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I have a 2006 Mazda MPV. It's awesome. The problem is that Mazda offered this van with roof rails, but my van doesn't have them. There's apparently no way to retrofit them. And all the bike racks, ski racks and carriers, only fit the roof rails. If you have the bald version like I do, you are just out of luck.

It's not a showpiece, and I think I'm willing to drill holes at this point. Anybody ever install roof rails or mounting points on a vehicle without them before?
 

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For sure, hitch racks are great. I know the MPV has a hatch, and I fully recognize that most (all?) hitch racks make getting in to the hatch a pain even if they pivot down. I still prefer a hitch rack to a roof rack anyway.

HOWEVER, I have a car that, stupidly, has center exhaust and I don't want to modify the exhaust to put a hitch on. Therefore, I'm using a SeaSucker rack. It's crazy expensive but can be used on anyone else's car as well - my wife's, friends, rentals, etc. And that's without drilling any holes! ?

Wheel Tire Car Vehicle Land vehicle
 

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since 4/10/2009
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37,079 Posts
If you're willing to drill holes, you can absolutely go with tracks (and towers to go with them). Will look pretty clean when done.

I've been looking at rooftop platforms for my truck (to basically extend my bed rack over the cab for long stuff like lumber and my canoe), and while some can be installed with a tower/clip/crossbar arrangement, the cleanest-looking ones require drilling.
 

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There are hitch racks that swing out to the side to allow rear hatch access. Kuat NV 2.0 is one. Thule makes some that tilt as well, but the swing seems better. As long as you don't have the exhaust issues @Danimal has you should be good, and it can move cars much easier than a roof rack. Add in ease of loading on a van or taller car and the hitch seems like a way better idea. If you don't need the roof rails for other cargo IMHO the hitch is way better.
 

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Out spokin'
In cog? Neato!
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I have an Outback with a rear hatch plus a hitch-mounted tray rack.
I use a OneUp tray rack plugged into a 2" receiver hitch. Not a problem. I drive to the trailhead, I take the bikes off the rack and open the rear hatch.
Once we're done with our ride, I open the hatch and my GF & I change clothes, have a beer, chit chat with riding buds, whatnot, then I close the hatch, toss the bikes on the rack and we drive away.
I don't see a problem with having a hatch plus a hitch rack.
=sParty
 
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