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Old June 10th, 2008, 18:59   #13
Stealth TDI
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Join Date: Feb 1998
Location: Newport News, VA


I have not tried a rooftop carrier on my TDI. So I cannot speak for that loss in aerodynamics except that fuel mileage would suffer on my old Pathfinder and A2 Golf. I avoided the rooftop carrier because of the marring to the paint, the hassle of loading heavy items up high, and the potential for muddy bicycles dribble on my roof. But I digress.

I started with a hitch mounted carrier. It carried a good bit of luggage:

I actually weighed each item and kept the load right at 100-lbs. The rack itself is another 50 lbs. ONCE, I loaded a 150-lb generator. I was uncomfortable with this since the car bobbed and heaved. I tolerated that since a hurricane was on the way and I was only driving five miles at low speeds. Since then I have stuck with about 100-lbs or less.

BTW, a standard rack WILL DRAG on driveways and uneven intersections. After a while, I bought a different rack that raises the load about four inches over other racks CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS:

My mileage dropped about 2-3 mpg with a rear rack.

I also like to use my trailer. I get about 36-mpg towing this 600-lb load:

Odds are my mileage would improve A LITTLE if I were to stick with low-profile containers that yield better aerodynamics. I've considered three 48x24x18 trunk chests butted against each other. But I want to stick with the containers I already have. BTW, this trailer is about as short as you can get and still be able to back it predictably. There are shorter trailers; but they're likely VERY difficult to back without jack-knifing. At $200 in 2000 (same trailer is about $400 today), the trailer was cheaper than a roof rack/carrier combo and it has paid for itself over and over again since I've used it to move things that would normally require me to rent a truck or trailer. I pay $38/year to register it.

In short, I'd say the cargo rack is good for most lighter weight items. However, you may find that some luggage gets heavier than expected fairly fast. I like the fact that my trailer can supply very secure storage and I can manage the tongue weight much better than can be done with a cargo rack. Regardless of whether you choose a roof box, a hitch carrier, or a trailer, I must warn you of the possibility of interior room not really improving since you or your family may just opt to bring more stuff. Think about when you moved up from a two bedroom home to a four bedroom home. Did you really just have two empty rooms? Or did you add more stuff?

Good Luck,


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