In response to my previous post about installing crossbars on your Highlander, a reader named Dick asked:
“The 27-inch spacing of the standard design is too close. There are no roof container designs available. Do you think the bars could be installed further apart?”
There are actually two issues here, the ability to change the spacing of the crossbars and the availability of suitable cargo carriers. I’ll tackle them one at a time, below, starting with crossbar spacing.
Change crossbar spacing?
For starters, no, it’s not possible to change the spacing of the OEM crossbars, as they’re attached to fixed anchor points. This makes installation dead easy, but it also means that you can’t move the bars. At all.
For reference, here are links to the crossbars:
- XLE and Limited (Part # PT278-48140) — Installation (pdf)
- LE and LE Plus (Part # PT278-48181) — Installation (pdf)
As noted above, installation is easy. They attach with four bolts, so don’t be afraid to DIY. I’ve provided details/pics at this link.
Based on my own real-world measurements, the crossbars end up being spaced 27.5 inches apart (center-to-center). Yes, this seems like a relatively narrow spacing, but I haven’t found it to be too limiting in practice.
Now that we have that out of the way…
Rooftop cargo boxes
The notion that there aren’t any good cargo carriers for the new Highlander is just plain wrong. I think this view probably has it’s roots in the fact that the major cargo box manufacturers initially listed their boxes as being incompatible with the 2014+ Highlander when it first came out.
And those aren’t the only options…
A quick check of product listings at AutoAnything (filter the listings by specifying the year/make/model at the top-right) reveals a ton of options. This includes cargo boxes from INNO, RhinoRack, Thule, and Yakima.