Cali Raised LED Premium Roof Rack for the 5th Gen 4Runner – Product Review and Installation Overview
On extended adventures, the 4Runner has an ongoing struggle for more space.
There are multiple solutions abound but, eventually, they lead to exterior solutions, and the largest piece of vehicle real estate…the roof.
There are dozens of options available on the market, Trail4R has done a comparison of the top CNC roof racks – you can see that article here. While this is a review and not a full install, you can see our install here.
Find it online:
- Cali Raised LED: Check Price
Roof Rack Features & Design
The Cali Raised LED Roof Rack is the new kid on the block with 4Runners, but they have had a Tacoma Rack for a while. Building on that design and experience, they built the Premium Roof Rack to stand out from the competition with a few cool features.
The first and foremost feature is the retractable windscreen/lightbar cover. This acts as protection for the light bar from rocks and bugs. It also gives a very slick surface to reduce wind noise that a standard light cut-out will have.
I also believe that there are very few states that require covers to be on lights above the windshield, this meets that requirement and is faster deployment than the standard covers. If you are interested in the laws by State see this list.
However, if the retractable windscreen is left down on the highway, it is definitely noticeable even at moderate speeds. Enough so to pull over to put it back up, I have also noticed with the knob handles that, no matter how much I tighten at times in heavy winds at high speeds, it will move about half an inch. I would like to see a more secure and lower-profile design to match the rest of the rack.
Profile Designed For Minimal Wind Noise
The next key feature is the profile.
The rack sits very tight to the contours of the 4Runner’s roof. Similar to the windscreen, having such a smooth surface with few gaps will reduce wind noise, even in crosswind conditions. However, no matter how good a design is…when anything is added to the roof, it will increase noise, including the factory crossbars. The sides lack additional cutouts besides the light pods, which are recessed to protect the lights from branches. The sides also have threaded holes along its length for what I imagine would be for grab handles or perhaps antenna mounts.
This profile does help to keep wind noise to a minimum and only slightly noticeable when getting a strong crosswind. Of course, this will change as accessories are added to the rack. In a few comments from others, they mention the posted overall height is much taller than others in the category.
Cali Raised LED states that their rack is 5” in overall height. However, once installed, it doesn’t seem nearly as tall, in fact, the opposite and with my measurements, they are no were near that claimed. My measurement at the highest point of the windscreen is just under 4.5”.
The centerline of the vehicle roof and top of the crossbars is just under 2.5 inches. It also lust clears above the shark fin antenna so there are no worries about damaging it with a rooftop tent or gearboxes. With the curve of the roofline and antenna, I don’t think that a rack could get any tighter to the contours than this, without special modifications to the antenna.
Roof Rack Lighting
Their Taco Rack is billed as 360 degrees of lighting. However, the 4Runner Premium Rack only has lighting on 3 of the 4 sides. This is due to the rear spoiler that would block much of the flood pattern to the rear of the 4Runner. To make up for the lack of a full 360 degrees, they included a full interior LED upgrade kit.
I ordered the full “360-degree” lighting kit. The main reason that I purchased their lights and not another is more because I wanted to guarantee fitment. Being a new rack to the market and probably getting one of the first ones released, there were no articles or comments online to guide me on what truly fits. While this is not a full review on the lights and more of an overview, I am sure other brands, such as KC Hilites, Rigid, or Baja Designs will fit as they all have similar dimensions. Installing the lights is very easy with the supplied mounts and holds standard lights easily.
The 43” Amber White Dual Function Light Bar is super bright at 28,000 lumens.
I have it currently set up on a single switch but will be changing it to a dual switch to take full advantage of the dual functionality of having the ambers. Having amber fogs and the bar will be great in super dusty conditions. The four 20W flood light pods provide 2,200 lumens per pod which is a ton of light. The small size of L x W x H tuck away well. Both lights have aluminum housing, CREE LEDs, and are waterproof which is great. However, the pods are very generic-looking without any logos that make them feel like overseas pods found on Amazon.
Another nice feature that once an awning is installed the sidelights will still be able to work with it extended as the lights are below the mounts.
The assembly of the Premium Rack is similar to most other CNC roof racks that use extruded aluminum.
I equate it to the likes of building a Lego set, however, without instructions.
One downside to extruded aluminum is the lack of cutouts in the channels that allow you to drop in T-nuts after the rack is assembled. This isn’t a deal-breaker as there are special rounded T-nuts that can be used for accessories after install. However, it makes the installation slightly more complex with ensuring that the T-nuts are in the correct channel placement for the lights and mounting feet.
As mentioned, it is about as complex as a Lego set, however, I wish Cali Raised LED would have a pdf of the install instructions as it would help instead of re-watching a video over and over.
Is it perfect? No, nothing ever is. However, I love this rack!
The setup I got is just over $1,500 but that is including the full lighting set up as well. I think for the money, you get an awesome value and a truly unique-looking rack. It is easy to assemble and install and seems very durable. I have no hesitation in recommending Cali Raised LED roof racks to anyone.