There’s nothing I love more than the look of a vehicle with a panoramic sunroof. Whether you’re looking at the new Mercedes-Benz C-Class or a Kia Stinger, vehicles equipped with full black tinted glass roofs simply look the business. I especially like the contrast between the dark roof and lighter paint colours, such as a beautiful snow white-pearl or light silver metallic.
Most people would tend to agree with how good they look, but having owned a panoramic sunroof equipped vehicle for the past 3 years or so, I feel there are some important issues which new car buyers need to consider before they tick that particular box on the options list.
1. Increased heat entering the vehicle
This might seem obvious, but a panoramic sunroof creates a massive window (literally) through which heat from the sun can enter your vehicle. The severity of this issue depends on your location in the world, how hot the summer temperatures are, and also the clarity of the sky – which will determine how strong the sunlight is. Here in Australia, we regularly see summer daytime temperatures in excess of 40c (104f), combined with crystal clear blue skies allowing the strength of the sun to reach simply murderous levels.
On days like that, leaving any vehicle out in the sun for 15 minutes or more will see interior temperatures sky-rocket, but a panoramic sunroof equipped car will obviously be the hottest of the lot, because the heat from the sun overhead essentially has a direct path in. You’d think tinted glass would help somewhat, but sadly in our experience it makes little difference. Tinted glass works on the principle of absorbing UV rays directly instead of allowing them to pass through into the interior, and essentially creates a large, black, super-heated element across the top of the vehicle.
The retractable cloth sunshades fitted directly below the panoramic sunroof do prevent some of this heat from transferring down into the cabin, but this also means that an incredible amount of heat will build up in the space between. This heat can radiate through into the cabin for quite some time after you’ve entered the vehicle and started driving, meaning your vehicle’s air-conditioning system has to work a lot harder to bring the cabin back down to a comfortable temperature and then maintain it.
2. Reduced headroom
Now we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that optioning a panoramic sunroof in your vehicle would give you more headroom, but this simply isn’t the case. You see, the additional space required for the panoramic sunroof’s motor mechanism and sunshade rollers means that your car will most likely have less headroom compared to if you went without it. Sometimes the difference can be as much as 50mm (2 inches).
Retracting the sunshade or opening the sunroof often doesn’t fix the issue, either, as the opening itself doesn’t go far enough across in relation to where the driver’s head is located. Put simply, taller drivers would have to tilt their head on an angle towards the centre of the car in order to have their head positioned within the panoramic roof opening, and clear the headliner. The only other alternative for tall drivers is to recline their seat back further in an attempt to gain more headroom, but this can create ergonomic issues relating to steering wheel and pedal reach.
So if you’re rather tall, you definitely should test the seating position in a panoramic sunroof equipped vehicle before you decide to order or purchase one. You’ve been warned!
3. Added weight where you don’t want it
Car manufacturers work hard to reduce the weight of their vehicles as it pays dividends when it comes to acceleration, braking and fuel economy. Where possible, they also try to position heavy items (such as the engine, gearbox and fuel tank) as low as possible, in order to improve vehicle stability and handling.
So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that a 100kg+ (220lb+) glass roof running across the very top of the vehicle isn’t exactly the best idea. The reason they weigh so much is due to glass being a heck of a lot thicker and heavier than steel or aluminium roof panels, not to mention all the additional reinforcing bars, electric motors and drainage channels required.
Think about it like this. Having a panoramic sunroof fitted to your vehicle could be the equivalent of having an additional passenger in your car – permanently.
4. Added complexity and noise
While this may sound like a similar issue to the weight factor I mentioned above, it is an important issue to consider in its own right. Panoramic sunroofs introduce added complexity to a vehicle. Where there was previously just a sheet of metal and a headliner, suddenly you’ve got two or more heavy glass panels; electric motors, switches, channels and rollers for the sunshade; plus the main motor and sliding mechanism for the sunroof panel itself.
Aside from all being parts which could break or go wrong, they’re also positioned directly above your head – with the potential for all sorts of rattles, squeaks and flexing noises to develop over time and annoy the hell out of you while driving. It is also worth noting that raindrops hitting a glass roof are louder, too.
A conventional steel/aluminium roof is not only quieter, but most importantly contains nothing behind the roof lining that could rattle or break in the near future.
5. Reduced structural integrity
When it comes down to it, a panoramic sunroof is essentially a giant hole in the roof of your vehicle, and while they do contribute to the structural rigidity of the vehicle, it’ll never be as good or as strong as a vehicle with a conventional roof. It is also worth considering that, by design, the rubber sunroof seals themselves are not 100% waterproof. While the rubber seals do keep the majority of the water out, panoramic sunroofs rely instead on water drainage channels within the roof of the vehicle to keep the moisture out.
These drainage points can sometimes clog, potentially causing the drainage channels to overflow and leak water into the cabin.
6. How often will you actually use it?
People often purchase convertible vehicles because they imagine they’ll get the roof down all the time, but the reality is very different. Often it is simply too hot, too cold or too windy to drive with the roof down – and as a result the driver eventually stops using it. From what I’ve seen, panoramic sunroof equipped vehicles often suffer a similar fate.
Like a convertible, a panoramic sunroof by design is an ‘all or nothing’ proposition. In most vehicles, you can’t have the sunroof open unless the internal sunshades are completely retracted, meaning the entire vehicle is open to the sun. This makes it pointless to leave the sunroof open or tilted whilst parked (in an effort to vent hot air from the vehicle) as the glass roof will let in far more heat than the sunroof can expel.
In addition, sunroofs are often too loud to have open at speeds above 80kmh (50mph), unless you enjoy yelling at your passengers in order to have a conversation.
So, would you still option a panoramic sunroof?
Despite their flaws, some vehicle owners do love their panoramic sunroof equipped vehicles – you only have to check the comments below for proof of that. But perhaps they live in more forgiving climates, or the systems employed in their vehicles are better designed than the ones I have dealt with in the past. But knowing what I do now, the next time I purchase a vehicle I’ll definitely save the money and go without a panoramic sunroof.
They may look fantastic and the idea of owning a vehicle with one fitted is extremely appealing, but do consider my warning that the reality of owning a car with a panoramic sunroof might not live up to your expectations.
Do you own a vehicle with a panoramic sunroof? If so, what are your thoughts?
No I don’t want Pano sunroof. Every Mercedes I drove without one was soft and very quiet. Every one with Pano sunroof I could hear wind noise and the car was louder. I barely use the sunroof i had, so having a pano roof is not for me and not worth the noise exchange.
Thank you for sharing this piece of information on Sunroof but just to stretch further on what you shared. It is definitely not safe to drive especially Mercedes C Class 2018 model. My Mercedes C Class 2018 panoramic roof exploded in the motorway on 30th Jan 2023 and I was driving 70m/h, luckily to me I was able to stay calm when I realised that it was not my tyres that bursted but my sunroof exploded on me and I had glasses all over me. I reached out to Mercedes in Bradford and their technician dsimissed that it was actually an explosion and requested an evidence which I don’t have because I don’t have camera installed in my car. Very silly from Mercedes. I paid for replacement but I still have concern as this might happen again because I view this to be manufacturing defect. Please share if you have had this type of issue before and how you resolved it. I live in the UK
I live in Toronto, Canada, so we will get all four seasons. Almost every car I ever had, had a traditional sunroof, but not a panoramic one, and I never had any problems. What are the cars was 13 years old and I never had any issues with leakage, despite Going through some pretty rough conditions in Canadian weather. But with that said, I do have friends with panoramic sunroofs, who wish to God they never had them for one reason he didn’t mention. In Toronto, entire city is going through a Renaissance with hundreds of condos, being built, needing thousands of , dump trucks and construction trucks with gravel wedged between the tire grooves. On the highway those pieces of a crowd all go flying, and if they hit a panoramic sunroof, the sunroof completely shatters. It happened to somebody I know a few weeks ago, he was badly injured, the glass broke into 1 million pieces and he was cut from head to toe, not to mention nearly Causing a major accident after he slammed on his brakes because he couldn’t see was glass flying into his eyes. It doesn’t take much for the glass to shatter, especially if it’s hot outside, one more reason not to get one.
