Hands-on Gear Review

Thule Sonic Large Review

Thule Sonic Large
Price:  $570 List
Pros:  Quiet, quality construction, looks good
Cons:  Doesn’t fit skis over 155cm
Editors' Rating:   
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Weight (lbs):  40
Volume (Cubic Feet):  13
Size (L x W x H inches):  73x34.5x16
Manufacturer:   Thule

Our Verdict

The Sonic Large is Discontinued as of February 2017
This roof box is great for all kinds of road trips, moving, and camping excursions. The Thule Sonic takes our award for the Best Buy cargo box because we think this sleek, classy looking model is top notch at a reasonable price. It has a very stiff lid that makes it easy to open and close, and we love how easy the mounting hardware is to install. The Sonic is one of the quietest roof boxes we tested, we hardly noticed it on the highway until we got over speeds of 70 MPH. Unfortunately, the one downfall of this version is that it does not fit skis over 155cm in length, but you could definitely fit several pairs of children's skis and all kinds of other gear in this box.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Cargo Box Review

Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Jessica Haist

Last Updated:
Friday
March 3, 2017

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This sleek, classy looking, high-quality roof box is easy to use and quiet on the roads. We think it is great value for your money, though the size we tested won't transport most skis.

Performance Comparison


The Thule Sonic is easy to open and close because of its stiff lid construction  and the pull chord that is attached to the lid makes it even easier for shorter people.
The Thule Sonic is easy to open and close because of its stiff lid construction, and the pull chord that is attached to the lid makes it even easier for shorter people.

Construction Quality


Thule has a reputation for making quality products, and the Sonic is no exception. We like that the lid is very stiff, making it easy to open and close. We also like the little details Thule has included with this box, like the pull cord to close the box and the flange around the lock cylinder that makes it easier to turn the key. One of our testers thought that the Sonic seemed a little flimsy because it is rather light (40 lbs), but it has seemed to stand up to our testing without any problems.

Appearance


The Sonic is one of the best looking boxes in this review, and its sleek, shiny finish looks classy. The finish seems more durable than the also stylish Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite, as we have not noticed any scuffs or marks on it from moving it around. The shape of the Thule Sonic looks very aerodynamic, and we think it suits smaller vehicles like our testers' Toyota Matrix and Subaru Legacy wagons.

We think the Thule Sonic looks sleek and classy. Our testers hardly noticed any road noise when driving at speeds below 70MPH.
We think the Thule Sonic looks sleek and classy. Our testers hardly noticed any road noise when driving at speeds below 70MPH.

Ease of Use


The Thule Sonic is incredibly easy to use. Like all the rest of the models we tested, the Sonic opens on both sides for convenience. Because of its small size and light weight (40 pounds), it is easier to get up onto roofs than some of the other heavier boxes such as the 47 pound Yakima Skybox Pro. Along with the Rhino Racks Master Fit 550's mounting system, the Thule Sonic is the easiest to mount, with a clamp and dial system. It literally took us less than 5 minutes to attach the Sonic to our vehicles, because its "AcuTight Mounting Hardware" is pre-assembled — just pop it on your roof, line up the clamps, tighten the dials inside the box, and you're ready to go! Having a stiff lid is a real bonus for making the Sonic easy to open and close. Additionally, the pull cord makes closing a full box much easier for people shorter in stature. This detail is also found in the Yakima Skybox. The flange around the lock cylinder makes turning the key to lock your box that much easier as well.

Thule uses its "AcuTight Mounting Hardware " essentially just arms that will clamp on any crossbar shape. They are very easy to use.
Thule uses its "AcuTight Mounting Hardware," essentially just arms that will clamp on any crossbar shape. They are very easy to use.

Aerodynamics


The Thule Sonic is one of the more aerodynamic models we tested. We did not notice any road noise or rattling when we were driving around town, and only noticed slight noise at road speeds above 70MPH. Thule uses a wind tunnel to check the aerodynamics of their products. The Sonic is one of the lightest boxes we tested, so it may be slightly better on your gas mileage because of it.

We think that the Thule Sonic is one of the more aerodynamic boxes we tested. We did not notice any road noise or rattling when we were driving around town  and only noticed slight noise at road speeds above 70MPH.
We think that the Thule Sonic is one of the more aerodynamic boxes we tested. We did not notice any road noise or rattling when we were driving around town, and only noticed slight noise at road speeds above 70MPH.

Security


Like all the other boxes we tested, the Sonic has three latching points for its locking system, and does not allow you to take the key out of the lock until all the latches have been securely engaged. We think that because the lid is so stiff, it could be more difficult to break into this box.

We like the little details Thule has included with this box  like the flange around the lock cylinder that makes it easier to turn the key.
We like the little details Thule has included with this box, like the flange around the lock cylinder that makes it easier to turn the key.

Best Application


The Sonic is a excellent all around cargo box. Take it camping or on a long road trip, or just use it to move around a lot of your gear. If you have kids, you could use it to move their skis around — but probably not yours, the Sonic size Large will only fit skis up to 155cm in length.

Value


The Thule Sonic wins our Best Buy award because we think it presents the best value in this review. $549 is a screaming deal for a product that has Thule's reputation for quality, and performed well in our testing.

Conclusion


We think the Thule Sonic is a great bargain at $549, and wins our Best Buy Award. We think this box looks good on all the vehicles we tested it on, and hardly noticed it when we were driving around. It is super easy to use and install, and its light weight makes it even better on gas mileage.

Jessica Haist

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Most recent review: March 3, 2017
Summary of All Ratings

OutdoorGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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