LOS ANGELES — Elon Musk defeated defamation allegations Friday from a British cave explorer who claimed he was branded a pedophile when the Tesla CEO called him “pedo guy” in an angry tweet.
Vernon Unsworth, who participated in the rescue of 12 boys and their soccer coach trapped for weeks in a Thailand cave last year, had sought $190 million in damages from a man his lawyer called the “billionaire bully."
It took less than an hour for an eight-person jury in Los Angeles federal court to reject Unsworth's claim.
Musk said the verdict restored his faith in humanity as he left the court with a security detail.
Musk — who deleted the tweet and later apologized for it — had asserted the expression was nothing more than a flippant insult that meant “creepy old man,” not pedophile.
Unsworth had provoked the attack by belittling Musk’s contribution to the rescue -- a miniature sub his engineers built that was never used -- as ineffective and nothing more than a “PR stunt.” He further earned the ire of the tech whiz by suggesting Musk stick the sub “where it hurts.”
On Friday, it was Unsworth who felt the pain.
“I accept the jury verdict, take it on the chin, and move on,” Unsworth said outside court.
Jury foreman Joshua Jones said the panel decided Unsworth’s lawyers had failed to prove their case. He said they spent too much time trying to appeal to jurors' emotions and not concentrating on the evidence.
“The failure probably happened because they didn’t focus on the tweets,” Jones said after the verdict was announced. “I think they tried to get our emotions involved in it."
Attorney Lin Wood suggested the jury should award $190 million, including $150 million as a “hard slap on the wrist” to punish Tesla CEO for what he said was akin to dropping an atomic weapon on his client that would create problems for years like a radioactive fallout.
Wood said it was important to challenge Musk's tweet in court even if they didn't win. Unsworth had said the statement would appear true if he didn't sue.
"Anybody that knows this man, knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Elon’s accusations were false," Wood said outside court. “This was not the justice that he deserved under the evidence.”
Wood said the verdict sends a message that people can get away with making accusations.
“Everyone who hears about this verdict should be very, very concerned about their own reputations," he said.
Musk's lawyer told the jury the tweet did not rise to the level of defamation. Attorney Alex Spiro said Unsworth also failed to show actual damages.
Spiro left the courthouse only saying that the jury did the right thing.
Spiro mocked Unsworth's claims that he had been shamed and humiliated and that the tweet effectively sentenced him to a life sentence without parole, noting that there are many people actually serving such a term.
Spiro noted that Unsworth had been honored by the queen of England and the king of Thailand, had his photo taken next to British Prime Minister Theresa May and been asked to speak at schools and contribute to a children's book, which showed that no one took Musk's insult seriously.
“People accused of pedophilia don't get celebrated by world leaders,” Spiro said. “Kings and queens and prime ministers don't stand next to pedophiles.”
Tesla has in mind helping you kill time while at the Supercharger by providing several entertainment features on its cars.
To answer the question you probably have, no, you can't use them when the car is not in park.
The biggest compromise one makes when buying an electric vehicle is having to plug it in to charge it up, which even at the fastest chargers takes significantly more time than pumping a tank of gas. There's only so much social media scrolling we can take before we're bored out of our minds, but luckily our new long-term Tesla Model 3 is equipped with several entertainment features to help while away time at the local Supercharger.
Michael SimariCar and Driver
All of the car's entertainment features are part of the major version 10 software update that Tesla rolled out in September and are locked out when the car is driving. We updated our Model 3 just after delivery and can now choose to catch up on our latest Netflix or Hulu obsessions, check out the latest ASMR video on YouTube, or indulge in one of the onboard arcade games, which are controlled by the car's steering wheel and other controls. There's even a crackling fireplace video if you decide you want to relax or nap while waiting on that full battery. And, at least temporarily, the streaming-video services can be used with the car's built-in data connection. However that may go away as Tesla fulfills its promise to provide free WiFi at every Supercharger location.
"It's the perfect activity to keep me busy while Supercharging," said Stephanie Kowall, owner of a 2018 Model 3. Kowall charges her Model 3 at a charging station near Los Angeles about once per week and prefers watching shows over playing games.
"I'm generally not super into video games, so I'm probably not the target audience for that feature," she says. Her partner, Stan Chibashov, says the games just aren't as appealing as the streaming video options, but he admits he has dabbled with the Lunar Lander game.
