Yakima and Thule must have been hearing the same thing from their customers: we want a quieter rack. We want to drive with our sunroofs open and not listen to it whistle. We want our rack to be more aerodynamic, and have less of an effect on our gas mileage. Because both rack makers are debuting roof racks that are sleeker, quieter, and more efficient.
Yakima’s is called the Whispbar, which they developed with a Rolls Royce aeronautical engineer in New Zealand, and they claim it will only affect your gas mileage by .5% compared to having no rack at all. (The least efficient roof racks out there can drag your gas mileage down by 9%.). The Whispar will work with nearly 75% of their current attachments and costs $350; available now from a handful of retailers, with mass availability scheduled for January 2012.
The Yakima Whispbar was one of our editor’s 10 picks for Gear of the Show at Outdoor Retailer’s summer show, 2011. Click here to see the rest.