Thule Motion XT XL Review

Thule’s high-end roof box is generously sized, easy to install and remove, and comes with a host of premium and
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Table of Contents

18 cu. ft.

46 lbs.

Massive interior, easy and secure access, intuitive installation, and all the features we look for in a high-quality design.

Pricey; some may want a lower-profile box to minimize road noise and drag.

(4.8/5)

Gear Capacity and Interior Space

It has 18 cubic feet of space and a streamlined design that can hold bulky equipment and equipment, this Thule motion XT Size XL is a perfect match for long road journeys. While driving through Utah and even Oregon The Motion XT comfortably swallowed our huge NEMO Jazz 30 Double sleeping bag as well as our its accompanying (and equally large) Roamer Double pad, along with backpacks, off-road gear, as well as a massive YETI cooler. I was particularly impressed by the tie-down straps built into the box. They made it simple to secure my tools for recovery in my vehicle, like Maxtrax shovels rope, shackles, and more. I’m used to these tools bouncing around and creating a lot noise when I drive on the rough roads of forest service however the straps in the Motion XT help make sure everything stays in place and silent.

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To be used in winter for winter, for winter use, the Motion XT XL has ample space for stowing snowboards as well as skis. To give you an example I was able to accommodate four pairs of skis with plenty of room, the longest being just 185 centimeters (Thule says it can accommodate five to seven pairs that are up to 200cm which is equivalent to three or five snowboards). I also found it to be an ideal location to store wet equipment such as PFDs and paddles or dirty clothing and gear after a long mountain biking ride. The only thing to consider is that the container has an extremely tight seal, and, consequently, doesn’t drain efficiently therefore you’ll need to be vigilant about flushing any water that collects in the bottom

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Box Dimensions and weight

Thule Motion XT XL Thule Motion XT in XL provides a hefty amount of storagespace, especially for those who are prone to packing too much. I chose this XL variant of the Motion XT to accommodate my larger skis (the size L’s maximum length is at 175cm) The box’s 6.6-foot length could easily fit four pairs of skis with space to spare. Other dimensions are ample and include a useful 15-inch peak height , which can hold items that are placed on top of each the. The Motion XT’s 31.5-inch length (the outside measures 36 inches.) is plenty wide, but it opens up a lot of roof space that can be used to install accessories such as bike racks. It’s actually optimistic that I’ll be able put a canoe in the Sprinter van. We’re waiting for the shipping, but my initial measurements suggest that there shouldn’t be any problems (I’ll check back here in the event that there are any).

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As for weights, Motion XT XL clocks at 46 pounds, leaving plenty of room to transport heavier items. To give you an idea, the box’s capacity to carry loads is 165 pounds. Likewise, the vehicle’s roof and rack systems may also have limits on weight that you’ll have to take into consideration. In reality it’s a good idea to consider it’s a good idea to consider the Motion XT is light enough to allow me to easily and securely lift above my head and put it on top of an ordinary car or SUV, however it requires a lot of balancing , and it’s best to use with two people. Of course, I require help when connecting the box to our high-roof Sprinter. One person hoisted it from below, and another lifted from above (more about the subject in “Installation as well as Removal” below).

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Cargo Box Access and Security

Simply put, getting things into or out of Motion XT The XL is an easy and easy procedure. The larger handle makes access much easier and more secure than the typical clamshell openings I’m used to. In addition to giving you a specific place to reach for items the item, it also makes sure that the lid is secure (once the box is shut you’ll have to push on the locking mechanism at its lower end in order to push into the opening). The key, in addition, isn’t able to take it out of the lock until the lid is securely latched closed. Together this system solves two common problems first it is less likely that you’ll lose or lose the key as it’s necessary to gain access. Secondly it’s clear whether the box is closed or shut.

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Another important aspect of access is the fact that this Motion XT XL can be accessible via either the passenger or the driver part of your vehicle. Both sides come with handles as well as integrated locks that allow you to effortlessly load or find objects you’ve stowed regardless of where they’re in the box. It’s also handy for working with other equipment you be able to put on your roof, like bikes or boats. For closing the lid, each side has an extended (20-in.) strap that is hung at the center that you can pull when the lid is hard to reach. The lid is also stiff and is perfect when closed (sometimes it is necessary to press lids that are too floppier to fit).

 

 

 

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Weather Resistance

The Motion XT has held up exceptionally well to all types of weather conditions, including snow or sleet and even advisory-worthy wind. It has an overhanging lip along the edges that do an excellent job of sealing moisture away and the shiny finish helps in keeping snow out (most disappears immediately and any remnants of snow are easily brushed away). In actual fact I’m quite confident in the box’s weatherproofing that I’m not worried about storing our two-person mattress and pad inside it. My main concern is placing the box in long periods of intense desert heat. Considering that I have a Motion XT is black and isn’t able to breathe it could get very warm inside. Therefore, I would not recommend storing items that are vulnerable to heat (like food items) in the car or when parking in hot temperatures.