In a recent blog post, I learned about the steps involved in purchasing a car, what skills and experience are required, and how to avoid a panoramic roof. caragencia.com
Please let me know how to avoid the panoramic roof.
I love having a working sunroof in my 19 Prius, one that opens and closes. What bothers me about the new electric cars I’m considering, (Tesla, Audi, Volvo, even the 23 Prius), they no longer offer sunroofs that open. They call them panoramic glass roofs and I’m not a fan. Living in the south where it’s hell four months of the year, I either want a glass panel that opens or no glass at all.
Best thing I ever did was check the “moonriof,delete” on the options sheet. Not worth the added “everything”
I have been searching and searching for a car that even gives the option not to have a pano or sunroof at all. I have yet to find a 2023 Ev or even a Hybrid who offers them without one. Which vehicle did you buy?
you missed another big issue. Spontaneous shattering. Ours, on our 2010 Toyota Venza, shattered today while driving. Not hit by anything, just decided it was time to commit suicide. These large sunroofs are not generally in stock at the glass repair places either.
I bought a Hyundai Sonata limited new with the panoramic sunroof. I’ve owned it now for 9 years and I use it all the time and love it. The only problem is that it is starting to close a little slower now. I don’t know if it has to do with the motor or the rails it slides in maybe need lubricating. I’ll have to bring it in to find out. But the look of the car is so much better than I see the same car without it. The whole top of the car is black while the rest is silver. When I buy a new car I’m only looking for one with the panoramic sunroof. I also live in southern Louisiana so it’s very hot down here. I have a carport at my house so no sun coming in and when I can I park under trees. Sometimes I do have it open in the summer with the air on full blast .
Every car I’ve owned in the past 50 years, except one, has either had some sort of sunroof, or been a convertible. I absolutely love them, especially the panoramic roofs I’ve had on my last three cars. Never had any problems with any of them and, as I live in the dark, dank north of England, I welcome the extra light they provide. I have the roof open whenever it stops raining.
My current car will automatically close the sunshade if the temperature inside the car goes up when it’s parked. If leaving the car parked in the sun you can securely leave the front part of the roof tilted open to keep the interior ventilated and cool. The roof will close automatically if it starts raining when parked.
I would question the comments about structural integrity. The strong frame surrounding the sunroof actually adds rigidity to the roof. Car manufacturers such as Volvo wouldn’t fit them if they compromised safety.
Here’s some food for thought: The only car I’ve ever owned that didn’t have a sunroof was written off in a serious traffic accident. I’ve never been in an accident in a car that does have a sunroof. Therefore, statistically, this would suggest that a sunroof makes a car safer. 😀
I love my glass roofs; they make the interior a light and pleasant place to be. I can attest that they’re not noisy (when closed they make a tighter seal than the car doors). They don’t leak, nor do they make the interior any hotter. I’m six foot tall and never had a problem with headroom.
Other than these few misconceptions by the author, it was a very well written article. Perhaps if the author had ever owned a car with pan roof the article may have been six reasons to have one.
Is the sunroof glass itself insured or you need to get a special insuranc3e like the one for the windscreen
Currently have a Grand Cherokee with rear panoramic roof (didn’t want but option was limited) and opening front sun roof. Front can be vented or opened without extracting the rear shade. Also have a Land Rover with full panoramic roof but no front opening option which was a bummer.
Had sun roofs on different vehicles for a couple of decades and none leaked. Had to get one repaired under warranty some years ago because of opening/closing issues. The current Jeep has had a few intermittent issues were vent hasn’t closed when it was supposed to but did after subsequent attempt.
The current crop of fabric roofs definitely introduces more noise than previous semi-rigid retractable roofs. This has been the only negative for me. I open the sun roof (full or vented) between 60-80° F; the same goes for convertibles. If I’m on the highway for more than 10-15 minutes then the noise is irritating and close it. The rear shade gets opened when we’re in the woods or dense cities to enjoy the scenery more.
Another plus for a sun roof is another escape option and also a better shooting position for the passenger.
I now have a 2008 Peugeot 308 with panoramic sunroof. It’s 2022 and I feel like it had no impact on car rigidity whatsoever. The heat is right but the rest just depends on the build and even then I think it’s negligible for humans to detect.
poor europeans don’t get it and paying a fortune to get a slice of sunlight while aussie’s lay back on the beach with suncreen all over face. The real value is you enjoy meteor shower with your girl while drifting along the circling mountain roads. that’s why it’s called moonroof. wootherphark needs a sunroof?
I can add another reason why we shouldn’t get the pano sunroof – it shatters spontaneously. Mine just shattered while driving home. It is now in the shop with a decent deductible to pay the shop after the insurance coverage.
What make, model and year is your car
Same with ours today. 2010 Toyota Venza. $1000 deductible
manufacturer of pharm
i’d get a convertible or a regular roof (better a carbon fiber roof like in my bmw m5).
go big or go home. cheers from italy.
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I can totally see why some love their sunroofs and others hate them.
I’m for the sunroof. I have owned a Renault Kangoo with a fixed glass and an electric webasto for 20 years, driven it all around Europe with the roof regularly open and utterly love the light airy feeling the sunroofs provide. I have also run a Renault Megane 2 for 11 years with twin glass sunroofs and the wife has run a Megane 2 CC for 10 years which is awesome on hot sunny days (not that we get so many in the UK) but it does flex a little when the lid is down. And finally a Volvo S40. That was given to me – I would never have bought it as it has no sunroof. Despite being a nice comfy drive and a high quality feel, it just sits on the drive and never gets used as it is depressingly dark inside. Time to sell methinks…
I know sunroofs can leak, or increase heat in the car if the blinds are poor, or break and need an expensive repair, but for me living in the less hot climate of the UK (compared to many) they make a car much more pleasurable to drive. I had to fix the Kangoos webasto once, and never had a problem with any of the others, even the old Renault 17 Gordini Decouverables – faultless. Air conditioning units on the other hand – nearly every car I owned with air con needs re-gassing or new seals from time to time. I don’t bother now – I just open the sunroof instead!
I’m now looking for a manual Audi A5 Quattro with a sunroof. Any colour as long as its blue!
Great content! This is exactly the sort of thing I was looking for. Thanks for your help…
Moon-roof or sun-roof comes with nothing but problems. We would gladly pay to have it taken out (which of course is impossible 😉 Cheers
Can someone let me know if they have had a tinted pan roof WITHOUT a sunshade? I’m collecting one this week and just found out there is no sunshade attached and I’m really worried now. TIA.