For those concerned that utilizing the Model 3's entertainment features will extend charging times, there's no noticeable increase as the power draw for these features is minuscule relative to the firehose of energy being pumped into the car.
Michael SimariCar and Driver
Users might end up spending a little extra time at the Supercharger for another reason, though. Kowall admitted to us that she upped her maximum charge cutoff point recently to justify waiting around to finish an episode of Netflix's hit show Queer Eye.
In our experience, Supercharging the Model 3 from a nearly dead battery takes a little more than an hour, which is plenty of time to kick back and disconnect for a little bit. Plus, it's great to know we're not the only ones who find the features so useful and that real-life Tesla owners are embracing the entertainment options as ways to pass the time.
That figure includes 229 rapes across the company's 1.3 billion rides. Uber noted that drivers and riders were both attacked, and that some assaults occurred between riders.
In 2017, the company said 2,936 sexual assaults were reported. Uber bases its numbers on reports from riders and drivers — meaning the actual numbers could be much higher. Sexual assaults commonly go unreported.
“I suspect many people will be surprised at how rare these incidents are; others will understandably think they’re still too common,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi tweeted about the report. “Some people will appreciate how much we’ve done on safety; others will say we have more work to do. They will all be right.”
Uber and competitor Lyft have faced a backlash for not doing enough to protect the safety of its riders and drivers. Dozens of women are suing Lyft, claiming the company should have done more to protect them from driver assaults.
Uber's safety report is the first of its kind, the company said in a tweet.
“Keeping this information in the dark doesn’t make anyone safer,” Uber said in a statement announcing the report.
The company also said Uber rides were involved in 58 traffic fatalities, and nine murders during 2018.
Uber noted that the vast majority — 99.9% — of rides did not have any reported safety issues.
The ride-sharing company Uber has issued a report on safety for 2017 and 2018, disclosing that riders have filed thousands of complaints from unwanted touching to physical violence, including rape.
The report says nearly 6000 sexual assault claims were filed during those two years and also says 19 people died from physical assaults during or after an Uber ride.
Uber's website says its guidelines encourage "safety and respect for all," but a just-released internal report shows that CEO Dara Khosrowshahi is right when he says that for Uber, safety is a "really hard problem."
That's what Khosrowshahi wrote in a letter to Uber staff that made its way to Twitter just before the company released its report to the public today. The company found that thousands of serious sexual assaults happened as a result of Uber rides in the past two years.
The numbers tell the story. The report covers the 2.3 billion rides that happened in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018 and makes public the numbers for three types of incidents: motor vehicle fatalities, fatal physical assault,s and sexual assaults. Khosrowshahi said 99.9 percent of all Uber rides in the U.S. in 2017 and 2018 ended without an issue. A small number (0.1 percent) resulted in a safety-related incident, and just 0.0003 percent of all the trips—or around 6900 trips—resulted in a reported sexual assault. He also said in his letter that as Uber has been tracking the numbers, sexual assault reports decreased 16 percent from 2017 to 2018 and were down another 17 or so percent in the first half of 2019. But the company told the New York Times that it received reports of 2936 sexual assaults in 2017 and 3045 in 2018.
That sexual assault category was further broken down into five subcategories. Here they are, along with the frequency the company was made aware of:
Non-consensual kissing of a non-sexual body part (1 in every 2,000,000 completed trips)
Attempted non-consensual sexual penetration (about 1 in 4,000,000)
Non-consensual touching of a sexual body part (about 1 in every 800,000)
Non-consensual kissing of a sexual body part (1 in every 3,000,000)
Non-consensual sexual penetration (about 1 in 5,000,000)
That means that five of every 14.8 million Uber rides—or one in every 2.96 million—result in some sort of reported sexual assault. Uber says that riders and drivers report assaults at roughly the same rate in these sexual assault categories. RAINN, the nation's largest anti-sexual-violence organization, says that in the general public, an American is sexually assaulted every 73 seconds.
The numbers for fatalities and physical assaults were much lower. The report says there were a total of 97 fatal crash reports and 107 total fatalities reported in 2017 and 2018. Given the number of Uber rides conducted in this time, Uber says that's about half the national rate. Of the 19 fatal physical assaults included in the report, eight were Uber riders, seven were drivers, and four were third-party individuals.
