Thule Force XT XL Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Simple installation, sleek matte finish, great shape for skis
Cons: Clunky shape, inconvenient handle
Compare to Similar Products
Thule Force XT XL
|Price||Check Price at REI|
Compare at 2 sellers
Check Price at REI
|$579 List||$660 List|
$509.99 at Amazon
$279.99 at Amazon
|Pros||Simple installation, sleek matte finish, great shape for skis||Sleek, large capacity, dual-opening, flat bottom||Great value, easy to install, dual-opening||Relatively inexpensive, easy to attach, convenient to use||Well-priced, decent looking, fits long skis and snowboards|
|Cons||Clunky shape, inconvenient handle||No integrated light, dedicated tool required for install||Limited to <170cm skis/boards, not the sleekest look||Won’t fit longer skis, longer crossbar spans can be problematic for install||Not the easiest to install, less convenient|
|Bottom Line||This is an above-average product that is very spacious and easy to use||If you are looking for a premium cargo box that's easy to use with plenty of room, this is our strong recommendation||If you are searching for a cargo box without busting your budget, then we highly recommend this option||If you are searching for a well-priced cargo box and don’t need to transport longer skis and boards, then this is a great option||If you want to transport skis and snowboards on top of your car without spending a ton, this is a great option|
|Rating Categories||Thule Force XT XL||Yakima GrandTour 16||Yakima RocketBox Pr...||Goplus Rooftop Carrier||SportRack Horizon A...|
|Ease of Use (40%)|
|Specs||Thule Force XT XL||Yakima GrandTour 16||Yakima RocketBox Pr...||Goplus Rooftop Carrier||SportRack Horizon A...|
|Weight||47 lbs||51.5 lbs||40 lbs||25 lbs||25 lbs|
|Volume||18 cu ft||16 cu ft||14 cu ft||14 cu ft||11 cu ft|
|Dimensions||84.5" x 36" x 17"||79" x 35" x 18"||74" x 33" x 16"||63" x 31" x 15"||88.75" x 21" x 15.75"|
|Additional Available Sizes||Sport (11 cu ft), L (16 cu ft), and XXL (22 cu ft)||18 cu ft||Pro 11 (11 cu ft), Pro 12 (12 cu ft)||n/a||L (16 cu ft), XL (17 cu ft)|
|Maximum Ski Length||200 cm||180 cm||170 cm||140 cm||210 cm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Thule Force XT XL is a solid all-around cargo carrier, offering comparable performance to some much pricier models. It is easy to install, has plenty of space for many pairs of skis, and its components are impressively durable. Some more expensive boxes feature better handles and aerodynamic designs, but the Force has plenty to offer without any frills.
Ease of Use
To rank and score convenience and ease of use, we loaded and unloaded the Force XT XL dozens of times and drove with it for hundreds of miles in a variety of conditions. Installation was also accounted for in our tests but not prioritized as highly since most users only install boxes once before leaving them on vehicles for long periods.
Requiring virtually no setup, the Force comes ready to go out of the box. Mounting took less than five minutes, and the clamps are convenient to adjust for a range of roof rack dimensions. Unlike other models with bulky mounting fixtures, the clamps on the Force are easily tightened by twisting a knob, which clicks when it is adequately tightened. This box also has some integrated strap handles to make it easier to close when mounted on a taller vehicle. The main flaw with this box is the lack of a handle for opening and closing the box. This was not a huge pain but could occasionally be frustrating when the box was filled to the brim or when we were trying to hurry in bad weather.
Our security testing accounted for lock design and overall construction. Nothing gave us any major cause for concern, and we feel confident in the security of the Force. However, a dedicated thief could get into any cargo box without too much of an issue. Generally, it is more secure to lock items in your vehicle rather than a cargo box, but as far as boxes go, this one feels quite secure.
Like practically every model that we have tested to date, the Force must be locked before you can remove its keys, making it impossible to leave it unlocked so long as you remember to take your keys.
The Thule Force XT proved to be one of the most durable cargo boxes that we tested, with an impressively weather-resistant design and solid construction. Through torrents of rain, none of our belongings in the box saw a drop of water. Short of being fully inundated or subjected to a hurricane, we cannot see how it would be compromised, even by driving through heavy rains or blizzards.
Even after a few hundred miles and being removed several times, the Force only had a few minor scrapes and seemed ready for many years of continuous use. Like most of its competitors, the hinges, lid, and mounting system are all well-designed, ensuring that you'll be able to keep it on the road for a long time. Thule backs its products with a lifetime warranty, which provides some peace of mind if you're worried about your box wearing out.
To evaluate appearance, we accounted for the styling of each box's shape and how well their finishes held up to continuous use in harsh conditions. Our testers loved the matte black finish on the Force XT and found its shape to be sleek without sacrificing storage capacity. The matte black also did a good job of concealing scratches and dirt, which are inevitable after a few days of driving in varied weather.
The cost of the Force is fair, but there are definitely some more attractive budget options out there that offer comparable performance at a lower price.
Even though the Thule Force XT XL came short of winning an award, it is still a top-notch product that works well for various applications. If you plan to carry multiple pairs of skis and seek a simple mounting system, then it may be an excellent choice. It didn't stand out as a leader in any of our tests, but it didn't disappoint us either.
— Steven Tata
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