This article is almost complete BS. I have a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe with Panoramic Roof. I live in North FL. It is no more hot or cold in that car than any other car I have been in. None of my passengers have commented on any temperature difference either and I know some big time complainers. I am 6′ 3″ and have no issues with head room and I am very cognizant of such issues as I don’t like tight spaces. It is made of tinted glass and I can open it any amount I want and also do not have to have the shade completely open while the roof is open. It has not made the vehicle noisy unless it is open but that is a no brainer and I use it often. Sometimes I open it for outside exposure and sometimes I just let the shade back for a different lighting dynamic in the vehicle. It will cause no more issues than a standard sunroof although it may be more expensive to repair due to size and a lot less parts availability as not many people have them.
The article is geared at a global audience; if you read others comments you’ll understand the controversy. Living in Thailand where the temperature exceeds 40c /100f most of the year makes having a panoramic sunroof miserable.
I totally agree. I am about to have one installed and thought of checking reviews first, this article just changed my perspective. Let’s think about how the suggestions apply to people from other countries before we even say it’s BS.
The writer was actually intelligent enough to consider a wider audience, so thank you for that.
You are driving a Hyundai Sonata…2014…what more is there to say.
@ J, I concur wholeheartedly.
I completely agree with you. I also have a 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe and I use mine all the time! My husband is 6’2″ and he fits perfectly, as well as my son who is 6’1″ fits great in the back. I will definitely buy another Hyundai with a a Panoramic sunroof in the future.
“NAIL……ON…….THE…….HEAD”. After owning two cars (second car was stupid) with sunroofs – in Australia – I came to the same conclusions. I sold the second car after getting tired of having the left side of my face heat up from the heat radiating off the sunroof. Now the sunroofs I had, all had THICK shade, so I could at least escape from the skin cancer giving UV radiation which one can’t do with those pathetically thin sun “SHADES” you get with panoramic roofs. The only option, for those with panoramic roofs is to stick a non-transparent contact ‘wrap’ over it (matching the body colour of the car) to block out ALL the UV’s radiation. Then tilt the roof open when leaving it in the sun or driving just enough to let the heated air out from between the sun shade and the glass; this will stop the cabin of the car getting hotter by the addition heat radiating into it from due to the sunroof. Never again will I purchase a car with any hole in the roof.
I was considering getting a Merc, the GLE Suv. But realised they only have the full sunroof option. I was told by the salesman, the solution is have a bottle of $5 sunscreen in the car and apply everytime I get in the car, or consider another brand. I think I will go with the latter.
Looking at a GLE ourselves and the sunshade for the panoramic roof is a joke actually. With a light interior it lets so much light in it isn’t worth using. I live in New England and I have the shade open except for summer. Never actually open the roof, too noisy. What did you end up buying? It has come down to the GLE 450 without the panoramic roof or a Genesis GV80……………
I live in UK so we are lucky to even get a hot summer although last few years has been improving. I have a Landrover Discovery sport with a Pano that doesn’t open or retract and is a single panel. I love it although not much use to me personally when I’m driving but my passengers really love it as the view is amazing and the different experiences that you get from day time to night time, especially clear nights when the stars our out, and then when its raining heavy or even snowing….I love all the elements and the Pano and 360 view for Passengers/family is just so great and when we go offroad, which isnt often, then passenger experience is just intensifies especially when going up and down very steep inclines or in wooded areas. 10 out of 10 for me and a must have or you’ll miss all these great experiences I’ve just mention.
I drive a Mercedes C with the pano for 5 years in Canada, never had a problem, although the car is always in the garage and not winter driven. A bit noisy when pano is open over 130 kmh. I put silicon on all the moving parts because there is always a bit of dust coming in through the pano. I actually like it.
I drive a Mercedes C with the pano for 5 years in Canada, never had a problem, although the car is always in the garage and not winter driven. A bit noisy when pano is open over 130 kmh. I put silicon on all the moving parts because there is always a bit of dust coming in through the pano. I actually like it.
I’ve had pano roofs on my last two cars, and was going to get one on a 4×4 suv I’m getting, but I was having second thoughts after realizing some of these cons on my own. Now after reading this and other articles, have decided to delete the pano on my order. In six years of driving with a pano, I think I’ve had it open maybe twice. Just too noisy and usually too hot or too cold. Now with a suv with a permanent roof rack, it makes even less sense. And going off road on occasion, no reason to have more weight up high and less headroom. Don’t think I’ll miss it.
I just purchased a 2015 BMW 535i GT and the sunshade that slides back is sagging on both sides.. Searched online and found out that it’s several owners of this model are going thru the same problem.. In most cases the warranty does not cover the sliding sunshade and BMW dealers charge about $2000 to fix this problem..
Loved my panoramic roof on Jag fpace, however it had the tiniest stone chip that I didn’t know was there until a loud crack whilst driving. Panoramic glass sunroofs are covered as standard ‘Loss or damage’ claims, so are subject to the Accidental damage policy excess with my insurer. I stupidly thought the glass would not crack as it would be extra resilient being the roof. Extremely disappointed and will never buy a car with a glass roof again!
How long did it take them to replace the cracked pano? What area of the country are you?
I am driving s GLB and I can remotely open the roof fully or set it to ventilate. Kids love the paranomic roof especially when it rains.
I have a good friend in the glass tinting business, I had him tint the underside of the panoroof in my E550 and as well the fixed roof panel in my Smart car. It doesn’t darken the interior much, because that’s not its purpose, it’s designed to repel UV rays to help reduce heat. When I park either of mine the front sunscreens go on the windshield and on the Mercedes the rear sunshade goes up. I tell you my tint has helped tremendously. I reside in Houston which only has three seasons hot, hotter, and hotter’n hell…!
what is the typical cost for that kind of tinting?
Well UV rays don’t heat.
i love my Volvo S90 pano roof I use it on overcast days only
I love mine!
Enjoyed all the discussions. Can you offer sage advice, guidance on pano roofs in VW Alltracks? Read about lots of problems in the car’s early history, but not so much with ’19 model year. Did VW clean up their act for ’19?
Don’t ever buy a modern day car with an Engine. Are you aware of how many problems an Engine can have? Waaaay too numerous to mention here. In fact if I were you I would opt to buy a vehicle with no Engine at all. You’ll save yourself a ton of money in repairs! In fact may I recommend a Bicycle instead…..
Your comparison is so funny 😂. The engine is most needed for the car to operate. Without the engine, the car cannot drive/run. In the other hand without the panoramic sunroof, or even the normal sunroof, the car is still be good to drive, even has less problems with those sunroofs.
In the fact, may I recommend you to pre-order a special bicycle with panoramic sunroof, so you don’t have to worry about the problems with the engine, that is “waaay too numerous to mention” 😂
it’s…. it’s ironic babe….. relax….. grow a couple brain cells, maybe think before you speak
Purchased a, Believe It or Not, 2021 Kia Sportage SX. Bought it for the turbo engine and sportier suspension, it also comes with the panoramic sunroof. I am 6′ tall and have no problem with Headroom. I live in S Florida and have not noticed additional heat compared to other cars. Glass is heavily tinted and there’s a fairly thick sun shade. Glass/Sun shade are over my head so when shade back i do get additional head clearance. Absolutely love the experience driving with it open. I can only hope there are no large repair bills in the future
Panoramic sunroofs are great when the vehicle is still on warranty. Off warranty means open your wallet.