Khosrowshahi's letter says that while he knows that most companies don't release this kind of internal information, "We came to the shared belief that being a true leader requires that we do the right thing, which means acting with transparency, embracing accountability, and making decisions without fear of bad headlines," he wrote. "More importantly, keeping this information secret doesn't make anyone safer."
Uber has introduced new safety features in the last few years, including an emergency button in the app and RideCheck, which tries to automatically determine if something odd is happening, "such as unexpected long stops on a trip or possible vehicle crashes," and then notifies both the driver and the rider.
Uber says it will release a new safety report every two years and that "we encourage all organizations—airline, taxi, ride sharing, home sharing, and hotel companies, as well as others—to share their safety records with their customers and exceed this report."
Uber says it will expand its sexual misconduct and assault education to all of its U.S. drivers, in partnership with RAINN.
Uber's largest competitor, Lyft, has not issued its own safety report, but it is also being sued over rape and sexual assault charges, and there have been Lyft drivers accused of assaulting riders.
It’s turning out to be one of the worst years ever for auto workers across the globe amid shrinking demand and a tectonic shift in vehicle technology, with Daimler AG and Audi announcing almost 20,000 job cuts in just the past week.
All told, carmakers are eliminating more than 80,000 jobs during the coming years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News. Although the cuts are concentrated in Germany, the U.S. and the U.K., faster-growing economies haven’t been immune and are seeing automakers scale back operations there.
The German companies joined General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co. in massive retrenchments put in motion over the past year. The industry is sputtering as trade tensions and tariffs raise costs and stifle investment, and as manufacturers reassess their workforce in an era of electrification, autonomous driving and ride-on-demand services.
The global auto industry will produce 88.8 million cars and light trucks this year, an almost 6 percent drop from a year ago, according to researcher IHS Markit. German auto-industry lobby VDA on Wednesday predicted that the decline will continue next year, forecasting global deliveries of 78.9 million vehicles, the lowest level since 2015.
The pace of job cuts in the home of Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and BMW is expected to be “more pronounced in 2020,” VDA President Bernhard Mattes said at a press conference in Berlin, adding that the technology shift alone could lead to the loss of 70,000 jobs over the next decade.
“A fundamental structural change with enormously high investments at a time of deteriorating market dynamics -- the tension is being felt at many companies,” said Mattes.
Cuts are also being carried out in China, which employs the largest number of people in the industry and has been mired in a sales slump. Electric-vehicle startup NIO Inc., which has lost billions of dollars and watched its New York-listed shares plummet, dismissed about 20 percent of its workforce by the end of September, shedding more than 2,000 jobs.
“The persistent slowdown in global markets will continue to dent automakers’ margins and earnings, which have already been hurt by increased R&D spending for autonomous-driving technology,” said Gillian Davis, an analyst with Bloomberg Intelligence. “Many automakers are now focused on cost-saving plans to prevent margin erosion.”
Being an early leader in electrification hasn’t spared Nissan, which has been in turmoil since the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn a year ago.
With profits plumbing decade lows, the Japanese automaker is shedding 12,500 positions in the coming years, mostly at factories across the globe, to reduce costs as it rushes to refresh an aging model lineup. A redesigned version of the battery-powered Leaf, which debuted later than planned because of the loss of the company’s longtime leader, isn’t giving the company much of a boost this year.
Factory-floor workers have been rising up against the retrenching. GM’s more than 46,000 U.S. hourly workers staged a 40-day-long strike this fall — the longest against the company in almost half a century — but managed to coax the company into keeping open only one of the four American factories it made plans to shutter a year ago.
On Nov. 22, about 15,000 people marched in the streets to protest job cuts and factory closures in Stuttgart, the German city that’s home to the global headquarters of Daimler, Porsche and major parts supplier Robert Bosch GmbH.
Protesters in the historic downtown square of Schlossplatz wore red scarfs, blew whistles and waved red flags in support of Germany’s powerful labor union IG Metall, which organized the demonstrations. Top union officials who represent workers at Mercedes-Benz, Audi and many suppliers claim the companies are using the shift toward EVs as an excuse to push through deeper cuts and boost profits.
“We don’t let our jobs be taken away just because some managers haven’t done their homework,” Roman Zitzelsberger, the regional head of IG Metall in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg and the worker representative on Daimler’s supervisory board, told the crowd.
