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  1. #1
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    2013 Subaru impreza - Should I get factory rails?

    Hi,
    I'm looking to get a 2013 Impreza 5d wagon or perhaps the new XV crosstrek. The non-sport versions of the impreza don't come with roof rails, while the sport versions and the crosstrek do. Are the factory rails a good thing or would I be better served to pick up the Yakima or Thule solution for cars without rails?

    If I decide on the Impreza, should I opt for factory rails?

    I plan to put a kayak solution on the roof for sure, though for bikes I may do trays on a hitch or use the roof.

    Thanks for any advice/insight.

  2. #2
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    I would get the rails if I had the option. It does seem to save quite a bit on parts to purchase. I would just check the weight limit on them from Subaru.
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  3. #3
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    I would get the factory rails, they are cheaper and super easy to install and remove

  4. #4
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    I've got the factory rails on my STI, they were significantly less expensive than Thule or Yakima and are super easy to install. They are somewhat narrower than the other options so if you really need a lot of width that might be a concern. The Subaru branded rack attachments (ski/bike) are just rebrands of Yakima parts with a price increase though so I wouldn't recommend any of those.

  5. #5
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    I think the roof rails look good on that car, and I would want them.

    I have just picked up a 2013 Outback a few days ago, and I cant decide: hitch install & Kuat rack vs using the roof rack and a yakima setup on the roof.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Camel Toad View Post
    I think the roof rails look good on that car, and I would want them.

    I have just picked up a 2013 Outback a few days ago, and I cant decide: hitch install & Kuat rack vs using the roof rack and a yakima setup on the roof.
    I agree. I have a 2012 impreza hatch and I kinda wish I had the rails. I'll probably end up buying some feet fom thule or yakima and as they do make kits for the impreza either with or without the factory rails. It woulda been nice to knock it out when I bought the car and roll it into the financing instead of shelling out a few hundred bucks for a new rack.

    I did install an aftermarket hitch on mine so taht I could use my hitch rack and taht's a great option that carries two bikes.

    Most companies make attachments for bikes and skis that will work with factory rails these days, so I agree... don't buy the subaru yakima stuff.

  7. #7
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    If you're thinking about carrying kayaks get the rails. Then get a thule or yakima setup to clamp to them. That way you can adjust your bar spread. Not a huge issue with most shorter kayaks, but it makes a big difference if you ever get a longer boat.
    Those who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither. - Ben Franklin

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by csledd281 View Post
    I would get the factory rails, they are cheaper and super easy to install and remove
    Do you know if these can get installed after you buy the car either from the dealer or from an independent company? I have been trying to find them and it seems difficult. Thanks for any assistance.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tubored View Post
    Hi,
    I'm looking to get a 2013 Impreza 5d wagon or perhaps the new XV crosstrek. The non-sport versions of the impreza don't come with roof rails, while the sport versions and the crosstrek do. Are the factory rails a good thing or would I be better served to pick up the Yakima or Thule solution for cars without rails?

    If I decide on the Impreza, should I opt for factory rails?

    I plan to put a kayak solution on the roof for sure, though for bikes I may do trays on a hitch or use the roof.

    Thanks for any advice/insight.
    the non-sport version are all 4-door sedans.

    the Impreza sport are 5-door only and for 2013, come with the side rails.

    THen it becomes which cross bars to get?

  10. #10
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    I just picked up my 2013 Impreza Sport Premium a couple weeks ago.
    Fun car to drive and happy with the gas mileage.

    The factory side rails / roof load limit is 150 pounds.
    I'm also trying to decide which cross bars to get.
    The Subaru aero bars are only rated at 75 pounds, which a couple bikes nearly puts you there.
    I'll probably go Thule or Yakima for load and they are lockable.
    These cars aren't listed on the Thule fit guide, but Thule did send me info on which bars fit.

    Since riding is getting a little wet I'm just using my truck.

  11. #11
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    For road bikes or kayaks, get the side rails and whatever Yakima rack fits. For mtn bikes get a 2" receiver hitch installed and get the Yakima Holdup or if you have big bucks to spend a Kuat.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by BShow View Post
    I agree. I have a 2012 impreza hatch and I kinda wish I had the rails. I'll probably end up buying some feet fom thule or yakima and as they do make kits for the impreza either with or without the factory rails. It woulda been nice to knock it out when I bought the car and roll it into the financing instead of shelling out a few hundred bucks for a new rack.

    I did install an aftermarket hitch on mine so taht I could use my hitch rack and taht's a great option that carries two bikes.

    Most companies make attachments for bikes and skis that will work with factory rails these days, so I agree... don't buy the subaru yakima stuff.
    Any problems with the hitch dragging? These cars are kinda low.
    Also, which 2" hitch did you get? I have a bike hitch rack I'd like to use.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by mvray View Post
    Any problems with the hitch dragging? These cars are kinda low.
    Also, which 2" hitch did you get? I have a bike hitch rack I'd like to use.
    I have a 13 WRX and I put a 1 1/4 hitch. No problems dragging whatsoever. Got the 1 UP rack system so I can carry 3 bikes total on the back. Very nice setup.

  14. #14
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    Some of you are confusing "rails" and "cross bars".

    The rails OP speak of run front to back. Cross bars run side to side and attach to the rails.

    Imprezas without rails have 4 fixed hard points to which crossbars can be mounted, either OEM or aftermarket. The benefit to the rails, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to move the crossbars fore and aft as needed. Plus I imagine they are stronger.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelman55 View Post
    For road bikes or kayaks, get the side rails and whatever Yakima rack fits. For mtn bikes get a 2" receiver hitch installed and get the Yakima Holdup or if you have big bucks to spend a Kuat.
    ???? Why would I put a road bike on the roof, but a mountain bike on a hitch?