 

 

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Road Noise and Aerodynamics

Some might be worried that the Motion XT’s large size will cause lots of drag, but I’ve never observed any significant decrease in fuel efficiency or an any increase on road noise. Exterior design has been sleek smooth with a glossy sheen and the nose is rounded and overlapping slightly to increase the wind’s deflection and prevent gaps. While our road journey was filled with high-wind advisory signs, the difference in sound and mileage between the box and without it were not significant. Even on days without wind it was barely noticeable. The strong cross winds can create a bit of noise and a loud whooshing sound however, these problems are not a problem for the top of a vehicle, like that of our Sprinter van. For those who are concerned about noise from the road or drag can choose smaller-profile designs such as in the inNO Wedge, (660 in.) (11 inches.) as well as the Yakima GrandTour Lo (10 in. ) however, you’ll lose lots on storage.

 

 

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Build Quality and Durability

It’s a good thing that the Thule Motion XT The XL model isn’t cheap at $800, however the best part is that it’s solidly constructed and built to last. To give you an example the box we have tested has seen a few days of sweltering conditions, and is lifted over as well as off of our van several times and is stuffed full of sharp and sharp equipment and gear (including an erected steel shovel to recover off-road). The only visible wear is a few small scuffs from driving under low-hanging trees However, these are purely cosmetic. The rest of the equipment is in excellent condition The PowerClick mounts function perfectly and effortlessly move into place and the locks appear like new, without corrosion due to being exposed to elements. I am curious about what the hinges’ performance will be over time, considering the amount of times I shut and open the box, however they appear to be fairly robust and haven’t triggered any issues to date.

 

 

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Installation and removal

The installation of your Motion XT is an incredibly simple task including on the high roof of our van. The Box weighs in at 46lbs, and can be carried by one person onto an SUV or car but I did require assistance in lifting on to our Sprinter. When it comes to installation the box, the Motion has four movable PowerClick brackets. Take them off to make installation easier as well as the box’s smooth underneath is simple to set correctly over the crossbars on your vehicle, without damaging. When the box is position, you can install the brackets, move into the proper position to match the crossbars and then twist to ensure that the claws stay secure. You’ll be able to hear an “click” when they’re tightened correctly (for further details on how to use the box of the procedure, check out Thule’s manual for instruction below). For comparison it’s the Motion XT is the least complex and complicated roof box I’ve used up to now and I’ve been in a position to transfer it easily across different vehicles using different crossbars.

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Crossbar Compatibility

Crossbar compatibility isn’t an issue for modern roof boxes such as Thule’s Thule Motion XT XL is the same. In this instance the Motion’s open clamps will work with all racks, which includes Thule’s Wingbar, AeroBlade, SquareBar as well as ProBar designs (keeping in mind the minimum and maximum spreads of the bars). The majority of racks made by other brands aren’t a problem and include most factory bars from the car manufacturer. It is important to note that you will require additional T-track adapters to use Thule’s TracRac (built to work with vans and trucks) and Xsporter Pro (made just for trucks). No matter what kind of vehicle you own it’s best to go through the fitting guide prior to purchasing to determine whether there is any possible hatch interference ( Thule has a very helpful guide on how to install it in this article).

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Other Versions of the Thule Motion XT

I chose my XL model of the Motion XT to accommodate longer skis. It’s available in a smaller variant for just $800, or the larger XXL model that costs $900. As a reference this model, this Motion XT L boasts 16 cubic feet of space (compared with 18L in this XL here) it’s 6 feet and 5 inches long and weighs 42 lbs and weighs 42 pounds, while the XXL includes 22 cubes of room it’s seven feet 7.5 inches in length and weighs 55 pounds. The final piece of this part of the Motion range are the Motion XT Alpine which is the slimmest and longest of the bunch. It has it having a 13.25-inch peak height and the capacity to transport skis as high as 215 centimeters. It is important to note that all Motions come with the same PowerClick mounting system and 165-pound load capacity as well as high-end features and finishes.

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What We Like

  • Plenty of storage space for everything from camping gear, off-roading tools and winter gear like snowboards and skis.
  • PowerClick mount system user-friendly and allows for easy installation.
  • The lid lock and handle provide rapid access and an added sense of security (the key isn’t able to be taken out unless the container is securely closed).
  • The tie-down straps built-in to the vehicle help ensure that gear stays in place even when roads are rough.
  • Despite its bigger size and large capacity The box doesn’t generate lots of road noise, nor does it significantly impact the gas mileage.
  • Great weather-proofing and build quality including high-end glossy sheen , and tough materials across.

 

What We Don’t

  • The price is very high with a price of $850 for the XL version.
  • At the higher end, at 17 inches. Some may opt for the box with a lower profile to lessen street noise as well as drag.
  • Dark hues and the absence of airflow inside make it best to keep everything which is susceptible to temperature (like food items) in hot temperatures.
  • Be aware of the possibility of water pooling on the bottom of the truck when you haul wet equipment (there are no drain ports).
  • The box is a bit thin when you open and close it from either the front or back (I strongly recommend using the handles located in center).

