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Yakima GrandTour 16 Review

If you are looking for a premium cargo box that's easy to use with plenty of room, this is our strong recommendation
Yakima GrandTour 16
Photo: Yakima
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:  $699 List | Check Price at REI
Pros:  Sleek, large capacity, dual-opening, flat bottom
Cons:  No integrated light, dedicated tool required for install
Manufacturer:   Yakima
By David Wise ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Aug 5, 2021
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 11
  • Ease of Use - 40% 8
  • Durability - 25% 7
  • Security - 20% 7
  • Appearance - 15% 8

Our Verdict

All in all, we are quite the fans of the Yakima Grand Tour. This cargo box is convenient and easy to use, with handy features like a dual-opening lid and integrated mounts for tie-down straps. The relatively flat floor of the box makes packing more efficient, without knobs or attachments in the way. It’s available in a few different sizes — both 16 and 18 cubic foot models — for varying gear storage needs, with the larger option capable of carrying skis up to 210 cm in length. (We tested the 16 cubic feet option.) This glossy black cargo box has a sleek design that complements most vehicles. It is our all-around favorite to recommend to generally anyone looking to increase their gear-carrying capacity.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Yakima GrandTour 16
Awards Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $699 List
Check Price at REI
$799.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$599.00 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$460 List$340 List
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Pros Sleek, large capacity, dual-opening, flat bottomEasiest to install, ergonomic handle, sleek designGreat handle, cool appearance, less expensiveRelatively inexpensive, easy to attach, convenient to useInexpensive, decent looking, fits long skis and snowboards
Cons No integrated light, dedicated tool required for installPriceyFrustrating installationWon’t fit longer skis, longer crossbar spans can be problematic for installNot the easiest to install, less convenient
Bottom Line If you are looking for a premium cargo box that's easy to use with plenty of room, this is our strong recommendationAn excellent, high-end cargo box that excels in every categoryAn exceptional value because of its top-notch user friendly designIf you are searching for bargain cargo box and don’t need to transport longer skis and boards, then this is a great optionIf you want to transport skis and snowboards on top of your car without spending a ton, this is a great option
Rating Categories Yakima GrandTour 16 Thule Motion XT XL Yakima Skybox 16 Ca... Goplus Rooftop Carrier SportRack Horizon A...
Ease Of Use (40%)
8.0
8.0
7.0
7.0
4.0
Durability (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Security (20%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
6.0
Appearance (15%)
8.0
7.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Specs Yakima GrandTour 16 Thule Motion XT XL Yakima Skybox 16 Ca... Goplus Rooftop Carrier SportRack Horizon A...
Weight (lbs) 51.50 lb 42 lb 47 lb 25 lb 25 lb
Volume (Cubic Feet) 16 cu ft 18 cu ft 16 cu ft 14 cu ft 11 cu ft
Size (Inches - L x W x H) 79" x 35" x 18" 84.5" x 36" x 17" 81" x 36" x 15" 63" x 31" x 15" 88.75" x 21" x 15.75"
Additional Sizes 18 cu ft L (16 cu ft) and XXL (22 cu ft) Lo, 12 cu ft, 18 cu ft, and 21 cu ft n/a L (16 cu ft), XL (17 cu ft)
Maximum Ski Length 180 cm 200 cm 185cm 140 cm 210 cm
Box Opening Dual-Side Dual-side Dual-side Dual-side Passenger side

Our Analysis and Test Results

One feature that stands out with this cargo box is its mostly flat interior floor, with no bulky knobs or other attachments for your gear to get hooked on when loading or unloading the GrandTour.

Performance Comparison


The Yakima GrandTour is one of our favorite roof boxes that we have...
The Yakima GrandTour is one of our favorite roof boxes that we have tested to date.
Photo: David Wise

Ease of Use


Our first set of tests and evaluations for these roof-mounted cargo boxes focuses on how easy they are to install or remove from a typical vehicle, as well as how convenient and easy it is to store and load your gear. The GrandTour took top marks in this metric, delivering on each point.


Right off the bat, we love how there is essentially no assembly required to get the GrandTour ready for install. You just need to locate the keys taped to the exterior of the box, open the lid, then use the included torque wrench to loosen each of the clamps.

The included torque wrench with the Yakima GrandTour.
The included torque wrench with the Yakima GrandTour.
Photo: David Wise

Once the clamps are loosened sufficiently to clear your crossbars, you can lift it up and onto your racks — with the help of a friend — and then use the same tool to tighten the clamps. This wrench will click to alert you when you have applied enough torque to the clamps, helping to prevent under or over-tightening them. With plastic attachments employed ubiquitously among cargo boxes, over-tightening can potentially stress or break the attachments. We like that Yakima incorporated this design detail to help prevent such breakage, as well as preventing the box from shifting around due to being too loose. The entire installation process usually only took us 5-10 minutes, making this a great option if you are someone who is planning on frequently installing and removing your cargo box.

