A-WAY Roof Top Cargo Box for Carens
On most long drives, the car has to accommodate two pets, one baby seat, and two adults. The last row and boot of the car goes to Echo and Pathu. One side seat in the middle row goes to the baby seat. Two adults are primarily in the front row.
That leaves no space for luggage. Even though we can accommodate cabin baggage in the middle row, it reduces foot space and makes interacting with the baby difficult. Also, we have a lot of luggage with a baby and two pets. Hence the need for a luggage box.
I had two options: a removable soft luggage top and a fixed hard-case. I went with a fixed hard-case issue, as I wanted
- Security (the ability to park the car in unattended areas)
- Better protection
- No moving parts outside
The next step was to find the brand and a dealer. I wanted to buy as much as possible from a local brand, primarily because of the availability and serviceability. The options are
- Thule is a very popular brand in the segment. It's from Sweden. You can't go wrong with it. Many options are available. I don't know about sourcing it.
- Yakima is another popular brand. Again, there are many choices, but I don't know about sourcing it in India.
- REI - My favorite brand from the US. Again, it is difficult to source in India.
- Farad ships from Maharashtra, but they import from Europe. They also have various boxes. They sell online, and they have instruction videos if you want them.
- Carbonado sells mobility gear. They do have a cargo box, but it's back-ordered. They are an Indian brand. They do have other stuff like backpacks, side-bags, etc.
- A-WAY is an Indian brand and ship from Maharashtra. They have a couple of options.
My choice was A-WAY.
- Looks good. I got the black textured finish. It looks great. But the seller thinks the body-colored glossy finish will look much better. But for me, the black textured finish looks the best.
- Good Pricing. It is much better priced than other brands.
- Good support. You can talk to the A-WAY folks and ask for suggestions, help, etc. They are very responsive and help you in all possible ways.
- The box had everything I needed.
- Ships faster. I got it within four days.
The box itself had all the features that I required.
Size: It's about 450ltrs of additional boot space for me. It's 179cm (Under 6 ft or 70.4" ) in length, 81cm ( a bit more than two and a half feet or 31.8") in width, and 33cm ( a bit more than a foot or 12.99") in height. Most carry-on luggage is 22" x 14" x 9". So you fit them easily. On my first trip, I carried two carry-on pieces of luggage, one duffle bag, and three other regular-sized backpacks.
Shape: It's aerodynamic. I didn't feel anything, even at higher speeds; there was also no sound. It seemed very sturdy. Since it's aerodynamic, the height varies across the length. I have not measured the minimum height. I had my heavier and bigger luggage at the back and smaller and lighter luggage at the front.
Locking: It comes with two keys. The lock feels sturdy and locks at three points on each side. If one doesn't fall in place (primarily due to overloading or bigger-size luggage), it doesn't lock.
Loading: The cover can be opened from both sides. This helps in loading and unloading, especially in crowded places, and helps in organizing well or finding any specific luggage. The hinges feel sturdy as well. The cover holds the position. The height of Carens is about five and a half feet. And the box sits on top of the crossbars, adding at least six inches. It's difficult for me to load or unload luggage without help. I do carry a foldable stool of 1.5 feet, which is multi-purpose. I also have a "car doorstep for roof access." That helps a lot, especially for quick access.
Secure Packing: I hate loose or moving pieces of luggage. Thankfully, A-WAY also sent me two "Adjustable Luggage Carry Strap Belts," nylon straps with metal cam buckle. This makes tying down the luggage easy. I got two more similar ones from Trek and Ride. These straps are all general purpose; you can use them with the box, in the boot, or with your motorcycle. You can also use bungee cords or nylon ropes if you have them. There are enough hook points inside to tie down the luggages.
Summary: I have done 1000+ kilometers on this trip with full luggage and at various speeds. It's been rock solid and made my trips very comfortable. I am pleased about this accessory to IBlue.