Thule Motion XT compare with Thule Force

Thule Motion XT VS Thule Force: Compare and Find

Do you want to know the differences between the Thule Motion XT and the Thule Force rooftop cargo boxes? They are popular among outdoor enthusiasts, and they both are high-quality ABS-made roof-mounted cargo carriers with advanced features. Many people don’t know the differences between these two Thule cargo box models, so we are here to conclude the information for people who wish to make a decision when choosing between these two cargo boxes.

Although we can list all the differences with comparison tables or words here to offer you a one-stop article about the topic, you better check the specifications of both the Motion and Force cargo boxes to understand and choose the most suitable one for your situation.


Thule Motion and Force have different shapes and dimensions. Motion is thinner than the Force models, but the difference is tiny and ignorable. Motion boxes have angled backs, but the Force models have curved bumpy backs; additionally, when packing bulky items at the back of a cargo box, you can load a bulk of things at the back of a Force roof box, but the Motion doesn’t offer enough space at the back. You can check the image below to see the tiny shape difference between Motion XT and Force cargo boxes.

difference between Thule Motion XT and Thule Force cargo boxes

Motion XT and Force have aerodynamic designs, so you won’t hear too much wind noise or find significant waste on gas mileage; however, most rooftop cargo carriers slightly affect gas mileage, so you should know the truth and prepare your strategies to deal with it.

Thule Motion XT and Force cargo boxes have a noticeable difference in the coating finish. Motion XT offers three colors of glossy finish: black, grey, and titan, and the glossy coating makes the Motion XT boxes feel more luxurious and upscale. If you prefer the feeling of expansive, you definitely fit a Thule Motion XT on your vehicle. On the other hand, the Thule Force roof boxes offer matte and shiny coating styles in different colors, so you can think that the Force is better for working in dirty environments or doing jobs in extreme weather conditions. In other words, Force boxes are anti-dirty and easy to clean.

After checking on the Motion XT and the Force boxes, we find that the Motion XT has a thinner edge on the sides, but the edge is thicker at the front. When closing the Motion XT, the lid will overlap the edge and make sure no air can go through the inner space. The Force doesn’t have a thicker edge at the front, so it may cause more wind-dragging effects than Motion XT. However, both of these roof-mounted cargo boxes are aerodynamic, quiet, secure, and high-quality add-ons.

Both the Motion XT and the Force have the same loading capacity with different dimensions, and the Motion XT is slightly bigger than the Force because the Motion XT is longer, wider, and thinner; consequently, the Force is more suitable for bulky loading. If you have much long gear like skis or snowboards, the Motion XT is a better choice than the Force boxes. On the other hand, the Force is a perfect choice for people who road travel a lot with bulky luggage and equipment.

Thule Motion XT
Thule Force Short Model

Differences in sizes:

Thule Motion XT and Thule Force model comparison

Thule Motion XT roof boxes VS Thule Force cargo boxes

Thule Motion: Large, X-Large, XX-large, and Alpine

Thule Force: Large, X-Large, XX-Large, and Sport

We will compare these similar Thule models one by one to make you understand the differences in dimensions:

Motion X-Large: 84.5 x 36 x 17 inches or 214.63 x 91.44 x 43.18 cm

Force X-large: 82.68 x 33.68 x 17.32 inches or 210 x 85.54 x 43.99 cm

You can use the dimensions above to know the size differences between the Motion X-large and the Force X-large. As you see, the Motion X-large is lower than the Force X-large, but the Force X-large is shorter and narrower than the Motion X-Large. You can use these numbers to estimate which model is perfect for your luggage or gear.

Motion XT Large: 77 x 36 x 17 inches or 195.58 x 91.44 x 43.18 cm

Force Large: 74.75 x 33 x 18 inches or 189.86 x 83.82 x 45.72 cm

As you see above, the Motion XT Large is longer, wider, and lower than the Force Large, and the difference in height is only about 1 inch or 2 cm; consequently, the Motion Large and the Force Large are close-matching to each other with the same loading capacity. If you want to pick one from these two options, you should compare other features to decide which is better to suit your outdoor needs.

Motion XX-Large: 91.5 x 37.5 x 18 inches or 232.41 x 95.25 x 45.72 cm

Force XX-large: 90.5 x 35.5 x 18.5 inches or 229.87 x 90.17 x 46.99 cm

When comparing the Motion XT XX-Large and the Force XX-Large, you can figure out that the Motion XX-Large is longer and wider than the Force XX-Large, but the Force XX-Large is 0.5 inches higher than the Motion XT XX-Large. There is not a huge difference in dimensions between these two Thule models.