The job concerns proved to be justified. Audi announced a week later it will eliminate as many as 9,500 positions in Germany through 2025 as parent Volkswagen AG prepares for a costly transition to electric vehicles. Daimler announced plans to shed more than 10,000 worldwide.
If it were a country, the auto industry would be the world’s sixth-largest economy, according to Fircroft, a technical job-placement firm. In Germany alone, when including local operations of foreign manufacturers, about 150,000 jobs might be at risk in coming years, according to estimates by the Center of Automotive Management, near Cologne.
The clouds started to form for U.S. carmakers last year, when Ford revealed plans for a years-long, $11 billion restructuring. The company has made a series of piecemeal announcements since then, slashing roughly 10 percent of its global salaried ranks and shutting six plants: three in Russia and one apiece in the U.S., U.K. and France. Of roughly 17,000 jobs Ford is eliminating, 12,000 will be in Europe.
The state of car-factory jobs in the U.S. is less clear, mainly thanks to the new contracts Detroit-area automakers have been negotiating for the next four years.
The prospects looked somewhat bleak for the UAW when talks began this summer. With vehicle demand slowing, production shifts were being pared back across the country — by Nissan at its truck-and-van plant in Mississippi, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles at its Jeep Cherokee SUV factory in Illinois and Honda at an Ohio plant that mostly makes Accord sedans. Workers fear plug-in cars, which have fewer parts and require less labor to build, will doom auto jobs.
In the end, the UAW has announced commitments by GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler to invest almost $23 billion in U.S. facilities over the course of the next four years, and to add or retain more than 25,000 jobs. While that sounds like a lot, it remains to be seen whether the spending will actually boost production. It costs the companies billions to convert or retool existing factories for them to make new cars and powertrains.
The union also didn’t emerge without some bruising losses, with the most notably being its lost battle to save GM’s aging car plant in Lordstown, Ohio. The factory, opened in 1966, became a political football when the company announced production of Chevrolet Cruze sedans would end in March. President Donald Trump told supporters a year and a half earlier not to sell their homes, assuring them his administration would bring jobs back. GM sold the complex to cash-strapped electric-truck startup Lordstown Motors Corp. last month.
For Scott Brubaker, GM’s offloading of the Lordstown plant could be a one-way ticket out of the auto industry. The automaker transferred him to its Corvette sports-car plant in Bowling Green, Ky., which meant leaving an Ohio farm his family has owned for four generations.
The idling of the factory left him with two options: live in his camper trailer in Bowling Green and commute home on weekends, or take a $75,000 severance check from GM and find a new job near Lordstown. He has an offer to work for a company clearing land for developers, but it pays $5 an hour less than GM, and he says it would cost him his pension. Lordstown Motors is still raising money for its electric trucks, and Brubaker has his doubts it will succeed.
“I went to GM for good pay and benefits,” Brubaker said. “What we did in the plant we did successfully, and GM still pawned us off.”
NEW YORK — In these uneasy times, as we move along to a new decade, the Pantone Color Institute has reached back in time to calming, confident Classic Blue as its color of the year for 2020.
The color is an anchor offering stability, constancy and connection, said Laurie Pressman, vice president of the global purveyors of color consulting, trendspotting and analysis.
“It’s a reassuring presence,” she told The Associated Press ahead of Wednesday’s reveal.
Akin to maritime blue — not indigo and brighter than navy — Classic Blue evokes a feeling of vast expanse, Pressman said of the shade also known as Pantone 19-4052.
Pressman and her team scoured the worlds of art, fashion and home decor, along with commercial, graphic and industrial design, to come up with the pick, as they have since Cerulean became the inaugural color of the year for the milestone 2000.
But Classic Blue isn’t just about nostalgia, she said. Creators around the globe are putting out modern takes for runways, mobile phones, kitchen appliances and the paint of pricey, forward-looking cars and motorcycles. Pantone 19-4052 is just a shade darker than the color of the Ford Mustang Mach-E GT that was on display at the car's reveal:
Whether as throwback or harbinger of things to come, the color harkens back to when things “seemed simpler, seemed more comfortable, but at the same time not suggesting that it be done in a way that it was then,” Pressman said.
Cerulean, which heralded the new millennium, is the color of the daytime sky, while Classic Blue is the sky at dusk as the new decade commences.
“It has depth to it, but it’s a color of anticipation because we’re looking ahead,” Pressman said. “The day is over. We’re looking forward to the evening. What’s going to come?”
