Yakima SkyBox on the New Toyota Highlander

Have you been wondering if the Yakima SkyBox works with the OEM Highlander crossbars? Yakima lists it as incompatible, but I have a SkyBox so I tested it myself. And I have good news to share with you…

Even though Yakima doesn’t officially approve, I mounted our SkyBox on our 2014 Highlander without any trouble. We have the largest (21 cu ft) Titanium version and, after adjusting the mounting hardware to the 27.5 inch bar spread, it clamped on solid as a rock.

Disclaimer: Since Yakima doesn’t approve, I can’t recommend that you mount the SkyBox on your new Highlander. But, personally, I would have no problem using it for extra cargo space when we take roadtrips in our Highlander.

Here’s a shot of the finished product…

Yakima SkyBox Closeup

Closeup of Yakima SkyBox on Highlander… (click image to enlarge)

Clamped on tight

Here is a closeup of the front right clamp attached to the crossbar…

Yakima SkyBox Clamp

Yakima SkyBox clamped on Highlander crossbar… (click image to enlarge)

Note that this looks pretty much the same as when it’s mounted on our 2012 Honda Odyssey — which is an approved vehicle, btw — including the small amount of daylight visible below the bar.

The front and back edges of the crossbar both hit the clamp squarely, so it locks on tight. I tried to rock it back and forth and it wouldn’t budge.

View from the rear

This is what it looks like from the rear…

Yakima SkyBox Rear Left

View of SkyBox on Highlander from the rear left… (click image to enlarge)

And a different angle from the rear…

Yakima SkyBox Rear Right

View of Yakima SkyBox on Highlander from rear right… (click image to enlarge)

What about liftgate clearance?

Worried about clearance with respect to the rear liftgate? Don’t be…

Yakima SkyBox Hatch and Antenna Clearance

Yakima SkyBox hatch and antenna clearance on Highlander… (click image to enlarge)

As you can see, there’s also plenty of space when it comes to the antenna fin, which is located at the rear of the roof.

Yakima SkyBox: the big picture

And, finally, a wider view of the finished product…

Yakima SkyBox on Toyota Highlander

Yakima SkyBox on the new (2014+) Toyota Highlander… (click image to enlarge)

I was a little worried that the SkyBox 21 would dwarf the car, but it really doesn’t. And there are smaller versions available if you’d prefer.

Which SkyBox is right for you?

As noted above, the Yakima SkyBox comes in multiple sizes, ranging from 12-21 cu ft. There are also color options. The standard SkyBox comes in black, or you can opt for the “Titanium” version like ours. The Titanium also comes with a cargo pad/net to secure your stuff inside the box.

List prices of the Yakima SkyBox range from $419-$589 for the black version, and from $549-$699 for the Titanium version. You can, however, find them for substantially less online. For example, here are the Amazon listings:

If you order through Amazon (as we did) you should get free, scheduled delivery. The boxes are quite large, so they’ll be trucked straight to your house by a freight hauler instead of UPS.

Any questions? Fire away…

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19 comments… add one
  • Matthew Aug 25, 2014

    Great update – Thanks Michael!

  • Jay Sep 20, 2014

    Great! Thanks for the update with the pictures. Been looking for awhile to find a box that would fit. Sitting outside our local REI to get one.

  • Moose Sep 29, 2014

    Excellent! I bought a 2015 Highlander two weeks ago that came with crossbars. I was getting pretty bummed going to the Thule and Yakima (et al) websites looking for a box. Thanks for the info!

  • Kraws Oct 24, 2014

    This is the reason I bought a Skybox 21 carbonate I found brand new for $250! Bought a 2015 Highlander with crossbars. Can’t wait to try it on my next road trip! Michael, if you didn’t post the a tickle originally, I would have never taken the chance due to the fitment on Yakima’s website. Many thanks!!!

  • Rob Jan 11, 2015

    Thanks Michael for the info and photos! We bought a black Yakima Skybox 21 and used every bit of space on our trek across Texas for Christmas. The box was sturdy and about 98% dry. A little bit of rain found its way in. Possibly, from underneath where the adjustable clamps move back and forth in the open channel. No real problem since we used plastic bags anticipating some moisture. My gas mileage did suffer, averaging 17.5 to 18.5 highway using pump gallons to odometer reading rather than computer. Some of the loss could be attributed to driving the 80 mph speed limit in west Texas with windy conditions. Overall, great trip! Just need to re-arrange my garage to store the Skybox! It’s about as big as my 1973 MG Midget!

  • James White Feb 25, 2015

    Does the box interfere with satellite radio reception?

    • Rob Apr 4, 2015

      Not at all.

  • pablo Mar 7, 2015

    Hi i have a 2015 toyota highlander XLE and im looking to buy the OEM Running Boards and i will like to install them myself, does any body knows if I have to drill extra holes or it will be plug and play? will it be easy to install?
    and also if anybody have any links with prices i will really apreciate it thank you.

  • Leslie Jul 26, 2015

    This is so great to hear. I’ve been researching a fit for ’14 OEM roof rails and now I have the answer! TY!!

  • Ray Aug 9, 2015

    The running boards come standard on the XLE models. If you’re referring to the cross bars, then no. Both OEM and after market ones (found mines on Amazon for less than half the price of OEM ones with same look and feel) come ready to install. All you need is a 10mm wrench to tight the included hardware. It took me 10 min to install, mostly for the back and forth with the two-step ladder to adjust the crossbars before tighten them too hard.

  • Jim Nov 30, 2015

    Thanks so much for the description and pictures. I purchased the OEM crossbars for my 2015 Highlander XLE from an online dealer (much cheaper than my local dealer). They were super easy to install and do the job nicely. Just purchased the Yakima Skybox Carbonite 21 from REI. The guys at REI were great and showed my how to adjust the rails and helped me get it installed. With the ship-to-store, Yakima sale, and the REI rebate, it was cheaper than Amazon, and I got professional help installing it! Just tried out the Skybox this weekend. It handled very nicely at 75 MPH on a windy highway and carried everything we needed. Now I just have to figure out where to store it in my garage.

  • Nancy Dec 8, 2015

    I just used Yakima’s fit guide and it says that the Skyboxes are compatible with the OEM crossbars, for anyone that comes across this first.

    • Michael Apr 17, 2016

      Yes, they’ve updated their their fit guide in the time since I first published this article. Thanks!

  • Benito Apr 17, 2016

    Wondering about the cargo carrier and it being empty while on vacation. The carrier would be full with suitcases to and from out destination but while in the hotel, we will have our suitcases in our room, leaving the carrier empty. Would that be Ok to drive around for 4-5 days while in the Colorado mountains, etc? Anyone have experience with that?

    • Michael Apr 17, 2016

      Yeah, we do that all the time with no problems. In fact, we just got back from Spring Break where we had an empty carrier on the roof all week. Just be careful not to forget and drive into a parking garage or something like that. It would be a shame to tear it off your roof. 🙂

      • Tom Jun 22, 2016

        My wife drove ours into the garage about half way up the box before she realized it. Backed out, bounced back to normal. Few scratches on the top but other than that we have used it for years since with not issues. Yakima is good stuff.

  • Tom Jun 22, 2016

    Did the mounting of the box interfere with your XM reception at all?

    • Tom Jun 22, 2016

      nevermind. saw it was answered above.

  • Robert Jul 24, 2016

    Thanks, I was wondering if the Yakima 18 would fit and after seeing the 21 up there, I have my answer. Thanks for the photos, made a big difference.

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