That is so true, the Jeep that I have has a useless electric sunroof that jams open when too hot or too cold, the engineering is pathetic and the dealers are just greedy parasites. It’s about time trading standards got some teeth and stopped car manufacturers hiding behind limited warranties and started working with fitness for purpose.
That’s really a valuable information on panoramic roof. It was a great and useful read. Keep posting.
Wish I’d seen your post 2 weeks ago when I bought a Lexus ES 350 with Panoramic roof. I”m on the central coast of California and it was overcast when I bought the car. Just today driving along the coast with AC on and roof shade closed I was wondering why it felt so hot. Then noticed interior roof of car was very warm making inside head space of car uncomfortably warm. I would not have purchased the car if I’d known of this issue. It’s that bad. Too late for me but thanks for warning others.
Good to know, I’m also in Cali and am wondering about the heat. Sounds like a terrible idea.
I’m gone to tell my little brother, that he should also pay a visit this weblog on regular basis to take updated from most recent news update.|
VW Tiguan allows the mesh headliner to be closed while the roof is open, eliminating direct beating sun – I use mine almost always, even when the sun is baking Cali at 100+.
What year is the Tiguan that you own? Have you had any issues?
My wife was looking to buy a 2016 with the pano sunroof and its a toss up of a Tiguan with and without the sunroof.
Ceramic window tinting helps heat reduction. Noticeable difference. Had it professionally installed on a MB ML 250 Bluetec. Would recommend it.
Morning, we have a BMW GT 2010 535i, we had to replace the sunroof springs, after a year we have to come back for replace the part with the warranty, now little before the year the same part its has to be change, so for 3 years in a row we have to change over and over the same exact part, what we can do?? lawsuit?? Thanks
I used to own a 2005 BMW E61 525D.
Shortly after I bought the car (second hand) I noticed water ingress in the spare wheel well where most of the vehicles ECU’s were located.
It turned out that this had been a massive problem for BMW as the drainage holes from the panoramic roof were blocking prematurely, flooding the spare wheel well and ruining the vehicles ECU’s and had been sued to pay for repairs to affected vehicles.
I looked into this and BMW would pay to rectify the problem if the vehicle was within a certain age and mileage. Unfortunately, mine was just outside the parameters and I had to pay to be sorted out.
However, if your problem is commonly recognised then there may be something you can do as far as legal action against BMW?
Someone, somewhere must have started the legal proceedings regarding the leak fault?
We have a BMW 225xe with a panoramic roof (cost option) , and a Hyundai i20 which had one as standard. They make motoring far more enjoyable- don’t leak, and make no difference to wind noise. The Hyundai shuts and closes with more panache, and less noise. The only down side is I now can’t stand journeys in cats without them!
The UK rarely sees temp over 20 degrees centigrade- heat build up is not an issue.
We open ours many times in the spring and fall only. Although not worth the extra cost, they are great for kids to look out when doing safaris or national park loops. The tilt function fixes the extra heat.
I am a Pastor and like to seen by angels when on the road, panoramic roof helps a lot to be seen in heaven and for me to see heavens, stars and the galaxy – the awesome work of the Lord, I like to see the rain or snow come down from top – it gives some kind of sensation to enjoy life. I bought my car knowing very well the risks involved and I like it that way and I will sell it before a wear and tear. Actually this is my second merc with sunroof, the family enjoys it too.
Best reply on this forum!! Bless you brother … after spending way too long reading many reviews & opinions and considering all the pros and cons, you have made my mind up! Yes to the panoramic sunroof, living life to the full and enjoying all the beauty of nature while out on the open road!
I like to have it to watch the aftermath of Satan’s work myself. Looking forward to the brimstone and fire falling from the sky so I can see my own demise.
Actually, Josh Ready’s is THE best reply on this forum!!
I am retired, live in regional Australia and own a 2016 BMW 328i GT (F34 model) which I purchased new in August 2016. The vehicle has only travelled 26,500 kms and the factory warranty expires in August 2019. During the past 18 months I’ve been puzzled and annoyed at increasing creaking/squeaking noises that are audible in the cabin. Until last week I had no idea of the source of the noise. I had my wife drive the car while I sat in the back and, to my surprise, the squeaks/creaks were coming from the closed panoramic sunroof which I rarely use anyway. BMW dealer has so far not been helpful at all, but now having identified the noise source I will be returning to the dealer soon to have the problem rectified (hopefully) before the factory warranty expires. Given the high price paid for such a prestige car, I would have expected much better.
This is a useless argument full of paranoia. I’ve had the cars below, both sunroofs, panoroofs, Targa and vert’s
2019 VW Tiquan. Pano
2016 BMW 528I. Sunroof
2010 Corvette GS Targa
2010 Chrysler 300 Mopar. Pano
2007 Corvette Convertible
2016 and 2008 Mazda Miatas to name a few
I live in Texas Heat s no more f an issue than an aluminum roof in the summer. The only roof that gave me problems was the Chrysler 300. It was a well worn limited edition….Shouldn’t have bought it ,but there weren’t many around.
You can worry yourself to death or have fun. Some German Cars are very complex. Have the digital dash go out in your BMW…that’s bad, and it happens more than you know…
I purchased a Hyundai Veloster with a panoramic sunroof and I’m mixed about it. I didn’t consider the sunroof a real reason for the purchase… In actuality the car had the best fuel mileage of any normal gasoline car on the lot. It’s nice to crack open, but it gets hot in the sunny summer in So Cal. Also, sadly, I experienced a sunroof shatter when a stone hit it. It’s a shocking experience, and was difficult to find a repair shop.
In the end, I’d say that I enjoy it at times but I’m won’t be looking to buy another. Not worth the possible hassles. I’d go fully convertible if I want the top down
Have a Citroen C4 with a Panoramic glass roof & I love it! It has an electric sunblind which keeps the cabin from getting too hot, & stops any glare if the sun is at a bad angle. It’s a fixed glass panel & I do sometimes wished it opened. But with all the problems Citroen had with the C3 Pluriel roof, perhaps it’s better that it doesn’t!
C-class panoramic roof in sunny Bangalore, India. Heat build up isn’t too bad with the shade drawn, and car cools pretty quickly with sunroof open to vent out the hot air. Obviously, I cannot use the sunroof open in the city thanks to the levels of pollution, but when I drive to the coffee plantations, the starlit black skies and 22C temperatures make the pano sunroof worth every extra penny paid! It definitely is a WOW!
$280 to put good quality heat reflective film on panoramic moonroof for Merc GLA. Well worth it for Sunny southern California.
I have a Mercedes E class 2004 with a glass panaromic sunroof with solar to aide the fan to keep it cool whether is too much heart and this has made me enjoy the car even more.
I purchased my BMW X3 3.0i brand new in 2004 and I’m still driving it in 2019. I LOVE the panoramic moonroof! No problems with it in almost 15 years now! I rarely open the glass (and only at night when I do) and enjoy it more for the open view glass- sun and moon. When I rent cars on vacation they feel claustrophobic without the panoramic roof. I close the automatic inside cover during the day when parking outside (in Texas) so my interior doesn’t get hot but park at home inside my garage. No problems whatsoever yet and as I mentioned, I will have been driving this car for 15 years in two months. The panoramic moonroof was a huge selling point for me and I ordered this car to my specifications, waiting a month for it to be delivered from Germany. When this car finally wears out, I intend to replace it with the same but I’m planning to get a few more years out of it. I buy cars new and drive them for many years but I’d never kept the same car longer than 12 years before now. I have yet to get sick of this car or feel the need for an upgrade to newer. I will drive it until it dies.
