just for an added option, but this is actually the least recommended one in this list, for many reasons, especially the noise.
It offers a good amount of storage space, 18 cubic feet of storage is enough for a lot of Subaru forester owners, it can help you to free up more space from your truck, the fred up space can be more useful for things that need more security and care.
The design of the JEGS 90098 is less attractive than the Thule boxes, and less aerodynamic, which means more gas consumption and more noise. This last point is why we don’t recommend this box.
Its bulky design will generate a lot of noise, if that is a factor that you consider it to be important, the thule Pulse will be a better option for you.
Now that we finished with the negative side of this roof box, we can check its pros.
It is easy to mount, and you don’t need any tools to do its assembly, the weight of the box itself is 28 pounds, so you can mount it by yourself (some roof cargo boxes are heavy and you need
to have at least two people to mount them which is not the case with this cargo box).
Its black color makes it less prone to dust and scratch traces, but leaving it in the sun for a long time might not be the best idea, it is better to remove the JEGS 90090 from the top of your can when you are not using it.
Lifting the lid is easy using the grip that is very ergonomic.
This box is weather resistant, rain and snow will not get inside, and the same thing can also be said about wind and dust.
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This is the complete opposite of the Thule Pulse, The Thule Motion is an extremely spacious roof box with a lot of cargo space available inside it, it can also be a cheaper alternative to the Thule Vector alpine, it can hold many pairs of skis (we could fit seven pairs during the review of our expert).
You can carry a weight of 110 pounds (this is the maximum capacity, if you exceed it, you might damage the connecting clamps between the roof box and the cross bars).
This weight capacity is a good value for people who like to combine an economic car with a limited cargo capacity with a roof box rather than paying for a new car with more capacity.
It drove a Subaru Forester for more than 2000 km, while having this rooftop box on the roof, and we noticed the following things.
We got an increase of 2.3% in fuel consumption with the box nearly half loaded with 50 pounds of cargo (snowboards and bags).
And there was no noticeable noise below the speed of 150km/h (93mph), when we exceeded that speed, the noise emitted from the roof box wasn’t too high, a song at medium volume level can completely hide that noise.
Motion can be installed on any factory Forester roof racks (or cross bars), and this installation process is simple, you don’t have to hire a specialist to do it for you.
There are many videos online to explain how to properly install the Thule Motion, many of our clients completed the installation process in their first try.
This installation process doesn’t require any specialized tools to be done.
A problem that many people complain about is that when they need to buy a roof box, many companies and websites online tell them to buy the specific roof rack A for the roof box B, and off course those options are expensive, but with the Thule Motion you have more freedom to choose the roof rack that you like not matter the brand.