While we focused yesterday on all the places you can store stuff (and especially bottles) inside the Toyota Sienna interior, today I thought I'd point out how another minivan makes it easier to store stuff up on the roof. The 2021 Chrysler Pacifica includes a clever integrated roof rack system that basically lets you store the cross bars on the van itself rather than somewhere in the garage. But wait, can't you always just leave crossbars on your car? Sure, if you want to live with extra wind noise and a fuel economy reduction. You see, the Pacifica stores them flush within a rail unit running length-wise with the roof. Basically, they're hidden away until you need them.
The Subaru Outback has something similar to this, which we've previously reviewed. With its integrated crossbars, you just flip open a latch, fling the bar to the opposite side of the car and plug it in. Then repeat. It couldn't be simpler. Although the Chrysler system is more complicated, it does have a key advantage. Let's see how they work.
Chrysler tries to use chrome trim in order to create the visual illusion of raised roof rails from afar, but up close ...
... they clearly aren't. It's just a G.O.B.-grade illusion created by the chrome trim arching over black plastic trim.
You have to unscrew each end of the bars by turning these little pieces.
The bars are then completely detached from the van. You then have to articulate each of the bars so that they go from their straight, flush-mounted position to the necessary raised position. That's quite easy to do.
Be careful, though as these suckers are sturdy metal. You don't want to drop one onto those fancy glass roof panels.
Subaru avoids all this and allows you to simply swing the bar across by utilizing a bulky rail housing that raises them up to the necessary height, but provides a visual that probably gives some car designers nightmares.
There are letters at each mounting point that align to those on a bar end. So, make sure to go A with A, D with D, etc.
However, you have two options for placing the C/D bar, meaning you're not stuck with a one-size-must-fit-all gap as with the Subaru. This is without question the advantage to Chrysler's approach here.
So voilà! What once didn't have crossbars now has them. It might not take seconds as with the Outback, but they're sure-as-hell quicker and easier to install than aftermarket crossbars. They provide a cleaner look, too, and have a perfectly normal 150-pound weight limit.
Oh, and it's not just the Pacifica that has these. You can get them on the Dodge Durango as well.
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