 

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Comparison Table

ROOFTOP CARGO BOXPRICEDIMENSIONSCAPACITIESAccessSKISWEIGHT
Thule Motion XT XL$85084.5 dimensions, 36 17 inches.16, 18, 22 cu. ft.DualUp to 200cm46 lbs.
Yakima SkyBox 18$72992 36×16 in.12, 15, 16, 18, 21 cu. ft.DualUp to 215cm52 lbs.
Thule Force XT XL$75082.75 * 33.75 1725 in. 17.25 in.11, 16, 18, 22 cu. ft.Dualup to 195cm47 lbs.
Thule Vector Alpine$1,60091 35x 12.5 in.13 cu. ft.DualUp to 200cm66 lbs.
Yakima GrandTour 1882991 17 inches x 37 inches x 17 inches.15, 16, 18 cu. ft.DualUp to 215cm61 lbs.
Yakima RocketBox 14$549The dimensions are 74 x 33 16 inches.11, 14, cu. ft.OneUp to 170cm40 lbs.

 

The Competition

Thule’s Motion XT is our favorite all-around rooftop cargo box however, we have seen the SkyBox Carbonite from Yakima in more roofs that any other cargo carrier. Similar to its predecessor, Motion XT, the SkyBox comes with a tool-free installation, a dual-sided opening as well as an aerodynamic design that taper at the rear to fit the car’s antennae as well as the hatch. With a price of $729 for the 18-cubic-foot model it’s significantly less expensive over Thule’s XL Motion ($850), and more than a foot larger with a length of 7’8 inches (accommodating skis with a maximum length of 215cm). But Yakima’s craftsmanship cannot match Thule’s quality its latch. It’s not as user-friendly with one hand. Also The mounting system needs some effort to put in place, and you have one matte black option (the Thule comes in glossy black and titan grey). If you’re not worried about small design and fit compromises The Yakima SkyBox Carbonite is a fantastic value and is a highly practical cargo box.

It is positioned just under just below Motion XT in Thule’s lineup of products, this Force XT the XL is yet another top-quality rooftop cargo container for buyers who are looking for value. The Force keeps many of the motion’s best features such as the simple-to-install PowerClick mounts, a dual-sided opening and six tie-down points as well as built-in stiffeners. However, it falls short of the finer details The Force’s matte appearance doesn’t compare to the Motion’s glossy finish as is it’s LockKnob mechanism (which connects the handle and locks) isn’t as sturdy and easy to use as the more expensive SlideLock. Many Force owners complain of keys and handles that have broken. We’d recommend the more economical SkyBox above for those wanting to get the most value for their money or to stick on Motion XT. Motion XT for just $100 more

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If you look in the opposite direction, at Thule’s line-up it’s possible to find the top-of-the-line Vector Alpine. At $1,600, the Vector Alpine is a departure from the rules set by the utilitarian rooftop boxes. It comes with an adjustable felt pad at the bottom to shield your equipment and a lid that is lined with white to increase visibility as well as motion-activated LED lights that illuminate the interior. The design is also top-quality as the nose slants down beneath the front crossbar to minimize wind noise and steel reinforcements give the best design and strength. However, you’ll need to consider whether you really need those luxurious accessories, especially when you consider that at nearly half the price, the Motion has numerous of Thule’s features, such as PowerClick mounts that have dual access to the sides, as well as the SlideLock locking as well as the latch mechanism. It’s actually an confirmation that the Motion makes use of the top technology Thule provides in an cost-effective package.

The Motion XT is certainly an attractive rooftop cargo container however, the Yakima GrandTour offers it a chance to compete for price at a somewhat lower cost. With an estimated price of $830 for the 18-cubic-foot model, the GrandTour has a high-gloss surface with a sophisticated wide profile and a curved base that allows it to sit at a low level in the bar’s cross-bars. With a length of 7 feet and 7 inches, it is able to accommodate more than one pair of skis, with up to 215 cm in length. Performance on roads and weather is reduced somewhat due to a weaker nose design as compared to the Motion however, the GrandTour is a high-quality box that has large handles that are easy to use, SKS lock on each side and an internal knob for mounting which can be removed to make an even base (and ample space for your equipment). If you own a high-end vehicle that has no rooftop and a large roof, the GrandTour is a great option (it is also available in 16 and 15 cu. ft. varieties).

For those looking to save dollars, take a look into Yakima’s basic RocketBox Pro. The name of the product is nearly as common to roof boxes and cargo boxes, the RocketBox can be found in 11-12 and 14 cubic feet sizes. With a price of $549 for the 14-cubic foot version It retains some of the Motion’s best features, such as the tool-free installation, dual-sided open, and lock and latch separate mechanisms (not always accessible at this price). However, the Yakima isn’t high-end: many buyers complain about the durability of the thin construction and the design doesn’t keep out the elements as well as the Motion’s overlaid design. At the same cost, Thule offers their size-large Pulse which is an inferior price The only access is via only one side, and it’s locked mechanism vulnerable to break and the box isn’t equipped with an arc on the rear, which can be used to allow for modern, fin-like antennas. At the end of the day, you’ll receive the value you’re paying for however the RocketBox has been tested and adored by a lot of.