Top positive review
6 people found this helpful
Has competently gotten the job done for 8 years
on June 9, 2013
I've owned the Yakima Q-Tower system for almost eight years. I just transferred it to my third vehicle (same bars and Q-Tower, somewhat different clips needed for different vehicles).
I found the installation instructions to be clear.
The installation process was straightforward and eminently "doable" by this "not-so-handy" guy.
The tower itself, and the foot, appears relatively aerodynamically efficient. The lock housing -- not so much (the lock housing is the assembly that holds the clip and the lock and has the cam that locks down the unit to the car).
I also bought the optional fairing, but have never used it. I liked the idea that the fairing would reduce wind noise and slightly increase fuel economy. But I found that I'd have to remove the fairing to attach things to the bars -- and at least some of the things that I wanted to attach were incompatible with the fairing. I don't even use it when I just have the bars up there because -- well -- I usually try to remove the whole mess when I'm not using it to even more surely decrease noise and increase gas mileage.
The round bars have been effective -- can't complain about them. I presume that they are slightly more aerodynamically efficient than Thule's standard square bars, but can't prove it.
The bars definitely increase wind noise when they are up there -- I'm even more inclined than usual to keep my speed down with the bars up there -- to keep down noise and minimize fuel efficiency decrease.
Why did I buy Yakima's system instead of Thule's eight years ago? Well, I wanted to ensure that it would fit well on my vehicle. My vehicle's manufacturer offered the Yakima rack as an optional accessory at time of purchase -- so I figured that pretty much guaranteed good compatibility.
If I were buying a system now, I think that I would look into one of the new Aero bars (i.e., with more of a wing-shaped cross-section).
Incidentally, the three vehicles I've used this on were: 2006 Scion xB (the old original boxy version), 2008 Toyota Prius, 2013 Toyota Prius.
I've used it with bicycles, a kayak, and a cargo box.