Classic Blue is a vibrant yet non-aggressive and easily relatable color, she said. It’s also among nature’s anthocyanin pigments possessing antioxidant and other health-fostering benefits.
“Many of us feel stressed, completely overloaded,” Pressman said. “We live these 24/7 lifestyles. We’re anxious. There’s so much uncertainty and unrest, no matter where you are. With that we’ve seen this whole increased focus on wellness and self-care.”
The timeless color is also gender neutral and seasonless, mixing well with other shades throughout the spectrum yet making a strong statement on its own. It also works well in a range of textures.
“It’s a color that can take on different appearances through different applications, finishes and textures,” Pressman said, lending itself to everything from lustrous sheens to sparkly sequins.
The anointed blue also plays into the sustainability movement.
“We have all this focus on buy less, buy good, so people aren’t throwing things into a landfill,” Pressman said. “You read about buying things to last and this is a timeless blue shade. It’s always there and you’re comfortable with it, like blue jeans.”
For offices, it offers an air of security, she said. For kitchens, it’s a top accent color in appliances and walls. Classic Blue is a mainstay color in stemware, dishes and other tabletop staples as a trusted expression of elegance, she said.
“Everybody’s comfortable with blue,” Pressman said. “We know it. We like it.”
With a scintillating twin-turbo V-6 engine and a sport-tuned suspension, the 2019 Mercedes-AMG C43 is worthy of the storied AMG name. This compact rocket comes in sedan, coupe, and convertible forms, each with an ever-increasing starting price. Buyers seeking a luxury car won't be satisfied by the C43's ride—it ranges from stiff to punishing depending on the road and the drive-mode setting. Where the C43 will impress luxury-minded buyers is in the cabin, which is trimmed in rich materials and offers an upscale atmosphere along with a plethora of features. If the regular C-class lineup fails to excite you, the C43—and the even hotter and more raucous C63 (reviewed separately)—is ready to step in to satisfy that need for speed.
What's New for 2019?
In addition to a power boost to 385 horsepower, the 2019 C43 sees both styling and content changes. A new grille, new wheel designs, and revised front and rear bumpers bring the C43's design in line with other AMG models. Inside, a digital gauge cluster becomes an option and a new sport steering wheel is standard. New wood and metal interior trimmings as well as optional AMG Performance seats with heat and ventilation are now offered.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
While the coupe and drop-top cabriolet models may turn more heads, we'd suggest the sedan for its practicality and lower cost of entry. It comes standard with plenty of luxury features, including all-wheel drive, heated power front seats with memory, a proximity key with push-button start, and automatic windshield wipers.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
Likes: Lightning-quick acceleration, precise steering, great roadholding ability. Dislikes: Ride is comfortable only on perfectly smooth surfaces, lackluster braking distances.
Carried over from 2016's C450 sedan, the C43's twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter V-6 is a gem. Powerful and torque rich, the 385-hp engine pairs with a new nine-speed automatic transmission that swaps cogs with both speed and precision. The boosted six has deep wells of power and never feels overwhelmed or overworked when you call upon it. Despite the boost in power from 362 to 385 horses, the 2019 C43 sedan delivered the same 4.1-second zero-to-60-mph time at our test track as the 2017 model we last tested. While Mercedes-AMG equips the C43 with a pair of steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters, we found the nine-speed gearbox a competent enough companion when left to its own devices.
Befitting its AMG badging, the dynamically adept C43 is a joy to pilot through twisty two-lanes. Credit its quick steering that's both direct and precise, as well as its rear-biased all-wheel-drive system that allows a dollop of chassis rotation before requesting additional assistance from the front wheels. The suspension can be adjusted between Comfort, Sport, and Sport+ settings. All three modes are needlessly stiff, however, and make driving over rough pavement a bone-jarring experience.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The C43's fuel economy won't put you in the good graces of your local Sierra Club. Still, the twin-turbocharged engine is quite thrifty given its heady performance. Any car that can leap to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds and also deliver 29 mpg in long-distance highway cruising is an impressive player. The C43 sedan we tested did just that; the coupe managed the same result but the convertible fell slightly behind in our real-world testing at 28 mpg.
Interior, Infotainment, and Cargo
Likes: High-class cabin, standard onboard Wi-Fi, above-average small-item storage. Dislikes: Navigation costs extra, small trunks on two-door models.