Are there studies about the strength/ integrity of the panoramic glass roofs vs regular cartop? I really cant imagine glass to be as safe as a standard built rooftop, but also cant imagine all these cars would sacrifice safety for the glass roof.
so simple question-if anyone has that fact-which is safer, the glass or the solid roof???
What about Rollover tests, wouldn’t that test rooftops strength and rollover in these conditions?
Can SUVs get a 4 (top score for SUV) in a rollover test with glass roof?
I am looking at preowned Audis Q5 or 7…dont think it will be easy one without a sunroof.
Thanks for any info…
Look up Audi Forums on line.
I’m advising a friend who’s planning to buy the new 2019 revamped Q3.
Unless you special order from dealer,
the pano roof is standard. LOTS of Audi
Q5 & Q7 owners are unhappy with thrall glass roofs which are made of tempered glass which can shatter unlike the safer LAMINATED glass Volvo uses.
Thanks for info-i have heard there are different types of glass sunroofs-are you say ing Audi is not using the safest version of this like Volvo is?
I have a 2013 Optima and despite hating the car over all, I LOVE the panoramic roof. I use it as much as possible here in New England, often times I’ll have it open with hear cranking too. Never had a problem with noise or leaking. On real hot summer days, I close the shade to block the sun so I’m not worried about that. Also not worried about the integrity of the roof, at least it’s safer than a convertible!
Have had a VW with panaoramic sunroof for about 8 years with no problems. The only drawback I have had is that you can tell the noise factor increases in torrential downpours….hail has not been a problem but i usually try to aovid driving in hail.
I personally can’t stand sunroofs, moon roofs, or panoramic roofs. I see it as a safety issue and after owning an old 97 Jeep Grand Cherokee with one, I learned just how inconvenient they could be. During a thunderstorm (these are common in southern states) the sun roof blew off the car and was shattered by an oncoming truck. We pulled over and the man circled back to us. He was concerned for us, thinking he’d hit a deer and maybe we hit it too. We told him our sun roof blew off and he was still so kind! His only concern was if we were okay. We were more concerned about his front end and wanted to give him our insurance info in case he needed to make a claim. Thankfully the man had a steel frame mount on his front end that shattered the sun roof so it didn’t tear up his front end. I would not be surprised if it left plenty of chip marks though.
Fast forward a few years and I always look for cars without this feature. The issue I run into is that the models I like all have sun roofs, moon roofs, or the panoramic. I like the Subaru Crosstrek for its AWD and off road capability, the outback, and more recently the VW Tiguan TSI with 4Motion. I made the mistake of buying a GMC with AWD and have had 3 large repairs replaced under warranty within the first 30k miles! Accelerator pedal failed, replaced entire steering column, replaced entire exhaust, computer and back-up camera decided if and when to function.
I purchased the vehicle because it has AWD and did NOT have the pesky sun roof or panoramic roof.
I’m shopping around again and really liked the 2016 Crosstrek and 2016 VW Tiguan with AWD. I’m hesitant to buy a car with that darn hole in the roof but I also want to stick to brands I trust from here on out. My experience with my 2016 GMC, along with my fear of making payments on a car while making huge repairs to it frequently, are driving my decision to purchase a vehicle from companies I trust.
But how do I find the top model I enjoy and trust without the stupid glass in the roof?!
Any help would be appreciated.
Anybody ever try a dark window tint on the inside? There’s DIY versions and window tint professionals.
We purchased a 2011 MKX three years ago (with about 60k miles on it). I loved the vehicle and especially the panoramic roof, one of the must-haves on my list. Of course, with all the options, tech in the vehicle and the desire to have coverage if a big ticket item failed we wanted coverage. So we purchased the [so-called] premium warranty (about $3,600US extra) at the Ford dealership with a $100 deductible.
However, when those plastic clips on the sunroof failed; the dealer said that the part needed to repair was the entire sunroof frame; and it wasn’t covered under the warranty [because of the vehicle age and mileage at the time of the part failure-101k miles]. This just happened a few months ago. We also learned that this was happening to quite a few Ford Edges (Edge and MKX share the same part-sunroof frame). Many were covered by warranty, but with lower mileage and they were newer vehicles.
My wife and I were quit disturbed and were left with a $7,200US bill to repair it. And now faced with the options of (1) coming out of pocket for the repair, (2) having a hard top put in it’s place for about $2,500-3,000US. or (3) having my panoramic sunroof sealed with sealant (for $125) to be non-functional (reducing the value of the vehicle). We were livid; and could only throw our hands up to heaven for help. Some people online tried to start a class action to force a recall on this failing part, but not enough response, one lady reported her issue to the NTSB earlier this year.
We were referred to the Lincoln Customer care division to take up the matter. They went back and forth, and were only able to negotiate the repair at the dealer for about $5,900US. Still a lot of money. This was unacceptable to us even though we appreciated the try.
I really didn’t want to seal it up to be non functional, or a hard top, wanted a functional sunroof [like purchased].
I was impressed not to give up and began to research the part number and learn more about the part and issue. Found the part online ranging from $3,900-4,900US; also, looked for possible lightly damaged MKX’s (Ford Edge’s) where parts maybe available for purchase; found some ranging from $900-1,100US.
Really didn’t want a used part; but this option was looking much better, since we had to fit the bill, and our vehicle was older. Yet I thought, would this same issue happen to the used part. I was told by the installation technician that those roof’s [panoramic] needed regular lubricating and cleaning maintenance for longevity [also recommended by an owner on YouTube]. That may not be stated in the owner’s manual. I’ve owned vehicles with regular sunroofs for years and never had this to happen.
However, I believe heaven answered, because we found and unbelievable deal on eBay. The entire Sunroof Frame with rear top glass, brand new, in the crate from the factory at a Ford dealer about 12hrs (drive time) north. They only wanted to get out of it what they paid for it over a year ago, $1,500.00. And on top of that, because it’s new, and we purchased it from a Ford dealer, we get the 24 month manufacturer’s warranty on the part.
This was a good article on 6 reasons to avoid panoramic sunroofs; I wish I had known the issues with them before we purchased. I may have thought twice. Still love the look and the use of it. I close the shade in the heat of the day because sun shining through the top makes interior hotter and the armrest super hot.
It goes without saying when you are ready to purchase do your research well. I would have been forewarned and did the regular maintenance which it seems is not mentioned in the manual. Will be doing that maintenance from here on.
Nice topic here, so I have a white BMW f11 with big panoramic roof, it is super hot around my head when driving even if an air conditioner is working.
My solution will be, since a car is white, I will cover a glass from the outside with a white wrap foil, just for few months in the summer, in September I will pull it off till May next year, it will cost me 13eur per year to do this and I am sure car won’t look that bad and I still can open a roof anytime I won’t.
Well contrary to all these reports actually love the pana on my e class, its been working well for all these years and it even has solar to keep the fan running when the car is parked for cooler temperature.
these sunroofs are ridiculous. you cannot keep the shade closed and have it cracked open for air. are there any cars left with a non-panoramic sunroofs?
