What is panoramic sunroof? Why it’s better than sunroof and moonroof

Written by US Auto Glass

August 4, 2022

While many cars have sunroofs or moonroofs these days, a panoramic roof is a step above and beyond. As the name suggests, a panoramic roof is a much larger window that spans the length of the car, offering passengers an unparalleled view.

In addition to being visually stunning, panoramic sunroofs open a way to flood the car with natural light, making it feel airy and spacious.

For good reasons, panoramic roofs are becoming increasingly popular in new cars and even in RVs (Panoramic Rvs).

If you’re considering getting a car with a panoramic sunroof, you should know a few things first. The following guide will provide the most updated information about panoramic roof history, its functions, and its pros and cons.

Huge panoramic roof on a vehicle, view from inside the car

First, let’s learn about the older sisters of panoramic sunroofs: traditional sunroofs and moonroofs. This will help us to better understand the concept of panoramic sunroofs.

The Sunroof

Cars sunroof matching color of vehicle, black sunroof

The sunroof concept came to the public in the late 1930’s, when the first sunroof was offered on a 1937 Nash. Nash was a car company based in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The sunroof was a hit with customers and soon became a popular feature on many vehicles.

A sunroof is a popular feature in many vehicles. Essentially, it is a non-glass portion of the roof that can be opened to let in fresh air and light.

Most sunroofs are made of metal and are designed to match the car’s body color. They can usually be tilted or slid open and typically take up to 1/4 of the total roof area.

The Moonroof

Moonroofs have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for a good reason.

Unlike sunroofs, which consist of a metal panel that opens to let in sunlight, moonroofs are made of transparent auto glass. This allows for a much wider range of views and also allows passengers to enjoy the beautiful views of the sky.

Moonroofs also typically come with a sliding sunshade, which, if needed, provides additional privacy and protection from the sun’s rays.

In addition, many moonroofs are tinted to varying degrees. Tinted glass helps to keep the interior of the vehicle cooler on hot days.

As a result, moonroofs offer several advantages over sunroofs, making them an increasingly popular choice among new car buyers.

Happy dog looking from car's moonroof, white-black photo

Why do people think that moonroof and sunroof is the same thing

Close up photo of car's glass moonroof with sunshade

Once upon a time, the sunroof was all the rage in cars. They were seen as a luxurious addition, and many people loved the feeling of open air driving. However, sunroofs have largely fallen out of favor in recent years.

Nowadays, modern vehicles equipped with a moonroof instead, which is a glass panel that can be opened to let in light and fresh air. Moonroofs have a more modern look than regular sunroofs, offering a better overview of the surroundings for driver and passengers.

As a result, they are becoming increasingly popular, to the point where the thing that people call a sunroof may actually be a moonroof.

This is the same reason why people call a panoramic moonroof a panoramic sunroof, even if that makes no sense.

But for the sake of this article, and to avoid misunderstanding, let’s assume that they are the same thing.

What is a Panoramic Sunroof

A panoramic glass roof is a multi-panel construction typically made from auto glass. It can be opened by sliding, tilting, or both ways.

This type of roof usually takes up more than half of the roof area and extends above front and rear seats. It’s also known as a big moonroof or a double moonroof.

A panoramic roof has one or more sunshade rollers, similar to the moonroof, that may be automated.

It can provide natural lighting, better ventilation for a car’s cabin, and an unobstructed view of the sky for passengers. And they are usually made of tempered glass.

View of panoramic sunroof from above. Shot from drone.
Electric roof control button on car's celling

Considering the function of panoramic sunroofs, we need to mention that they can be operated in multiple ways:

A motorized panoramic sunroof will have a switch that activates the electric motors, which moves the sunroof panel. A manually operated panoramic sunroof will have a lever or knob used to move the sunroof panel.

The bad side of a panoramic roof

It looks like there are only advantages of having one. However, there are a few drawbacks to consider.

For one, panoramic roofs can be quite noisy (when opened), especially on the highway. In addition, they can make the vehicle’s cabin very hot in direct sunlight if the sunshade is not closed. But for those who enjoy a little extra Vitamin D and a great view, a panoramic roof is definitely worth considering 🙂

Glass roof can also be a source of leaks and drafts, and it can add weight to a car’s roof, reducing fuel economy. Last but not least – panoramic sunroofs are very expensive to replace! On average, panoramic sunroof replacement ranges from 1500$ to 3000$. On some luxury vehicles, the price can easily be above 3000$ mark.

Hand tries to reach cars glass roof, view from inside the car

Let’s summarize all pros and cons of a panoramic sunroof on a car:

Double moonroof on the vehicle, view from cabin

Pros:

 

  • Better overview of surroundings;
  • Extra light inside the vehicle;
  • Better ventilation of the car’s interior;
  • Give a very stylish look to the car.

Cons:

 

  • Wind noise when driving with an open roof;
  • Possibility of water leaks;
  • More weight to the car roof (Affects fuel economy);
  • Expensive to replace.

Conclusion

The panoramic sunroof can be a great addition to your car. Apart from that, they also offer a list of perks that will make your journey more comfortable & enjoyable. We have listed everything about panoramic sunroofs that will help you decide whether you need them or not.

In this article, we compared panoramic roof with traditional sunroof and moonroof. We discussed the functions of panoramic sunroofs and their pros and cons. We hope that all your questions about the topic are answered. If not, please ask them in the comments below!

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