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wheelman55 View Post
    For road bikes or kayaks, get the side rails and whatever Yakima rack fits. For mtn bikes get a 2" receiver hitch installed and get the Yakima Holdup or if you have big bucks to spend a Kuat.
    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    ???? Why would I put a road bike on the roof, but a mountain bike on a hitch?
    The Holdup doesn't like road bike tires.

    The "Strong Arm" will constantly slip and rub on the brakes, even when I put my 190 lbs of weight onto the arm to secure it....

    The Strong Arm does fine with knobby tires, ie MTB's or Cross

    but.... that's why I ended up selling my Holdup for cheap and got myself a 1up rack instead.

  17. #17
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    ^ yeah, but, one can always put their MTB on the roof? If he is getting an impreza with rails its far cheaper to get crossbars and a roof bike rack.

    I get all the reasons why one would choose a hitch rack, but I was scratching my head as to why that was suggested in here to begin with.

  18. #18
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    maybe the MTB weighs a ton and the road bike is very lightweight to easily throw on the roof.

  19. #19
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    Go for the factory bars, they work well. I have an 07 Impreza with the aero bars - I carry bikes on a hitch rack, but the bars serve to support a basket on the roof for overflowing cargo.

    I see some mentions of getting a 2" hitch - you won't find a class II hitch for the Impreza. 1 1/4 inch hitch is all that's available due to tow rating of the car. In regards to dragging the hitch, I've occasionally scraped very slightly, but only with ~150 lbs. on the roof, 4 people inside, and a full hatch area.

    Currently on the fence of paying the car off and swapping to Forester struts/springs or trading it in on an XV. Might just wait until next winter and pull the trigger, though.
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  20. #20
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    I never scraped in my WRX, but I treated it like a low-clearance car all the time (even though it's not really that low). The T2 rack is designed to not impact the approach angle, as it raises up the further you get from the vehicle. If you got an abnormally steep driveway or entrance, maybe, but other normal cars will have problems too.
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  21. #21
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    OK. I've been roof rackin for decades. I've been using the Yak Holdup for 5 years.

    Road bike looks great and works great on the roof. Mtn bike is heavy and works better on the hitch mount. FYI I had a 2" hitch mount installed on my former Subie Outback. I simply told the installer that I wanted to carry a 2" bike mount.

    The Yak Holdup works really well with either road or Mtn. I routinely carry my Trek 6.9 Di2 Madone on it. The Holdup gives the best clearance due to the curved design on the stinger. It lets you back out of the driveway without bottoming out. I think it now comes 1 1/4 too.

    You can...and I have...carry either type of bike on roof or hitch...it's up to you.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by XJaredX View Post
    Some of you are confusing "rails" and "cross bars".

    The rails OP speak of run front to back. Cross bars run side to side and attach to the rails.

    Imprezas without rails have 4 fixed hard points to which crossbars can be mounted, either OEM or aftermarket. The benefit to the rails, as mentioned earlier, is the ability to move the crossbars fore and aft as needed. Plus I imagine they are stronger.

    I was going to say just this. The hard points on the roof without the rails work really well, and can hold more than I'd feel comfortable putting on there (on my 2008 it says 100kg; I'd be surprised if you can put more than that on the rails).

    like you said, the advantage is being able to position the cross bars. Even without that, I have no problem carrying a 15' kayak on mine.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Joules View Post
    I was going to say just this. The hard points on the roof without the rails work really well, and can hold more than I'd feel comfortable putting on there (on my 2008 it says 100kg; I'd be surprised if you can put more than that on the rails).

    like you said, the advantage is being able to position the cross bars. Even without that, I have no problem carrying a 15' kayak on mine.
    I'm sure you can, after all it has to be able to deal with Gs and loads during turns and accelerations. Then of course, it will be out of spec during such events though....
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jayem View Post
    I'm sure you can, after all it has to be able to deal with Gs and loads during turns and accelerations. Then of course, it will be out of spec during such events though....
    I don't quite understand what you're saying here, but it sounds like you're implying that Subaru didn't consider that the car will be moving when they set the load limits for their racks.
    Is that really your belief? That they didn't do the standard engineering practice of taking into account dynamic loading when specifying a static load.

    FYI, the load limit for 3rd party towers mounted to the hard points on cars without factory longitudinals is 100kg, per Subaru. The limit for the factory rails is 150.
    Last edited by Joules; 11-22-2012 at 01:31 PM.

  25. #25
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    Research on Yakima vs. Subaru factory rack trays

    Quote Originally Posted by MrMatson View Post
    The Subaru branded rack attachments (ski/bike) are just rebrands of Yakima parts with a price increase though so I wouldn't recommend any of those.
    I just got the 2013 Subaru Impreza Sport with rails. A friend ironically bought the same car as I did and wanted to reuse her rack set up from her previous car - she had already purchased the crossbar kit so I just bought it from her. I do however still need racks/trays. I did some research and it does look like - based on the pictures - that the Subaru factory racks for the Impreza are just Yakima's "Raptor Aero".

    Figuring this out makes comparison shopping for the best price easy then... $170 from Subaru and about $135 from REI/Moosejaw and others. All of this of course is assuming that these are good racks for roof-mounted bikes (I'd consider a hitch but I live in SF and don't want the length of my car to be any longer than it already is, lest I have to squeeze into a teeny parking spot).

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