Widely considered one of the most luxurious features everyone wants, panoramic sunroofs have certain drawbacks. And big differences compared to traditional units.
Cars with a panoramic sunroof are becoming more common by the day. Whereas once a normal sunroof was considered a luxury, the feature has become mainstream and has now grown, quite literally, into one of the biggest trends and glass panels you'll find on modern cars. But what is a panoramic sunroof? Are all sunroofs panoramic? And is a panoramic sunroof a good or a bad feature to have? There's lots to break down here to give you a panoramic picture of what's going on, so let's dig into the details.
The term 'panoramic sunroof' is pretty self-explanatory, as 'panoramic' means a wide view surrounding the observer, while a sunroof is an openable roof panel of a car. So essentially, a panoramic sunroof is just a bigger version of a traditional sunroof, albeit not always with the same tilting or opening features. Typically extending as wide as possible between the outer structural elements of a car's roof and usually spanning further forward and backward than normal, this creates the impression of an open roof over the occupants.
While a regular sunroof is positioned in the center of a car's roof with roof sheeting surrounding it, a panoramic sunroof typically spans the entire width of the roof and, in many cases, butts up against the top of the windshield and reaches aft of, at the very least, the front-seat occupants. In some instances, a car with a dual- or triple-pane sunroof can be considered a panoramic sunroof, as the see-through roof is only split in two to allow a portion of the top to be opened, while the closed configuration allows as much light as possible into the cabin.
Within the broader description of the panoramic roof, there are multiple variants thereof. There are variations on the name, like a panoramic moonroof instead of a sunroof, although this is just a naming convention and the two terms are now considered to be interchangeable. Previously, moonroofs were glass, while sunroofs were openable panels that were opaque rather than transparent.
So what other types of panoramic sunroofs are there? They can be broken down into the following:
There are numerous vehicles with panoramic roofs, spanning different body styles and vehicle segments. Below are some examples of each:
Coupes with a Panoramic Sunroof:
SUVs with a Panoramic Sunroof:
Sedans with a Panoramic Sunroof:
There are several benefits to having cars with a panoramic roof over a normal sunroof or none at all:
With the good comes the bad, and there may be some cons to cars with a glass roof:
Ultimately, whether you choose a glass roof for your car comes down to personal preference and what you intend to use the car for. Luxury cars benefit greatly from having a panoramic glass roof, whereas sporty cars are perhaps better without them from a performance perspective.
If buying secondhand, we'd recommend only purchasing a car with a panoramic roof if it's relatively new and has been well-maintained. Unfortunately, older cars with these roofs are prone to more issues.
Technically speaking, yes, they are. Traditionally speaking, a sunroof was opaque while a moonroof was transparent, but the terminology is now interchangeable. The term moonroof dates back to 1973 when Ford marketing manager John Atkinson coined the phrase for the Continental Mark IV. You can read more about sunroofs and moonroofs here.
A panoramic sunroof is effectively a larger sunroof that lets in more light. All panoramic sunroofs are sunroofs by today's definition, but not all sunroofs are panoramic.
The first recorded car with a panoramic sunroof is considered to be the Lincoln XL-500 concept car from 1953, which featured a tinted plexiglass canopy roof. The Lamborghini Espada may have been the first production car with a panorama roof, dating back to 1969 when Lamborghini debuted its version of a full transparent roof panel.
Join The Discussion