Well I have a 2015 Hyundai Sonata with a panoramic sunroof. January 2017 I took it in for a recall about the wind deflector, and took it back in April of 2017 because the seal kept popping out on the passenger side every time I opened the sunroof. Well this past Sunday 5.6.18 while driving on the Beltway (highway) about 70 mph with my sunroof opened, I hear this loud pop followed by a gust of wind, another pop, rattling, and another pop. Everything happened do fast but I saw that the wind deflector came apart. Somehow with quick reactions I was able to reach over and grab the wind deflector before it came off then somehow hit the close button when I saw the complete passenger side of the sunroof bouncing. With almost crashing into the wall of the highway,by the grace of god, I was able to gain control and make it to my mothers house. I took it to the dealership Monday the very next day with a strap to keep it in place, only to have them tell me it’s not covered under warranty because the frame was bent. “Uhm hello if I am driving highway speed limits and a gust of wind gets in under a broken wind deflector (the same side I took it in for) and the sunroof comes off the tracks.” I’m sure the frame is dented, not just the passenger side but the other side as well. I’m just glad no one was hurt by a flying sunroof or me losing complete control
Sounds like a terrifying thing to deal with while you’re doing 70mph! It simply isn’t acceptable for it to not be covered under warranty – it is only 3 years old. I am not sure where you’re based, but if there is some sort of government run consumer affairs / consumer watchdog I’d definitely be lodging a complaint with them. Best of luck!
You could simply get a Honda CR-V current model has a panoramic roof but it doesn’t open so it’s fixed shut so you get nice scenery and it’s just basically a massive window. No worries. Also sun is a great issue in England we get it about 2 months of the year and then it’s freezing. I love the sound of rain hitting windows so it’ll be fine it’s relaxing
Do you ever considered there was an alternative to that motorized panoramic sunroof, called moonroof?
I just bought a 2018 Camry v6 XLE with the panoramic roof and I love it. It’s a convertible without the extra hassles. Plus, I can’t imagine going back to the old sunroof.
And I open the panoramic roof almost every day. It doesn’t create the cavitation in the cabin like my old sunroof did.
Btw, a moonroof is a fixed glass panel in the roof. A sunroof opens up. A panoramic roof is much more expansive and typically covers both front and rear seats.
I have my panoramic on my Hyundai Sonata 2016, I Don’t have any issue… I love it!
anyway if you (like me) change cars every 2-3 years don’t worry about the damages … (you have warranty on it) about the heat from the sun during the summer… I recommend you guys before you seat into the car (not only for panoramic roof) open at least two doors of your vehicle one door on each side for 1 min.
after that your feels will be much more better because you let to all compressed heat in your car go out!
I totally agree with this article… Panoramic sunroofs are just a permanent source of problems that the car manufacturers are keen to add to the high versions to guarantee a permanent after sale draining of car owners money! It is certainly not for hit dusty countries like Egypt when you have your aircondition on all the time to protect you from heat and noise . I wonder who would want direct sun on his skin in Egyptian summer or open roof for wind noise and polution while paying for 4 zone air conditioning and perfect sound proof in tge Volvo XC60
I refused to buy the inscription version that had all the features i want just because it has that panoramic roof included in the package!
Disagree. Due to the VW Jetta diesel issue, i swapped out for a 2013 VW Tiguan with panoramic sunshade. The “motor ate the screen” and it was covered by my purchased extended warranty. Naturally VW Service was planning to give me a hard time ie: did screen wrap around motor (covered) or did motor eat screen (covered). Then trying to have me pay $189 diagnosis. In addition, service attempted to tell ME the warranty was only good upto 60,000 miles. WRONG. It was the mileage at purchase PLUS 60,000 miles.
Don’t know what they were trying to pull, but I called the warranty company directly and got all the correct answers.
BTW – COVERED. Including draining the side plugs (again, had to remind VW service to have that done since everything was already torn apart for the new sunshade replacement & motor & rails. DUH.
Don’t know what they were trying to pull, but be sure to call the warranty folks directly to have questioned answered. And the warranty people WILL take note.
Without the covered warranty, it would have cost me over $3000.
ps: I do live in Florida. And I did go have extra tint added to the sunroof glass. what a difference. Even on the hottest days, before I drive off, I crack open the sunroof to let out the “heat” and its gone in no time. (about the time it takes me to buckle up and bluetooth my phone).
I am thinking of buying a 2015 hyundai sonata limited with panoramic sunroof. But seeing the reviews, plus I saw an article about 2015 recalls on the sonata panoramic sunroof, I am not so sure now. I may just go for a plain sunroof.
I am in the process of buying a used 2010 Lincoln mks. It has a panoramic sunroof. Has anyone that has this same car or knows anyone with this car had any problems with leaks or explosions?
I googled it and found a few people who experienced issues – you’re rolling the dice so your particular car might be fine… or it might not be!
I have a Range Rover Vogue, 11 months old, with a non opening panoramic glass roof. Its been in the dealers workshop now 4 weeks due to a weird whistling noise that appeard to come from a leak that developed after driving the car only 6,500 miles.
Dealership originally didn’t believe it was an issue, refused to book it in unless I paid £500 for,a,1st service, car was undriveable over 50mph. This was 6 weeks ago, am in Lewes, Sussex UK.
Am still waiting to,get car back, every time I ring I am a sort of nuisance to the dealer, they are also refusing to warranty the new roof when the car does come back… avoid Range Rovers, I see many Evoques have cracked roofs and out of warranrty it £3000 plus to,fix, Jaguar Rover always maintain its a stone chip.
Its obvious to me that the car flexes and the roofs work loose or crack over time..
hi there, so would removing a non panoramic roof and replacing it with a panoramic roof be an absurd idea? I have a 2012 renault megane 3 with a solid closed roof. I’ve found another renault megane 3 with a factory fitted pano roof. So I’m considering removing my closed off roof and welding on the pano roof onto my car. I’m in Durban South Africa, is there anyone I could contact who could help me this project? Gugu
I think it sounds like a pretty crazy idea. Probably better to just sell your car and purchase a panoramic equipped model in similar condition. That way everything is factory fitted and works as intended.
I love it. The feeling of a convertible without the hassle. Then again, I live in a place with 330 days of sun.
Sean, you might never hear about the physical concept “thermal capacity” otherwise you won’t say the “incredible amount of heat to build up in the space in-between.” That heat amount is completely negligible, period.
I have never claimed to be an expert in thermodynamics, Paul, and the points mentioned in this article are based completely from my own experiences.
I found the headliner on a car with a tinted glass roof to be significantly hotter than vehicles with conventional roofs. Due to my height and the close proximity of my head to the roof, it also felt as though it stayed hotter and radiated heat for longer after the air-conditioner started.
I have a 1995 Honda Integra with a glass sunroof. Mind you, it’s not a panoramic sunroof, but the smaller kind. I love it. It’s that little bit extra feeling of freedom at a press of a button. I have never had a problem with it – so that’s over 22 years of solid performance – no cracks, no leaks, no motor failure. And I use it all the time.
I live in Queensland so the heat is the only one thing that might be a drawback, however it does have a hard lined sliding internal cover which I think makes all the difference. Without this, it truly would be impractical in the Queensland summers. So make sure the vehicle you are considering has a suitable sliding cover. It’s a deal-breaker without it. I suspect that most sunroofs do have one, but if it’s a flimsy shield compounded with a much larger panoramic size, this might be an issue.
I’ve never experienced any issues with conventional sunroofs, even in a few older vehicles I owned in the past. You still hear horror stories occasionally, though.
