2012 Honda CR-V Long Term Road Test

2012 Honda CR-V: Factory Roof Rack Follies

December 18, 2012

2012 Honda CR-V

It's time once again for my family's annual holiday road trip up the California coast to Oregon, and this time we're taking the 2012 Honda CR-V. Thing is, cargo space is going to be at a premium, what with all the presents and all.

So I'm thinking about installing a roof pod. Or at least I was until I saw what it costs to rig one up.

Our CR-V is an EX-L, which is a good start because one of the many things you get when you step up from EX to EX-L is a pair of aluminum roof rails that run from front to back above the doors. They're a good foundation and they can support 165 pounds. If you have an LX or EX you can fork over $491 to get the same bits from a Honda dealer's parts department as an accessory. Those who aren't into the whole DIY thing will pay still more for installation.

In all cases the all-important cross rails your gear is meant to attach to aren't part of the deal. Honda wants another $791 for a pair of those. Ouch. This may be a job for the aftermarket.

Yakima sells square cross bars and fittings that mate with our CR-V's factory roof rails for $315, and Thule sells a similar square pair for $365. Thule also offers another option with more aerodynamic cross bars for $425.

Why such a difference? Factory accessories need to generate profit for three entities, not two. And then there's the matter of reputation and development time. Honda has more at stake in terms of how their "Honda Genuine" cross rails affect things like wind noise, fuel economy and the related customer satisfaction quality scores. In their case it's more of a low-volume tailor-made situation with fully rounded corners and smooth surfaces as opposed to a set of adaptors that mate with overhanging universal cross rails shared across an entire product line.

And here's the punch line: The above expenses come before we start talking about the $450 to $600 they get for a cargo box that sits on top. It adds up fast.

At this point it looks like we're going to have to pack more conservatively and send some of our gifts up north with the grandparents in their car. We'll manage ? probably.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 11,768 miles

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Edmunds Insurance Estimator

The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Honda CR-V in WA is:

$131 per month*
* Explanation