If you have bikes, boats, skis, or a bunch of cargo a roof rack is often the best way to carry it. The problem is that it can be confusing. Depending on your car you have to figure out what hardware you need and if you can even put a rack on your car.
Yakima has a cool iterative fit guide, but it is flash based and really aimed at selling the things that attach to the rack on the car you already have. I like to use the Dealer Fit Tool. It is much quicker than the regular guide and gives you all the measurements and even pictures for most cars. It also allows you to see options for older Yakima hardware, and can tell you what you can carry.
Most cars only have minor changes most years and big updates every few years. The Dealer tool groups the years so you can help narrow down options. For example: the Chevy Malibu 1997-2004 only has 25″ between the bars, which isn’t enough (in my opinion) for a canoe. However, the 2004-2007 and the 2008-2011 models both have 32″ between the bars, so they could work. It can also tell you quickly that the 2008-2011 models are rated for 25 more pounds than previous models so my be better if you want to carry two canoes.