My dealer put a paint protection film on the front and rear bumper of the car. Is there a similar protection film for the glass roof?
Some companies offer thicker window tint film which they suggest helps to hold the glass together in the event of it shattering. The helpfulness of this is debatable though.
Everyone is talking about the sunroof, though my Toyota Highlander 2017 has a panoramic moonroof? What is a difference between sunroof and moonroof? Is the moonroof more safe and less trouble than sunroof?
In theory it should be less terrible, yes, but many of the reasons listed in this article can still apply. Some people never have any issues with their glass roofs, so if you’re enjoying it and the car is comfortable it probably isn’t worth worrying about.
My recently purchased 1999 Toyota Corolla also has a moon roof – at least that’s how it’s described in the owner’s manual. My first sunroof car – a ’67 Beetle – was advertised that at nighttime it’s sunroof was a moonroof. I don’t think there’s any difference between the two.
I do like the concept of the glass roof ( as long as it also opens) – though like the security a steel sunroof provides. Having an opening roof is one of my “must haves” for a car.
The Beetle’s’ sunroof was a wind back roof, the electric roof on my Mercedes has a manual winder in the trunk should the electrics fail. What happens I wonder with the opening panoramic roofs – do they also tend to have manual overrides?
Am building an MB E400 sedan in white, and really like the panoramic’s exterior black top on the white. However, I have never even opened my sunroof on my current car, and the glass just doesn’t seem as safe as metal. Once owned an SL, and never removed the top. Luckily, when I googled the panoramic safety aspects, I came across your article. Made my decision…I’ll just have a solid white car..not as pretty to look at, but much more practical in ways that hadn’t even occurred to me. Thanks.
We agree with your decision Rene! Of course, if you like the look of a black roof you can always have gloss-black vinyl wrap applied, or have the roof painted properly. I’ve seen plenty of people do that to their vehicles and it looks fantastic.
My Kia Sportage has been perfectly fine with its pano roof. No issues with heat, leaks or any failures. Lovely airy and open feel when driving.
I AM PLANNIG TO BUY A NEW SANTA FE SPORT LIMITED WITH ALL THE BELLS AND WHISTLES.
THIS HAS A PANORAMIC SUN ROOF.
PLEASE ADVISE IF THIS WILL BE A GOOD BUY
I love my Golf7 sunroof too. Always a pleasure when I can open it and go for a ride with family or friends all people inside love it opened. I have the Golf for 4 years now from a brand new car I never had a sunroof malfunction or water intake, never ever, simply perfect optional VW item. I live in a temperate climate region and with no mistake, I do drive my Golf once every fortnight or less in average with sunroof totally opened, it means I opened it for at least 25-30 times a year even more. During sunny or cloudy weekends with cold or warm temperature opening it even in winter, 7-10 Celsius temp, sunny day and doors windows closed what´s the problem, open up your panoramic sunroof and enjoy its freedom sensation.
I always see a pretty young thing standing and waving, raised fingers/fists and balloons sticking out. I myself don’t need that much sun while driving or an escape hatch. How about two smaller (front and back) sun-roofs/sun-slits of the manual or semi-manual variety. A lot cheaper, lighter, quieter, structurally stronger and after market replaceable. Selectable shades would also be nice, clear, smoked, frosted, milked and headliner matching solid. Glass roofs………..er, no.
I have had sliding roofs on my cars for years and would find it almost impossible to persuade myself to buy any car without one.
My Honda Accord Estate is reasonably quiet and not too drafty at speed and I typically open the roof unless it is raining. There is nothing like fresh air!
Of course my wife likes it shut.
I used to have Mercedes Benz E320 with Panoramic roof. It started making sqeeching sound every time it goes over a speed breakers. It was so annoying. I agree with the author. If you are leasing I think it is ok but never own it..
I have a 2010 VW Jetta Wagen TDI that VW will buy back in the next year. The cloth screen broke about a year ago and separated from the wire guides. I ripped it out and fortunately the roof is closed, albeit now permanently. I bought a $40 foam liner to keep things cooler in the meantime. At least USD $1500 to fix. Never again. Added reason – outrageous cost to repair if it malfunctions.
The pano sunroof motor on my 55,000km Superb has gone. I’d waited until an example had come up for sale. Now wish I hadn’t. Not covered by the extended warranty either. I’m dreading the call back from the dealer to tell me how much I’m going to be fleeced for.
Sorry to hear about that. Aside from the cost of the motor, the labour charge to fit it might also be more than you imagine – as the entire roof lining will need to be dropped in order to access the motor location. It is also important to consider that if they need to remove the roof lining from the car entirely, the front windscreen will need to be taken out to create an opening big enough to do that.
Here’s hoping you don’t get stung too badly for it.
I was planning on buying either an Audi S3 or GTI until I realized the “Panoramic Sunroof” disaster. I live in Tucson, AZ so there is NO WAY I would be able to deal with that. I have a BMW 135 with a moonroof, however, at least it is solid, not the see-through cheap material Audi/VW are using.
I was recently in Boston and rented an Aud Q3 with a panoramic sunroof, the car would get so hot that I couldn’t stand it. It wasn’t even Arizona.
For this reason I will buy a new BMW 2 Series, Audi/VW, please get smarter.
Okay, you talked me out of it. I was very DETERMINED that I wanted a panoramic sunroof on the Kia Sportage and, darn it – I just HAD to read your article. I live in Florida and being hotter is not a temperature goal of mine.
But, why didn’t you stress the explosive sunroofs?! That should have been 7 reasons for sure.
You do hear about panoramic roofs exploding occasionally, but the issue seems fairly uncommon. So you’d probably have to be pretty unlucky to have it happen to you.
Still, a metal roof will never shatter into millions of razor sharp pieces and rain down on top of you – so it is something to consider.
I own a 2017 Kia sportage sx with the pano roof. Never a problem and I love it!!!!
I totally agree with this blog. “There’s nothing I love more than the look of a vehicle with a panoramic sunroof.” Thanks so much for all those wonderful ideas about sunroof.
I do not agree. I have just bought a car with a fixed panoramic sunroof and I love it!! the glass roof makes the vehicle inside seem lighter and bigger more scenery and I actually cant wait to drive in the thunder and rain!!! Mine has an electric blind so I can cover it as I wish. Cars which have opening sunroofs are a pain especially in britain as you hardly use the, I had a car with a removable roof once and I never used it!! So I dosagree with you panoramic sunroofs are ace!!
Hello Helen….Thanks for your cheery and reasonable comments! I just got a VW Tiguan with one and was feeling a tiny bit concerned for its usage and safety. But, on a ride today,
realized the car seems lighter inside….and I love the air. Although I laugh a bit at my concern since I’ve driven convertibles for years. Cheers
to panoramic sunroofs!!!
I own one, using it for 3+ years and I’m super happy.
Thanks. I’ve never liked sunroofs as they all tend to be troublesome eventually, leak, are noisy when open and serve no purpose other than watching an aircraft or bird fly over. I was considering one of the vista roofs but your article helped me not jump into the same old trap. I seldom used them when I had them.
My 2012 Mercedes E350 Iridium Silver is beautiful and has not posed any problems whatsoever. No noise, no leaks, no explosions, no structural problems, no heat that is unmanageable, etc. And the extra weight hasn’t caused me to flip the car over.