The C43's interior is finely detailed and crafted of rich materials that meet the expectations set by the model's lofty transaction price. As in other other C-class models, the C43 features a contemporary dashboard design with a flowing center stack that hides a deep storage well with a pair of cupholders. Largely devoid of buttons, the C43's center stack is anchored by a row of expensive-looking knurled rocker switches for operating the standard dual-zone automatic climate control. While ergonomically arranged, the climate-control panel sports small graphics that can be hard to read on the fly.
All C43 models come with a 10.5-inch infotainment display running the latest version of Mercedes-Benz's COMAND infotainment software; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard. Commands are completed using a rotary controller or a touchpad that's inconveniently placed atop the controller. Response times were no better or worse than your average smartphone.
The C43's trunk space is average; we fit four carry-on suitcases inside the trunk with the rear seats in use and 15 with the rear seats lowered. Wide door pockets and a pair of generously sized console bins provide the C43 with adequate interior storage. Still, the C-class is short on interior stowage compared with mainstream sedans such as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Every C43 comes equipped with standard safety features such as forward-collision warning along with automated emergency braking. Additional driver-assistance features are available as well. However, adding these items requires spending thousands on high-priced packages. Key safety features include:
Standard automated emergency braking
Standard forward-collision warning
Available adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Mercedes-AMG's warranty is shorter than a number of its competitors'. The brand also forgoes providing its customers with complimentary scheduled maintenance.
Limited warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty covers 4 years or 50,000 miles
No complimentary scheduled maintenance
Transcript: A foldable forklift. BM 214 by Palfinger is a collapsible forklift that fits neatly in a box. The remote-controlled forklift has a lifting capacity of 4,630 lbs. It’s powered by a diesel engine. BM 214 can extend to reach over 9 feet. When collapsed the compact forklift can be stored under the truck. This helps create a good center of gravity for the carrier vehicle. The BM 214 can be ready to operate in just 30 seconds.
Today's cargo carriers are sleek enough to work with the aesthetics of your vehicle without crushing your gas mileage. All you need is a roof rack—and sometimes you don't even need that—and you can expand the cargo capacity on top of your vehicle without looking like the Clampetts. See quick reviews below of our top five options, or scroll deeper for longer reviews of these and other rooftop carriers, plus helpful buying advice.
Thule Motion XT XL
Total Expert Score: 84.5/100 A sleek-looking, tough carrier for all your needs
Yakima SkyBox 16 Carbonite
Total Expert Score: 79.5/100
Room for all your gear, with a price that will let you buy more
Best Soft Cargo
Keeper Waterproof Bag
Total Expert Score: 84/100
A heavy-duty soft-sided cargo bag that works with most cars
Thule Force XT XL
Total Expert Score: 79/100
Easy to mount and remove, with plenty of space
Best Space For the Money
SportRack Vista XL
Total Expert Score: 72.5/100
A cavernous carrier with a low price tag
Things to Consider Before You Buy
First, if your car doesn't have a factory-installed rack that works with the carrier you want (or it doesn't have one at all), you'll need to purchase one. Either way, it's important to check your owner's manual or the vehicle manufacturer's website to determine the weight capacity of your car's roof.
Next, consider the physical dimensions of the box relative to the roof. Will it fit without hanging over the front or back? Is it long enough to accommodate what you want to use it for—like, say, a couple pairs of skis? If you have a hatch, will it open unencumbered or will the box get in the way? How much height will the carrier add to your vehicle? This is especially important for anyone who wants to pull into a garage without having to remove the box each time. Before purchasing a carrier, check the manufacturer's website for information like load restrictions, box dimensions, even images for how the box looks on different styles of cars.
Also, look at the carrier's shape. If you plan on making the box a semi-permanent addition to your vehicle or you spend most of your time on highways, consider something that's aerodynamic and not boxy. You'll likely pay a little more, but what you spend on the streamlined carrier, you'll save in gas.
Other Features to Look For
Consider how and from which end the box opens. When reaching overhead or across the roof, you want a handle that's easy to grip and operate, especially if you're vertically challenged. And depending on your vehicle and how you access the carrier, determine whether you prefer a box that opens from the back or the side. Lastly, most people shopping for a rooftop carrier prefer one that locks, allowing you to stash valuables at, say, a campsite when your only other option is inside your tent. You'll also want your hard-shell carrier to be watertight or your soft-sided bag to be waterproof.
