Review: Thule Boxster 611

By TC WORLEY

Thule, a leading maker of roof-top gear boxes, has upped the ante with its Boxster 611. The high-end box sports a glossy, two-tone finish and more than 18 cubic feet of cargo space — a veritable “second trunk” that was enough to haul gear, suitcases, backpacks, and travel items for our dog on a recent 2,600-mile road trip I took with my family to North Carolina.

The box has a sleek, “European-inspired” look intended to appeal to higher-end customers who want a box that compliments the look of their vehicle. I gotta say, my friends were impressed when I rolled up with this box on top of my car. It was definitely a departure from the utilitarian boxes I have owned in the past.

Thule Boxster 611.jpg

Thule Boxster 611 on the author’s Scion XB; photo by TC Worley

Now the tough part: The Boxster 611, which could easily swing on a BMW or Saab stationwagon, costs a sky-high $799. Most people who do not own a luxury vehicle will scoff at the price tag.

But if you can afford it — I was only demo’ing the box — the 611 is bound to please. Mounting the 62-pound box was a cinch compared to previous models I have owned. Thule designed it with four sets of “claws” to grab a rack. They clamp down on your load bars with the twist of a knob inside the box. On my car, the box was in position in less than two minutes, including a few small adjustments to get it centered on the vehicle.

While not the largest box Thule makes — it measures about 85 × 16 × 37 inches — the box can fit skis, snowboards, golf bags, fishing poles, and other large items. As mentioned, the 611 was big enough to hold the equivalent of a trunk-load of gear on my family’s recent road trip. Indeed, it seems to have been designed for a customer who needs SUV-like storage but owns a stationwagon or smaller “cross-over” vehicle like my 2009 Scion XB.

Thule Boxster 611 box.jpg

Thule Boxster 611

This box not only swallows a lot of items, but it really holds them well. It comes equipped with removable tie-down straps to lash the luggage in place. A quality keyed lock keeps items safe when the vehicle is unattended.

For convenience, it opens from either side of the vehicle — a single lock opens the box and a hinge on either end holds it ajar until you are ready to pull the rubber-grip handle to close it up again.

Overall, I had no complaints with this box from a functional stance. The price tag definitely puts the Boxster 611 in a “premium” category and out of reach for many adventurers. But in my test, the simple, stylish and well-made box rode quietly and securely for thousands of miles on my trip. If form and function are both top priorities, and you have the money to make it happen, this may be the box for you.

—TC Worley is a freelance photographer in Minneapolis.

Posted by Rob Brewer - 09/18/2009 03:43 PM

Could you share what kind of impact this had on your fuel mileage?

Posted by t.c. worley - 09/21/2009 06:32 AM

Rob,

Hard to for say for sure since I also had 4 people, a 60lb dog and all our gear on board. I did try to make sure that the box was positioned in my slipstream as much as possible. I would say the drag has been minimal. I never get the loud roaring at highway speeds that I used to get with some of my boxes- which tells me it is not in the wind as much. Hope this helps.

Posted by Kevin - 10/14/2009 06:07 AM

That vehicle is not very visually pleasing. It hurts my eyes and makes the Thule look even nicer. Is that what you were going for?

Posted by ugh - 10/17/2009 02:13 PM

kevin, your comment hurts my brain. are you an asshole?

Posted by Jen B - 10/21/2009 07:11 AM

Ugh, you some kind of douch bag?

Posted by t.c. worley - 10/21/2009 12:35 PM

Kevin,

It’s a polarizing design to be sure. The comment is a little juvenile, but all the same I am sorry about your sore eyes. Godspeed with the healing.

Posted by SSF - 11/01/2009 11:42 PM

Is it just me or are these things really overpriced? It’s two big pieces of not very high-tec plastic and a little hardware. You’d think Rubbermaid would jump in with a $150 roof box and undercut thule and yakima.

Posted by t.c. worley - 11/21/2009 09:04 PM

SSF,

It is a lot of dough – main reason I do not have one… However, I will say that while testing it I was in love with it. It is probably overdesigned to be awesome. The mounting and lock hardware were mindless to operate and the thing is watertight. It rode on my car for over 3 months and nary a drop. Outa’ my league, but some people have it to spend – you feel?

Posted by mac - 11/26/2009 02:04 PM

I thought the same thing about the price when I got my Yakima a few years back but it has been well worth it. Side note: the lid on mine blew off in a dust storm outside of Salt Lake City once….good times. for sure.

Posted by Kevin - 12/01/2009 06:08 AM

Thanks TC for the response. I am a student who wants to be a photographer just thought it was a trick or something. No offense, I hope.

Posted by Sue - 01/06/2010 11:49 PM

I have a 3-dr Hyundai accent, and am looking for a cargo box. Do you think this would be too big to use with a small car? Thule’s “fit guide” on their website recommends this box, but it’s hard to tell if that’s simply because it’s new and expensive. What do you think?

Posted by t.c. worley - 02/25/2010 03:55 PM

Sue,
This is a big box and may look a little silly on a small car – that is debatable. If it is good ole’ utility that you want, this thing swallows a lot of gear. That equals beauty to me!

Kevin – no offense taken, the Scion XB treads lightly on the planet and holds all the gear I need. That is the real appeal.

Posted by Gerard - 03/15/2010 02:57 AM

Nice review. I’ve been researching a lot of cargo box, and I’ve decided on this one. It’s going to be my first cargo box, so i’ve decided to spend the money while I can afford it. hopefully this thing will last longer than expected.

Posted by Dan & Shannon C - 04/13/2010 05:58 AM

Hi t.s. worley,
This is the nicest box out there for sure.Just yesterday we had one on top of our 2004 Honda Pilot just to see how it will look.I wanted the Atlantis 2100 but i wouldn’t be able to open the hatch all the way.Up here in Canada these babies are $ 999.00 at Racks for Cars (Edmonton area) plus 5% tax,when you consider that out bucks $$ are like on par we get ripped off in Canada,i wish i could pay “only” $ 800.00 US/CDN …who cares.Enjoy you new trunk.

Posted by ellen tomasiewicz - 06/08/2010 05:59 AM

hey scion people. we just bought a 2011 xb yesterday and want to get the roof cargo thing happening. can someone recommend the exact yakima or thule roof rack system that will fit this car? we would be eternally grateful

Posted by T.C.Worley - 06/28/2010 07:36 PM

Ellen,

I just got on the Thule site and punched in my info – they make it pretty easy. Start there, or go to a local retailer, they’ll know what you need.

Posted by danny - 04/17/2011 11:47 PM

hey i just purchased a scion xb, thanks for your post. my trunk space has a flipping huge subwoofer in it, and im a new dad! do you think the thule has space for a baby stroller folded down? i gotta find something that will also keep a stroller dry or my subs have to go. any advice would be helpful

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