One of my favorite things about this car is the amount of utility it has. That hatch is great when you fold down the rear seats, but for those times that you need just a little more space, it’s always nice to have a rack. It makes transporting a bicycle ten times easier and snowboarding infinitely cleaner without having to throw the boards into the back.
You have a nice variety of racks to choose from when it comes to the Golf platform. Thule and Yakima are the big players with a smattering of other brands such as Inno rounding out the field. They all field excellent reviews and I haven’t heard of one or the other having any condemning flaws. For the purposes of this article though, I’m sticking to the OEM rack as that is what I have been using for the past few years.
The OEM rack is nicely designed with black bases and brushed/anodized aluminum load bars. They are manufactured by Thule for Volkswagen. The attachment design is similar to the Thule Aero bars. Accessories for the Aero bars fit the VW bars for the most part. Both the Aero and OEM bars use a T-Channel mount. You will need a T-Channel adapter when using accessories designed for the regular Thule rack. The normal Thule load bars use a a square bar and accessories mount by clamping to the square bar. Thule sells various adapters for the Aero bars, you just have to find the right one.
It can be annoying to have to buy an adapter for every accessory. Sometimes, accessories are designed to accommodate the Aero bars, sometimes not. When you buy an attachment, check to make sure that they have an adapter kit for the Aero bars or that there is a way to attach it. This will save you a lot of headaches and money later on.
I don’t know the current pricing too well. 1stvwparts aka thevwpartsstore.com is selling it for 260.00. Look around at ECS or DBC and see if you can find a better deal. The classified sections of the Volkswagen forums are an excellent place to find a used set at a good price. The local dealership can also order you the correct part. Just remember these are specific to the Golf/Rabbit/GTI. The Jetta bars, although similar, will not fit. The rear bars will be too wide.