Motion XT Alpine: 90.25 x 37.5 x 13.25 inches or 229.23 x 95.25 x 33.65 cm

Force Sport: 74.75 x 24.75 x 16.75 inches or 189.86 x 62.86 x 42.54 cm

The Motion XT Alpine and the Force Sport are low-profile roof cargo boxes for carrying gear like skis, snowboards, hiking sticks, or golf clubs. The Motion XT Alpine is 16 inches longer than the Force Sport, and the Motion Alpine is 13 inches wider than the Force Sport; furthermore, the Motion XT Alpine is 3.35 inches lower than the Force Sport.

Locking System:

Thule Motion XT locking system compare with the Thule Force locking system

The Thule Motion XT and the Force Models have distinct differences in the locking systems; moreover, after comparison, most experts say that the Motion XT cargo boxes are the most secure options on the market. Thus, the Force models are less safe than the Motion XT models.

Motion XT models have a SlideLock system, which automatically locks the lid and tells when the box is securely locked. The Force Models don’t have an advanced locking system, but they have a Knob cover to protect the lock core and the key. When you insert the key into the lock core, you can turn the LockKnob to lift the lid for packing. You must be gentle to the LockKnob to make it live longer.

Both the Thule models have an outstanding feature, which doesn’t allow you to pull the key out when the box is not securely locked; consequently, you won’t forget to close the box when the key is not with you.

The Thule Motion XT models’ SlideLock indicates when it is functionally locked in position, but the Force models won’t tell. However, if you accurately pressure the lid to the box base, you won’t leave the box unlocked on most tries.


Both Thule Motion XT and the Force have audible mounting hardware to make the entire mounting process as simple as possible; moreover, most people can finish the installation in under 5 minutes. In general, you lift the box – put the box on the crossbars – adjust the position – lock the mounting hardware. Although it is a straightforward process, you better invite someone else to join the installation for security and accuracy.

The audible mounting hardware will tell when the clamps securely lock on the roof bars, and you won’t make mistakes during this part of the installation. The audible clamps can prevent over-twisting and make you comfortable and confident when driving. 

Before getting a rooftop cargo carrier, not only roof boxes, you must make sure that your vehicle has roof racks. What are roof racks? If you want to know the answer to this question, you can refer to an article to learn the relationship between roof racks, crossbars, and roof rails. When you want to shop for roof racks for your car, you can contact the local auto dealer to get OEM roof racks or find a pair online. There are four types of rooftop crossbars: round, square, aerodynamic, and factory racks. Most roof boxes are compatible with most types of crossbars, so it is not a worry.

User Manuals: Thule Motion XT and Thule Force

Loading Capacity:

You need a rooftop cargo carrier to load what you need for future road journeys, so the specific box’s loading capacity is a prominent factor to check on and compare with other options. The Thule Motion XT and the Force models have the same loading capacity of about 165 pounds, but these two models are for different item arrangements. For example, the Thule Motion XT models are better for long gear, and the Force boxes are more comfortable for higher luggage bags.

If you are new to adding rooftop cargo carriers to a car, you should know that every vehicle has a roof loading limit, which you cannot exceed when packing things on top of your automobile. How much weight can you load on top of your car? You can follow an article to learn how to find your car’s exact roof loading limit and know the difference between the static roof loading limit and the dynamic loading rate.


Now, you should focus on the prices between these two Thule models. The Thule Motion XT is much more expensive than the Force models because the Motion models have some unique advanced features that the Force models don’t have.

If you have a tight budget, you can consider getting the Force boxes; however, the Force models won’t give you a SlideLock system. If you want to save more than $350 dollars on a choice, it is ok to go with a Force cargo box.

You also can find Thule roof boxes on Ebay: Thule Motion or Thule Force


In this article, you can compare the Thule Motion XT and the Thule Force models to see which better fits your situation. You can compare these models in different factors: prices, dimensions, loading capacity, shapes, and designs. After comparison, you can pick one to carry what you may need for most outdoor adventures.

After having a roof box on your car, you should drive safely and control your speed; otherwise, you must not overload a rooftop cargo box in any situation. 

(If you see this article somewhere else, it is copied from TOPCARGOBOX.COM. Please let us know.)

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