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Yakima ShowCase 15 Review

The ShowCase is an expensive, sleek box with below-average user friendliness and difficult installation.
Yakima Showcase 15
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Price:  $699 List | $699.00 at REI
Pros:  Sleek look, durable construction
Cons:  Expensive, frustrating installation, hard to open and close
Manufacturer:   Yakima
By Lauren DeLaunay ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Nov 14, 2019
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58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#5 of 8
  • Ease of Use - 40% 5
  • Durability - 25% 6
  • Security - 20% 6
  • Appearance - 15% 7

Our Verdict

We were stumped when it came to the ShowCase. It has one of the higher retail prices of the entire group, but we genuinely liked the mid-range boxes better. This wasn't just due to their value but for their improved performance as well. We found quite a few things that we didn't like about the ShowCase, including a difficult mounting system and frustrating handle-less design, and though it still scored higher than the lowest-end budget models, we have a hard time recommending the ShowCase over its competitors.

Product Update
Since our testing period, Yakima added a stiffer bar to this roof box, intending to increase stability in the base.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Yakima Showcase 15
This Product
Yakima ShowCase 15
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award  
Price $699.00 at REI$749.95 at REI
Compare at 2 sellers
$1,049.95 at REI
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$447.19 at Amazon
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$499.95 at Backcountry
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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Pros Sleek look, durable constructionEasiest to install, ergonomic handle, sleek designSleek, stylish, easy to useGreat handle, cool appearance, less expensiveSimple installation, sleek matte finish, great shape for skis
Cons Expensive, frustrating installation, hard to open and closePriceyPricey, only available in a single colorFrustrating installationClunky shape, inconvenient handle
Bottom Line The ShowCase is an expensive, sleek box with below-average user friendliness and difficult installation.The Motion XT is an excellent, high-end cargo box that excels in every category.The best looking box you can buy, if you can afford it.The SkyBox Carbonite is an exceptional value because of its top-notch user friendly design.This is an above-average product that is very spacious and easy to use.
Rating Categories Yakima ShowCase 15 Thule Motion XT XL Thule Hyper XL Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite Thule Force XT XL
Ease Of Use (40%)
10
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5
10
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8
10
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8
10
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7
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7
Durability (25%)
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6
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7
Security (20%)
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6
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7
Appearance (15%)
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Specs Yakima ShowCase 15 Thule Motion XT XL Thule Hyper XL Yakima Skybox 16... Thule Force XT XL
Weight (lbs) 56 lb 42 lb 46 lb 47 lb 47 lb
Volume (Cubic Feet) 15 cu ft 18 cu ft 17 cu ft 16 cu ft 18 cu ft
Size (Inches - L x W x H) 80" x 36" x 14.5" 84.5" x 36" x 17" 90" x 34.5" x 15" 81" x 36" x 15" 84.5" x 36" x 17"
Additional Sizes 20 L (16) and XXL (22) n/a Lo, 12, 18, and 21 Sport (11), L (16), and XXL (22)
Maximum Ski Length 180 cm 200 cm 199 cm 185cm 200 cm
Box Opening Dual-side Dual-side Dual-side Dual-side Dual-side

Our Analysis and Test Results

As we've said before, the devil is in the details for this review. Since every box we tested would effectively move your things from one place to another, we looked to the finer points of each product to make detailed comparisons. We like the look of the ShowCase, but it pretty much stops there. With no handle, a difficult-to-press button, and a frustrating mounting system, we were generally disappointed with this product and would much more highly recommend plenty of other models

Performance Comparison


The glossy ShowCase shows off in the Sierra.
The glossy ShowCase shows off in the Sierra.

Ease of Use


For this category, we were mainly concerned with assembly, mounting, and opening/closing. Interestingly, each product we tested had very difficult systems for each, making it easy to draw comparisons. The ShowCase requires no assembly, but its mounting system and lack of opening and closing ease were baffling to our testers. We were originally pleased with the ShowCase — compared to the U-bolt systems of the cheaper models, this installation was a breeze. The directions were confusing, yes, and it did take us a little longer than expected, sure. But what an improvement, we thought. That is, until we tested model with an integrated unibody clamp, like the top Thule models, which were by far the favorite.

