Box on the roof? Towards the back and dead central

Box on the roof? Towards the back and dead central

Even though Škodas are renowned for their generous luggage space, sometimes you need to carry some cargo object outside the car. Read our advice for choosing the right accessory and where to put it.

25. 6. 2024 Škoda World

Sometimes even a large Škoda luggage compartment isn’t enough. When you have too much cargo, an external box can come in handy. Special carriers are a must for transporting bikes. But there are also rules to respect when driving with this kind of cargo. Besides safety, fuel consumption or range is an important issue, because additional cargo carried outside the car affects its aerodynamics. This means increased fuel consumption, increased noise and the need to ensure that the load is secure.

Kodiaq-NG-Roof-box-400l-image_02b06b70 Attaching the load correctly and safely is essential.

“It is essential to use approved and properly homologated accessories and to make sure the load is securely fastened,” says Dušan Matěásko, who deals with accessories at Škoda. The operator’s manual will help with the correct installation of carriers. It is the driver’s responsibility that no part of the load comes loose. “All detachable equipment must be transported in the car,” Matěásko points out. In other words, if your bicycle has a drink bottle attached, or a bike computer or a child seat, these must be carried inside the car.

skoda-1335-enhanced-nr-_h2_2fc005fc-1920x1080_ea28c4c7 A bike rack mounted on the towbar behind the car influences the car’s aerodynamics less than bikes carried on the roof.

There are other rules as well. “Drivers have to observe the load limits for the roof of the car or the towing device, to respect the maximum permissible speed and to check that the load is secured every time they stop,” Matěásko says. Another thing to remember is that a carrier on the towing rack will cover the registration plate, so that has to be placed on the back of the carrier. Some countries require a third plate, which the authorities will issue on request, while in others (such as Škoda’s home country, the Czech Republic) it is sufficient to move the rear plate to a position where it is visible.

Authorised accessories are the best 

The best way to ensure that accessories are suitable for the car is by purchasing them directly from the car manufacturer or authorised dealers. Škoda’s e-shop, for example, offers roof racks, bike and ski holders and boxes, as well as towing devices and towing brackets.

“Škoda naturally offers accessories that meet all the legislative requirements and have the relevant certificates,” explains Matěásko, adding, “The products are also tested according to strict Volkswagen Group requirements for safety, durability and functionality.”

The need to use verified accessories is demonstrated by some of the safety requirements. Roof systems, for example, have to comply with the CityCrash standard, which dictates that in the event of some impact, no object or part heavier than 10 grams may be released from a carrier that is +20% overloaded compared to the maximum permitted weight.

Towards the back and dead central

Škoda Original accessories are also subjected to aerodynamic optimisation during development, first using computer simulations and, in the final stage, by measuring the products on vehicles in a wind tunnel,” explains Jan Jagrik, head of vehicle aerodynamics development.

Simulation of aerodynamics of a car with a roof rack and a bike on the roof.

Drag and compare Drag and compare

Areas shown in any colour other than red in the visualisations represent drag. It’s clear that carrying items on the roof worsens drag

External loads always affect fuel consumption. “As far as consumption is concerned, the better thing is to carry an extra load behind the car, e.g. a bicycle carrier on a tow bar or a storage box on a tow bar,” Jagrik says. That’s because cargo placed behind the car does not interfere with the frontal area of the car,  so it affects the car’s aerodynamics and overall driving resistance less than cargo on the roof.

Jagrik_dsc5061_-1_7b9131a3_80a51ccd Jan Jagrik
head of the aerodynamics development department

“If you do have to use a roof box for transport, then you should place it as far back as possible, but at the same time in a way that lets you open the boot,” Jagrik advises. “From the aerodynamics point of view, a long, narrow box is better than a short, wide box,” he adds. Where the box is placed on the roof also plays a role. The ideal position is in the middle of the car rather than on the left or right side. That’s because the dead centre position ensures balanced sensitivity to crosswinds.