toyota matrix factory roof rack v other

Thanks all for the replies to “silly silly questions”. Does anyone know if the matric factory installed roof rack would be the best option? I guess the factory installed don’t come with crossbars…so I’d be looking into thule or yakima.

Not sure of the answer
as I have a Pontiac Vbe with a factory rack. I have seen a Matrix with an after market rack that looked really solid. It had a mount in the front door and one in the rear side door. Using the mount, you have a very short distance between the crossbars. This leads to issues when you tie the boat down. Gerenally the farther the crossbars are apart, within reason, the more secure the boat tends to be, all other this aside. That said on the Vibe, I am not all that comfortable with the factory rack and would look to a system that had mounts that hooked into the front door, and mounts that fastened to the rack,to get the maximum distance between the crossbars and then use quality straps and front and rear tiedowns. It will cost some money. Have you considered a trailer?

T bar
I have a truck now but am planning to sell it and buy a Matrix. I am going to mount a trailer hitch reciever and use a “truck” T-bar on the rear. This way you can use one yakima or whatever brand bar you want to on the front; then use the T-bar for the rear. Spreading the distance between holding points is always the best way to go anyway. Carrying upside down also works better than carrying right side up. The only disadvantage to this is having to take the T-bar on and off. I am used to it anyway with my truck.

Good Idea
as you may also note that the roof of the Matrix/Vibe slants downward towards the rear. If you tried to use foam blocks your boat would probably stick up at an odd angle in the front. Thats probably why the factory rack is so short. Another problem to contend with is the antenna on the roof. The dealer told me that a shorter mast was available.

After looking at what car topping entailed on the Matrix, my daughter went with the Scion Xb instead. The roof is flat with no antenna so you can spread the bars out far enought to handle most kayaks and canoes without a T-bar on the back which interferes with the hatch. We actually measured both before she made her decision (the salesman thought we were crazy). Also the interior space is much more comfortable if you are tall and performance and mileage are similar.

real paddler
How do you know if you are a hard core paddler?

When you buy a car that fits your kayak!!!


New Vibe owner here
I just picked up a Vibe and have no problem car topping my 16 foot kayak or 16 foot canoe. I use the Yakima Q83 towers on the front and lowriders attached to the factory rack in the back along with Malone Gullwings. My bars are longer(66in)because I used them on a SUV before. The antenna has not got in the way and can be unscrewed if needed. The set up works for me. I had more experienced paddlers check it out and they agreed that the set up was solid.

Rack distance
Do you have any idea on the distance between the front and rear rack?

good to know
Cool! now I can scarp my plan to get T-bar. How fast have you been with boat on the roof? I usually dont drive over 80 anyway. Damn tickets.

Matrix roof rack
I’ve got an '06 Matrix and recently bought a Yakima rack for it. My understanding is that there isn’t a factory (or dealer) installed roof rack for the Matrix like there is for the Vibe but that Toyota offers a removable rack which, it turns out, is a Yakima. The Matrix roof does slope down in the back but it also slopes a bit at the front and the rack seems to straddle the “hump” and is pretty level. Spread between the bars is 30" and the mounting feels pretty secure. I’ve been using a Yakima rack on our ‘00 Honda CRV which also has a 30" spread. No problem carrying a 16’ canoe on the CRV for several years now but I always use bow tie-downs and will with the Matrix also. I’m working on the stern tie-downs.

I’ve thought about using a T-bar in a hitch also. The only problem is that the only hitches available for the Matrix that I’ve found so far use 1 1/2" receivers (Class I) and all the manufactured T-bars need a 2 1/2" receiver. Probably wouldn’t be hard to fabricate something on your own though that would use the 1 1/2" receiver. The hitch is pretty reasonable and is supposedly easy to mount since it uses existing holes in the car frame (no drilling required).

  • Rob

Rack spacing on the Xb

– Last Updated: Jul-05-06 6:51 PM EST –

can be as wide as 52". Sorry I forgot to mention it earlier. My daughter wanted the easiest to load and sturdiest platform she could find. Interior room also was a big factor.