Once we figured Yakima's mounting system out, it wasn't so bad, but at least we knew exactly what to do with the simple U-bolt systems. We read and re-read the directions and found it pretty difficult to install on anything but the tiniest of cars. We needed to have two hands at all times, with a third almost being necessary at times. This was a stark contrast to many other products that only required a one-handed install, and made it exceptionally difficult to get the ShowCase on a larger vehicle. While we wouldn't go as far as to say it is a horrible system, it is significantly more frustrating than other product boxes and left us feeling generally confusing and disappointed, especially for similarly priced products.

The mounting system of the ShowCase was confusing and difficult to remove.
The mounting system of the ShowCase was confusing and difficult to remove.

While weight is a fairly negligible concern for most of these cargo bodes, the ShowCase is a whopping 56 pounds, making it significantly more difficult to mount, especially if you have to lift it above your head. The woes continued once the box was mounted. We liked that the turning of the key and the pressing of the unlatch button were two different actions, but the button itself was difficult to press and we had a hard time unlatching the box. And once the box was "unlatched" via the button, we still couldn't open it! Because of the lack of handle and the glossy finish, we found ourselves needing to pinch the edge of the box to open and close it. We were stumped. Closing the box, unfortunately, wasn't any easier, as the lack of handle forced us to push down on the very top of the lid to get it to latch which was difficult because of both reach and materials.

Durability


We drove this box up and down highways for spring skiing and climbing adventures and found it completely unscathed. Like the other products in this review, we didn't hear it rumble or whisper once, our gas mileage was unaffected, and it suffered not a scratch (though there were quite a few dead bugs on the front).

Through rain and wind, the ShowCase was unaffected. There isn't a single hole in the box for water to seep into and none of our hose tests even came close to getting your belongings wet. If your main concern is that your beloved gear stays warm and dry, you won't be disappointed with the ShowCase's performance. We should note, though, that since Yakima's won't claim complete waterproofness, neither we will, and it would be wise to store your electronics in a drybag before putting them on your roof. Despite feeling burly and thick, the plastic lid is floppier than we expected it to be compared to its competitors. We occasionally had a hard time lining up the lid to latch it properly, and its floppiness made us concerned about its durability.

Yakima ShowCase
Yakima ShowCase

Security


Because most of the boxes in our review have adequate security systems, we extended this category to include every aspect of the system, little details and all. We would have no doubts trusting the ShowCase to keep our things secure — once we got the lid latched, that is. Other than that, we found the button and key system annoying compared to its competitors.

We didn't prefer the hard-to-press button of the ShowCase.
We didn't prefer the hard-to-press button of the ShowCase.

While we liked that the opening of the ShowCase is two steps, we didn't like that you can't tell at a glance if the box is latched or not. While other boxes reverberate a satisfying click when it latches and has a bright red indicator strip, letting you know your things are secure, the ShowCase has no such thing. We noticed that we had to press down harder on the top of the box to latch it due to the lack of a handle. Generally speaking, we were unimpressed with the finer details of the ShowCase, including its locking mechanisms.

Appearance


We've said it before and we'll say it again: looks matter. While we know you're looking for performance over appearance, if two boxes score exactly the same in our functionality tests, wouldn't you pick the better-looking one? We couldn't help but include visual appeal as a small part of our scoring, and this is one area where the ShowCase excelled.

The ShowCase is also available in grey.
The ShowCase is also available in grey.

We did prefer the matte black look on other boxes for its dirt and scratch concealing ability, but we can't deny that the ShowCase is sleek. Available in classic black and gray, we thought it looked timeless and classy — potentially even too nice for our lead tester's old van! We gave it extra points for being one of two boxes available in more than one color. The ShowCase is a crowd stopper-- we just wish its performance matched its looks.

The ShowCase helps our testers prepare for an adventure in the Sierra.
The ShowCase helps our testers prepare for an adventure in the Sierra.

Value


The ShowCase pairs a fairly high price tag with a middling performance in our tests, making it a poor choice as a value buy.

Stuffing the ShowCase to the brim is standard when you can't choose between skiing and climbing!
Stuffing the ShowCase to the brim is standard when you can't choose between skiing and climbing!

Conclusion


The ShowCase's expensive price tag was unmatched by its inferior performance. Between the lack of a handle, hard-to-press button, and confusing mounting system, the only thing we really liked about this box was its sleek look.


Lauren DeLaunay