What Type of Mounting System Do You Want?
In general, your cargo carrier will either be very easy to pop on and off, or it will take a little more time and some tools if you want to take it or leave it. Cheaper boxes often use a simple u-lock system that requires a few wrenches to install (or uninstall) on your vehicle's rack. Higher-quality options, like those from Thule and Yakima, use tool-free mounting systems that are a breeze to operate.
If your car does not have a roof rack and you can't justify altering your vehicle to accommodate one, or it does but you want to keep things simple, consider a soft-sided carrier. These lash down to the very top of your roof using straps that either attach to mounting points on your rack or loop through your windows. Soft-sided bags are typically lighter, easier to store, and flexible enough to accommodate bulky or oddly shaped items. Downsides include: faster wear, damage to window weather stripping over time, more likely to scratch your car's paint.
How We Rated These Cargo Carriers
We researched expert sources and more than 5000 consumer reviews to select the top cargo boxes. To determine our Total Expert Score, we calculated the ratings from expert review sites, such as GearWeAre, OutdoorGearLab, TravelBusy, and CarBibles and converted them to a 100-point scale to make it easier for you to weigh the best options. Our Consumer Score represents the percentage of consumers who rated the product at least 4 out of 5 stars on retail sites like Amazon, REI, Walmart, and Home Depot.
Thule Motion XT XL
Total Expert Score: 84.5/100 | Consumer Score: 92% give it 4 stars or higher A stylish carrier with a glossy finish. You'll want to leave on your car whether it's full or not
Volume: 18 cu ft| Weight: 46 lb | Dimensions: 84.5 x 36 x 17 in
Thule Motion XT XL
This carrier is an overall winner. It's easy to install, has enough space for a lot of adventure, and is stylish enough that you'll want to keep it on top of your car year-round. Of course, the versatility and sleek design come with a decent price tag.
The carrier opens from either side and is easy to lift with supporting lifters. As noted, it's easy to install and will even give you an audible confirmation (click!) that it is properlty attached with the correct tension.
Experts loved the mounting system. Outdoor Gear Lab called it the most intuitive it's ever tried. Customers loved the Thule Motion but noted that you have to be careful as you load it. "Keep in mind the gloss-black finish scratches very easily," said one REI customer reviewer.
―BEST SOFT-TOP OPTION―
Total Expert Score: 84/100 | Consumer Score: 79.5% give it 4 stars or higher Easy to use and install, even if you don't have a roof rack
Volume: 15 cu ft | Weight: 5 lb | Dimensions: 44 x 34 x 17 in
Keeper Waterproof Roof Top Cargo Bag
If rocking a permanent hard case on your vehicle isn't ideal, or your vehicle doesn't have a roof rack you can mount something to, consider the soft-sided Keeper bag. It will fit any roof rack, with mounting attachments on all four sides, and if you don't have a rack, you can even finagle a tie-down through your car's windows.
Experts at Camping and Camping loved how the soft-sided bag could accommodate bulky items that wouldn't fit in a hard shell but noted that "the bag's waterproof feature isn't strong enough to withstand heavy rains." So while you'll be good in a light drizzle, your gear may get wet in a torrential downpour. But customers were impressed with the durability, with one Amazon reviewer saying, "After 7-plus days, 3000-plus miles, hot days around 100, some pouring rains, and a driving average at 65 to 70 mph, Keeper arrived in Los Angeles with no scratches, [only] dead bugs in the front."
Total Expert Score: 79.5/100 | Consumer Score: 89.5% give it 4 stars or higher Aerodynamics, styling, space, and ease—all at a great price
Volume: 16 cu ft | Weight: 75 lb | Dimensions: 90 x 36 x 20 in
Yakima Skybox 16 Carbonite
An aerodynamic box with enough room to store all your gear. While it's not the least expensive model, the product quality, size, and price make it the best value. The lid of this carrier is reinforced with stiffeners to keep it from warping or buzzing at highway speeds. The box opens from both sides, and it's made with 80 percent recycled materials.
Experts at Outdoor Gear Lab loved the balance of all the aspects of the SkyBox. “SkyBox does a great job of keeping our gear safe, secure, and easily accessible, all at a price that leaves you some money left over to buy gear to fill it.” And consumers loved how easy it is to install, with one Amazon consumer saying, “I put it on and off by myself to adjust clamps.”
