Does the Yakima SkyBox Work with the New Toyota Highlander?

As I noted in my post about installing the OEM crossbars, we have a Yakima SkyBox that I was hoping to use to increase the cargo capacity of our new Highlander. Unfortunately, Yakima says it’s not compatible.

Not compatible? Why? It has adjustable clamps that should be able to grab just about any crossbar shape, including square, round, factory, and “WhispBar.” And it can be adjusted down to a bar spread of as little as 24″ while the OEM crossbars have a spread of 27.5″, so…

Update: I tested it myself, and the SkyBox works fine (imho) on the new Toyota Highlander. Click that link for details and photos.

I was left scratching my head. Is is just that Yakima hasn’t had a chance to test it, and are thus unwilling to commit to a positive answer? Or is there a known incompatibility. I e-mailed their support address to ask.

Here’s their response:

“Unfortunately, we needed to not approve the Highlander factory cross bars for use with our cargo boxes. The size and shape of the crossbars allowed our cargo boxes to not be held securely and also they would flex allowing the box hardware to cause damage to the roof as well. Sorry for the bad news.”

Hmmm… Really?

Perhaps he’s right that the clamps aren’t compatible with the shape of the OEM crossbars. Knowing what I know about both the SkyBox and the crossbars, this would surprise me, but… I’ve been wrong before.

Note: Nope, not wrong. I had no problems securely mounting the SkyBox to the Toyota crossbars.

As for the bars flexing to the point that the box might damage the roof? I find that hard (impossible, even) to believe. I’ve noted in the past that the OEM crossbars sit ca. 4″ off the roof so I can’t imagine how they’d flex enough for the mounting hardware to get anywhere near the roof.

Something to keep in mind: I’ve seen several mentions online about the SkyBox performing perfectly well on supposedly incompatible vehicles. I’m thus planning on testing this out myself.

Update: As noted above, the Yakima SkyBox seems to work fine on the new Toyota Highlander w/OEM crossbars.

We’re actually heading to the beach later this week so, before I latch the SkyBox to our Odyssey (our preferred vehicle for long trips with our family of six), I’ll test it out on the Highlander. And I’ll report back soon after.

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5 comments… add one
  • Milos Jul 21, 2014

    Hi Michael,
    Funny coincidence as I went out and bought my rooftop cargo box just an hour ago. I bought the Thule Hyper XL and it fits perfectly on the Highlander with lots of room to spare for the rear lift gate. The clamps have a good fit, too. We’re going to load it up and test it out on a long road trip starting this weekend. Your crossbars and Skybox are looking great.

    • Michael Jul 23, 2014

      Interesting, thanks for sharing. Would you mind snapping a few pics and sending them to me along with any other relevant details? I e-mailed you directly about this, too, but it might be in your spam folder. I’d love to share the details with other readers.

  • John Aug 16, 2014

    Thanks for the information. I’m looking for a cargo box for my 14 Highlander. How is the Thule hyper XL and the Yakima skybox working out?

  • Matthew Aug 21, 2014

    Micheal – I need to make decision between the new Outback and Highlander Platinum model before camping season starts this September. If the Highlander can’t mount something like the Skybox 18, it’s a deal breaker for me. Any results yet on whether this did mount properly on your Highlander – and any pictures would be great too? Thanks.

  • Chris Nichols Aug 19, 2019

    I installed the Carbonite 21 on my 2012 Highlander, it installs securely however you can not open the rear hatch fully without it rubbing, you can open the smaller hatch with better success, still hits the box.

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