Thule 450 Vs 450r: What Are The Key Differences?

What is the difference between Thule 450 and 450R?

While Thule 450 is like a long square box, Thule 450r is more aerodynamic in look. Overall, you can say the Thule 450r is the upgraded version of its predecessor Thule 450.

But wait,

That’s not the whole picture. Many more differences are present in their build material, functionality, compatibility, use cases, and, more importantly, their price tag.

If you are looking for roof racks to protect your precious possessions and add some style to your vehicle, you might want to take a look at the battle of Thule 450 vs 450r.

To help you choose which one best fits your needs, here’s an in-depth comparison of the two products.

Thule 450 vs 450r: The Differences

Key PointsThule 450Thule 450r
Ease of UseSlightly harder than Thule 450r.Comparatively easier than Thule 450.
Build QualityPlasticAlloy Steel and Plastic
Vehicle CompatibilityCompatible with most of the vehicles.Compatible with most of the vehicles.
Ease of InstallationEasy to installComparatively harder than Thule 450.
PriceLower than Thule 450rHigher

Ease of Use

While both racks are incredibly easy to use, one of them is even easier.

The Thule 450r is designed to tilt away from your vehicle when loading cargo, so you won’t have to struggle with unloading your gear when it’s time to pack up.

This makes loading and unloading a breeze. The Thule 450 doesn’t offer that feature, but that shouldn’t be an issue as long as you load your gear before tilting it on.

Both rack systems are extremely user-friendly in general; they just differ slightly in their ease of use.

Build Quality

Thule 450 is built with plastic, while Thule 450R is built with alloy steel. This makes a big difference when it comes to durability.

The Thule 450 is much lighter, which is advantageous for those who are planning on taking their car racks off-road.

However, at low speeds (5MPH or less), you may notice a bit of noise from plastic rubbing against your car.

On the other hand,

Thule 450R is built with alloy steel, which is both stronger and more durable.

This means that you won’t have to worry about your car rack rubbing against your car at low speeds or about it getting damaged if you decide to take it off-road.

To sum up, I would say that the Thule 450r is comparatively better in build quality than the Thule 450.


One of the biggest differences between these two rooftop carriers is their profile. The Thule 450 is much more likely a long square box.

Alternatively, the Thule 450r is more aerodynamic in look (and pricier).

Vehicle Compatibility

While it is generally easier to install a roof box on cars with factory racks, both boxes are compatible with most car brands.

As long as your vehicle has roof rails, you can install one of these roof boxes. However, if you have no existing crossbars or tracks on your vehicle, then it will be necessary to purchase an adapter bar.

The good news is that most vehicles come with pre-installed holes in their roofs for installing crossbars, so that’s not always necessary (and depending on what kind of rack system you get).

However, you should know that the 450R does not fit with square-type crossbars on specific car models while the thule 450 crossroad compatibility is not much of an issue because of its strap system.

Ease of Installation

Both of these are easy to install. If you allocate 25 minutes for installing these, you will have 20 minutes left at your hand after the whole installation process. However, the Thule 450 is slightly easier to install than the Thule 450r. Thanks to its more straightforward belt clip system.

However, that should not be an issue because you will need a maximum of 3-10 minutes to install both of these crossbars. While the Thule 450 is easier to install, the Thule 450r is more secure. You should definitely go for the Thule 450r model.


The Thule 450 is significantly cheaper than its big brother, but some users have complained that it doesn’t carry their bikes as securely because of its plastic build.

This can be an issue for rough terrain or trails with tight turns, so you might want to save up for a more expensive model if that’s your style.

On the other hand, the Thule 450r is a bit costlier than the Thule 450 because of its metal alloy material and sturdy build with a cool aero blade look.

If the price does not matter to you, then you should definitely go for the Thule 450r model because of its build quality and look.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

How do I install Thule Aero extended?

To install Thule Aero extended follow the steps below-

1. First, make sure you have both a track bar (round silver bars on each side of your vehicle) and crossbars.

2. Next, place your track bars onto your mounts using a ratchet wrench.

3. Once they are in place, use an Allen wrench to secure them by screwing in a bolt into each end of your track bar.

4. Now that your track bars are secured, it’s time to install your crossbars.

5. Start by placing them over your tracks and then slide down until they click into place.

Now that all of your components are installed, it’s time to take everything for a test drive!

You can do so with or without cargo. It is up to you.

How do you remove a Thule roof bike rack?

To remove a Thule roof bike rack-

1. Open both doors of your car or vehicle.

2. Remove any straps holding down your roof bike rack. This will allow you to open up more space for removal.

3. Place one hand on top of one bar of the bike rack and place another hand on top of another bar from underneath it.

4. Pull in opposite directions until it releases from its locked position.

If you are unable to release it, repeat step two and try again.

Will Thule fit my car?

Yes, Thule will fit your car.In terms of fit, there’s not much difference between these two top-rated roof racks.

The biggest difference is how they attach to your car – The Thule 450 Crossroad uses straps that wrap around your car’s door frame, while the 450r has support arms that clamp onto your rails.

However, most of the Thule crossbar feet are universal and fit with most car

What Should Be Your Pick?

The Thule 450r Series is an excellent pick for your car as it offers a complete security system for its strong alloy-built quality.

On the other hand, If more protection and durability aren’t the need for you, take a look at the Thule 450.

All in all, in the battle of Thule 450 vs 450r, Thule 450r is an excellent choice if you want extra security for both yourself and your vehicle models.

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