Have you considered getting a Mont Blanc roof box for your car? If so, you’ve probably faced a quandary.

What are the differences between the Mont Blanc Altitude vs. Mont Blanc Cargo? On the surface, they are subtle. But if you’re a real outdoors enthusiast who cares for your gear, you need to know which is right for you.

For the sake of comparison, I’m going to look at the 450 version of each. Therefore, volume is going to be similar (although bizarrely, the Cargo only has 420 liters to the Altitude’s 450, despite the name.)

All you need to concern yourself with is which car roof box is right for you. Here’s the breakdown of the Altitude vs Cargo:

Quick Look: Comparison Table

 Altitude 450Cargo 450
Altitude 450Cargo 450
Best ForSpecialized gear, like skisMiscelaneous cargo
PriceSee on AmazonSee on Ebay
Volume450 litres420 litres
Weight21.5kg15kg
MaterialABSABS
Load Capacity75kg50kg
Top Speed130 km/h120 km/h

Weight, Shape and Storage Capacity

One of the primary concerns many have when installing a roof box is the weight and shape of it. How well will it work on their vehicle?

While only subtly different in the aesthetics department, the Mont Blanc Altitude and Mont Blanc Cargo 450 roof boxes do diverge significantly in weight.

Being 20 liters less in storage volume, you might expect the Cargo 450 to be a bit lighter than the Altitude. However, the difference is actually quite profound. The Altitude tips the scales at 21.5 kg, compared to the Cargo’s 15 kg.

Naturally, the weight of your roof box will affect vehicle performance and difficulty of installation. So that is an important consideration.

The difference in shape between the Altitude and Cargo is less pronounced, but still worth mentioning. The Cargo 450 appears to have a boxier shape than the longer and seemingly leaner Altitude, despite actually being shorter in overall height at 35 cm to the Altitude’s 43 cm.

The more obvious length discrepancy creates this optical illusion. The Altitude stretches to 215 cm compared to the Cargo’s 182 cm.

Overall, the aesthetic impression the Altitude 450 leaves is one of better aerodynamics than to the more functional look of the Cargo 450. Additionally, the Cargo appears to be more a general storage option. On the other hand, the Altitude accommodates specific kinds of gear like skis.

The storage capacity in terms of space isn’t radically different between the two roof boxes. However, there is a significant discrepancy in terms of how much weight they can carry safely.

The Cargo 450 has a max capacity of 50 kg. The Altitude can handle an impressive 75 kg of gear. That is enough to satisfy even the biggest outdoors enthusiast.

Material and Durability

If you’re torn between the Mont Blanc Cargo 450 and the Mont Blanc Altitude 450, it’s unlikely the material they’re made of will make much of a difference, because here they are exactly the same.

Both the Cargo and the Altitude are composed of impact-resistant ABS, to withstand the wear and tear of regular use while minimizing weight.

Both are also UV-light-resistant, which can cause fading and look unattractive over time. The Cargo and Altitude 450 roof boxes both have an attractive glossy, almost metallic, finish that would look great on most vehicles.

In terms of durability, both are likely close given the shared materials and similar build. However, make sure to note that, according to Mont Blanc’s website, they have marked only the Altitude 450 as “City Crash Tested.” That means the box has been subject to a rigorous independent test to ensure it would remain secure and intact in the event of a car accident in city-driving conditions.

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Installation

The Cargo 450 and the Altitude 450 roof boxes both require some hands-on installation. Luckily, each includes a set of visual instructions to guide the user through the process, which are available to view and download on the Mont Blanc website, as well.

Both are purported to be roof rack agnostic, and should easily install on the vast majority of conventional racks. That said, on Mont Blanc’s site, they only specifically label the Altitude to work with steel and aluminum racks. The Cargo lacks this distinction.

Neither roof rack requires specialized tools to install. However, the Altitude seems to have streamlined the installation process. It has four simple anchors connecting it to the roof rack.

The Cargo requires a little more fuss, with several screws, brackets and straps necessary to fasten it to your vehicle’s roof.

The installation manual also includes a top speed they recommend for safe travel with the roof boxes. Interestingly, in spite of its larger size and simpler installation the Altitude is assured up to 130 km/h while the Cargo is recommended to go no faster than 120 km/h.

Other Considerations

Still torn? There are a few other things to consider for each of these roof boxes. If you’re the type of person who’s always wondering if they locked the door when they leave the house, the Cargo 450 offers a solution.

If your key hasn’t successfully turned to lock the box shut, you can’t remove it. That ensures security both while traveling and when parked.

The Altitude 450 has some bells and whistles of its own. You can purchase a variety of sticker sets to customize the look of your roof box, and give the aesthetic some personal flair.

But as nice as stickers are, they are probably not your primary concern when looking for a roof box. Fortunately, Swedish magazine Teknikens Värld recognized the Altitude 450 as best in class winner for 2018 against steep competition from other brands.

They cited its simplicity, design and stability. If you’re looking for external validation, the Altitude has certainly received it.

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The Verdict

So which is better, the Altitude 450 or the Cargo 450 roof box? In every measurable way, it’s clear the Mont Blanc Altitude 450 surpasses the Cargo. It’s larger (though, that might be a drawback when it comes to garage storage for your cargo box), has more internal volume, has a larger max weight capacity, and it can even withstand higher top speeds when installed.

While the Altitude is quite a bit heavier than the Cargo, it is nonetheless more suited to almost any kind of gear transport. If you’re looking for the better Mont Blanc, look no further than the Altitude 450.

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