Thule Force XL
Total Expert Score: 79/100 | Consumer Score: 94% give it 4 stars or higher All the space you need when you want the box on, easy to take off when you don't
Volume: 18 cu ft | Weight: 47 lb | Dimensions: 82.75 x 33.75 x 17.25 in
Thule Force XT XL
This is a big boy ready for all your gear needs. Think five to seven pairs of skis or three to five snowboards. The integrated mounting system makes it easy to install, and a torque indicator audibly clicks when you have it on properly. At less than 50 pounds, it will also be easy to lift up to your roof and take off if you're not interested in driving with it at all times. Even at that low weight, it can handle up to 165 pounds of gear. It also opens from both sides and has easy-to-use locks.
While the Force didn't blow away its competition in any category, experts at Gear We Are called it a “high-performing option with an average price.” Customers from REI loved its dependability. “Since we bought this in November, we've traveled some 4000 miles with it and have had no issues,” said one reviewer.And multiple Amazon reviewers raved about the mounting system, including one who said, "[Thule has] absolutely nailed the attachment design for the clamps that secure the unit to the crossbar on the car."
―BEST AFFORDABLE BIG SIZE―
SportRack Vista XL
Total Expert Score: 72.5/100 | Consumer Score: 85% give it 4 stars or higher A supersize box without a supersize price
Volume: 18 cu ft | Weight: 42 lb |Dimensions: 19 x 63 x 38 in
SportRack Vista XL
The SportRack gives you a ton of space for a little bit of cash. It has a more subdued and less angular design than the options from Thule and Yakima, which can be great if some of the more space-age designs don't match the design of your car. This box has front hinges, which means you won't be able to open the box from the side. While this could be a benefit in a tight ski-lodge parking lot or on the side of the road, it could test your reach over your vehicle tailgate, and in all likelihood you won't be able to access your gear on top of your vehicle while the tailgate is open
Experts loved the value for the dollar, though. Travel Busy claims it is “the biggest bargain you will find on the market in terms of value versus price.” And customers loved the amount of space. One Amazon purchaser said it was, “like a black hole of space.”
Other Great Options
Total Expert Score: 73.5/100 | Consumer Score: 86% give it 4 stars or higher Aerodynamic and easy to install, plus enough room for three adventurers' gear
Volume: 14 cu ft | Weight: 30 lb | Dimensions: 58 x 36 x 16 in
This box is another aerodynamic design from Yakima. And this one, with 14 cubic feet of space, should be able to fit the adventure gear for about three people. The matte-black finish will look great on your adventure-mobile, and the aero design means you can leave it on all the time as it won't dramatically change your fuel economy. This has a number of great features, including a lid that can open from either the driver's side or the passenger's side to allow the most convenient access to your gear. And the no-tool install is easy, especially since, unlike some of the other boxes, this one comes fully assembled. It also comes with SKS locks to keep your gear safe.
Experts took a keen liking to the easy installation that worked on a wide variety of racks. Outdoor Gear Lab said, “The best thing about the RocketBox is its easy installation.” Consumers loved its smart design features. One Amazon reviewer noted the ease of securing gear with the RocketBox's robust internal mounting features, "I also love that inside the RB [are] four molded slots for two webbing straps to be fed through and cinched down on cargo inside. That is a nice touch."
Total Expert Score: 44/100 | Consumer Score: 80% give it 4 stars or higher Affordability over style, but will still get your gear where you're going
Volume: 8 cu ft | Weight: 16 lb | Dimensions: 54 x 25 x 15.5 in
If price is your concern over aesthetics, use, and even size, well the Sidekick might just be for you. It's not pretty, but with eight cubic feet of space, it will haul some of the gear you need. You may not like the one-side-only entry or the color scheme, but for the money it will certainly keep your gear dry and get it from one place to another on top of your vehicle. U-bolt mounting and some assembly required.
Experts weren't overall impressed with the Sidekick's ease of use, appearance, or security when compared with other carriers, but they recognized the usefulness at the low price. And that is something that consumers loved, accounting for much of its high score. For those who need a carrier and are concerned less with features than getting the job done for a reasonable price, this is a great option. And while this Amazon review is not sterling, it gets to the point of why the Sidekick has done so well with consumers, if not great with experts: “Not the highest quality but does the job at good price.”