We also like that these clamps have a wider range of crossbar compatibility than some of the other models, wrapping around the third-party square crossbars we used for testing much more completely than some of the other models we have tested. We feel confident that this model will fit more crossbars than most models we have tested.

This cargo box uses a single-piece clamp that fits a wide range of...
This cargo box uses a single-piece clamp that fits a wide range of crossbars.
Photo: David Wise

The GrandTour is also convenient and hassle-free when it comes to loading your gear. The 16 cubic foot model we tested can fit items up to 185 cm in length (fitting the most common ski lengths). The 18 cubic foot model can hold items up to 210 cm — more than enough for the majority of alpine skis on the market. The dual-side opening container lets you access your belongings from both sides of the car — a huge plus in our minds. The floor of the box is much more flat, unlike much of the competition that has knobs and other attachments sticking up from their floors.

The relatively flat bottom makes it much easier to load or unload...
The relatively flat bottom makes it much easier to load or unload gear.
Photo: David Wise

This relatively flat bottom makes packing the box more efficient and reduces items getting caught on knobs and snagged. It also makes it easier to slide your cargo around and adjust the position. The more we used this cargo box, the more we appreciated this design feature.

There are also integrated spots to secure straps to keep your items from shifting while in transit and you have the option of replacing the locking cores to allow a single key to lock or unlock all of your Yakima products. All in all, we think this is a fantastic option for anyone who doesn’t want a lot of hassle when it comes to their roof box.

No interior lights, no big deal
There isn't an interior light in the GrandTour, but many cargo box interior lights are not that great anyways. Installing a few after-market tap lights with adhesive strips is inexpensive and usually better than what typically comes installed in some cargo boxes. Alternatively, just use a headlamp or flashlight.

Unfortunately, the glossy finish is more prone to scuffs and...
Unfortunately, the glossy finish is more prone to scuffs and scratches. It also shows accumulated dirt more readily. However, it does look slick when it's clean.
Photo: David Wise

Durability


For our durability metric, we rated and compared how sturdy and well-built each box felt to our experts who have assessed dozens of cargo boxes over several years. We focus primarily on how floppy the lid feels, as well as looking at any wear and tear that these cargo boxes might have sustained throughout our testing process. The Yakima GrandTour again did very well, earning one of the better scores of the group for its impressive showing in our durability metric.


The lid on this cargo box is quite rigid and opens and closes smoothly. The locking lever is ergonomic and easy to turn, with a heft to it that makes us confident that it is built to last. The clamps have sliding seals to keep moisture or dust out and we never had any problems with water intrusion during heavy rain or snowstorms.

However, we do have one concern about the GrandTour when it comes to durability. While it didn’t sustain any noticeable wear and tear during testing, we are mildly concerned that the extremely glossy finish will show scratches and scuffs much more readily than some of the textured matte cargo boxes.

We like the larger handle on this cargo box.
We like the larger handle on this cargo box.
Photo: David Wise

Security


Our next round of tests looked at the security of each cargo box, rating and ranking how resistant to theft we feel each product is. While a determined thief would be able to access the contents of these boxes with enough force or specialized tools, there are differences between how much effort would be required to open these boxes, as well as when it comes to how secure they feel. The GrandTour feels like one of the more solid options of the group, earning it a top-tier score.


The GrandTour has the standard Yakima locking core that, as we mentioned above, can be replaced if you want to rekey your cargo carrier to match your crossbars or if you lose the keys.

There is a sturdy handle that opens the lid, with clear visual indicators that show if the box is unlocked or locked. On top of that, the key also can’t be removed if the box is unlocked, making it much more difficult to accidentally drive off with the cargo carrier unlocked. We also like that the clamps cannot be loosened unless the box is opened, aiming to prevent someone from undoing the clamps from the outside and taking off with the entire cargo box and the gear within.

The Yakima has an almost mirror-like finish.
The Yakima has an almost mirror-like finish.
Photo: David Wise

Appearance


Our last set of evaluations looks at the appearance of each cargo carrier, focusing on the color, finish, shape, and overall look of each product. The Yakima GrandTour — in our minds — is one of the better-looking cargo carriers of the group, meriting it a great score in this metric.


The GrandTour is an exceptionally sleek and stylish roof box that we think will complement the appearance of most cars. However, it is only available in a high gloss black finish so that is something to consider if you think that will clash with your car’s color. It also is one of the larger boxes so it can look a bit out of place on some smaller cars.

Value


The GrandTour is a solid value. While it isn’t the cheapest roof box, it offers a surprisingly good price per cubic foot and a top-tier performance overall. There are cargo boxes that cost considerably more, too, but we don't think they add more performance advantages. Compared to the other cargo boxes on the market, the price here is fair, and the performance is top-notch, proving strong value in a built-to-last product.

Conclusion


We think the GrandTour is one of the best options out there. Throughout our testing period, it appeared durable and secure to use, all while being one of our favorites when it comes to installation and convenience. It’s convenient and easy to use, with a stylish look that offers plenty of room for all your gear. If you will use your cargo box frequently, this model should be at the top of your shortlist.

David Wise