I have a 2013 Hyundai Elantra Gt with the panoramic sunroof and I do not think I would buy another car that had one ever again. Other than the points mentioned above they can be very expensive to repair. The plastic liner under the roof cracked on mine and by the time it was replaced the cost was $4000 CAD. Luckily it was still under warranty…barely.
They had to replace the headliner as well due to water staining in the left rear corner as well as some rails which was not in the original $4000 quote.
You could write an article like this for like everything in your life: kids, pet, house, flat, swimming pool… etc.
pros and cons
I have a sunroof on xc60 and I love it
All the best
One concern is if a semi truck wheel and tire break’s off and bounces on top of the moon roof equipped vehicle. I am almost certain the glass would shatter and the passenger compartment would have a semi truck wheel and tire inside of it (or at least bouncing off it), not a pretty sight.
Actually I saw a programme the other week testing cars with panoramic sunroofs and you would be amazed at their strength.!!! full sized iron anchors dropped on them did not leave even a scratch!!!
Definitely what I wanted to know. I love the idea of a skyroof but with all these issues, probably better (for the hip pocket as well) to do without! Thanks a tonne srsly 😀
Dont listen to the negative comments I love my panoramic sunroof!!
I have a 2013 Hyundai Elantra GT with the panoramic roof. It does not come on the regular Elantra. I love it. I have owned many convertibles over the years , but decided to try a panoramic roof. It is almost like a ragtop, but I feel safer and have hardly any of the wind noise and turbulence you have with a ragtop.
It has the electric sunshades you can close but only if the roof is closed also. I have the roof open quite a bit, even in winter, and I live in Maine. If it gets too chilly, I just close it part way and put the heat on.
I had not heard about any of them exploding, and assume it is a rare thing. What causes them to explode?
If I trade this in the future, I would consider the AWD Tucson also, as it has the big roof option.
My Yeti has a sunroof. We love it for the open cabin feeling. However it started to leak recently. We always parked on a hill with the front of the car pointing down. There are 4 drains in the sunroof, one in each corner. In the west of Ireland it rains a lot. We noticed water leaking down dead in the front middle of the sunroof. The garage never asked if we were on a hill and assumed it was a minor blockage in the drains. It happened again. It turns out that the water was pooling in the front middle of the sunroof and didn’t get a chance to drain. Ever since we have been parking level and haven’t had the problem since.
Around the same time I lubricated the parts for opening and closing the sunroof. We notice that sometimes it can be difficult to get the sunroof to close, which can be a worry with rain due any minute. Eventually we do get it closed (sometimes an hour or two later after car restarts and tinkering with the control). I now just leave the damn thing shut.
I’m looking to buy a new car soon, I will miss the sunroof, but only for the openness.
With increasing temperatures in Australia and rising skin cancer rates I feel uneasy about another source of unwanted sun. Yes, it gives an open airy feeling but with all the other issues of weight, mechanical malfunction, exploding glass and squeaks and rattles – decided not to order it on a new X1 arriving soon. Have an M sports 125 (great car to drive) with a sunroof and occasionally I pull it back but not so enamoured that I would overlook all the negatives. They are real. I wear a hat when I pull the sunroof down though…
Glass roofs are a personal preference. But it is important to note that the issues described here are an extremely small percentage of the millions of glass roofed cars on the world’s roads. I have had one on a Cadillac for 17 years with zero problems. Had no problems on a Ford for 20 years with a moon roof with a manual sunshade. On hot days I left the roof partly open and the shade nearly closed. This allowed the heat out of the car better than anything else. My Audi S8+ has had no roof problems to date. Oh yes, I do remember a car I had with a sunroof problem. My ancient Audi 100S, back in the 70’s had a leaky sunroof. Of course it also leaked under the dash, in the trunk and everywhere else. It also wouldn’t stop in the rain, due to the inboard disk brakes. Really scary piece of junk.
If you are basketball player height, I probably would not get a glass roof, but otherwise I would never buy a car without one, since they now seem like dark dungeons.
you are only mentioning normal sunroofs.
The article is obviously about the less reliable PANORAMIC sunroofs.
Add to that they leak and malfunction.
Well I have a 2 year old Audi S3 and have had all the rattles and creaks imaginable from my panoramic roof. Been back at the dealership 5 times and they have even replaced the frame with no solution. Just yesterday I had it retracted all the way back and when coming to close it…nothing. Wont respond to switches, keys or remotes. Fuses all fine, so most probable to be a motor fault now as well. But the best part is, car can only be booked in on January 4th 2017, and there is absolutely no manual override. So I cant use the car until then, cause being summer here in South Africa, it rains almost everyday. So would I ever buy a car with a pano roof again…NO!! 2 years of issues and now 2 weeks of not being able to use the car
> You can’t have the sunroof open unless the internal sunshades are completely retracted,
> meaning the entire vehicle is open to the sun.
Not true in my model. The shade and roof are independent, and I can have the shade as open or closed as I want.
Also don’t get all this talk about noise. My car is very quiet with the roof. Very little road noise. I tested it against a Lexus ES350 (without a panoramic…I don’t even think they make one for the Lexus ES) and my car was about 80 as quiet already, and I understand when I get new tires if I get a certain Pirelli model it will be just about as quiet as a Lexus, because the tires were tested in both cars. As it is, I can hear myself breathing, even at highway speeds, so I’m happy.
I just had my panoramic moonroof shattered into a million pieces over my kid’s heads after a light pole fell on us at a stoplight. We were covered in glass. I understand this is a freak accident but it leads to a nunber of other safety questions. I will never get one again.
You could of had the light post smash in the roof and harm you all.. never know, but the sunroof may have saved lives in your case.
So, are you saying that the pole hitting the roof would have been worse than it hitting a slab of glass? Your strawman is by definition; “weak”.
Hey, can you comment on the Opel Astra GTC?
It has a panoramic roof (no sun roof opening) and in the cabin area you have the choice to ‘unfold’ the a fabricated area which has its own plastic cover (meaning that it could be closed whenever- rain, sun etc.. of course it adds to the cars wight,but it puts to question some cars)
I’m thinking of purchasing one and would be happy to hear from an experienced owner of panoramic sunroof (;
I love my panoramic sunroof. My previuos car was a VW Touran and now I have a VW SportsVan – both with panoramic sunroof. My wife loves it and my kids too. When the roof is closed it brings a lot of daylight into the car. So far I have not experience any trouble with the roof construction. I think that depends where you live in the world. If you live in place with very warm summers with temp. aound 35-40 degrees then you have more challenges with the heat. In the continental Europe the max temp is about 33-35 in summer making is ideal for convertible/Open roof driving.
I love the sunroofs
There are sunroofs avaliable which do have an heat reflecting coating. Idt does not get warmer, and in siome cases the carmaker got rid of the roller sytems, since the thermal comfort is not improved by it. then you save weight and gain heardspace.
Hello guys I read your comments and one thing I have to tell you that I owned the car with panoramic roof for 3 years and I think only used it for 3 – 5 times. Also once I was thinking that if anything gone wrong the Panoramic roof reduce the safety as well.
So therefore I will stick to the point here that I will never buy a car again with panoramic roof.
The Genesis G80 sunroof is huge and has less heat issues, unlike benz, audi, etc, the retractable shade in very thick and blocks ALL light and heat from entering the cabin. I guess the German manufacturers need to take notes.
My 2015 genesis ultimate 3.8 awd panaromic sunroof literally came off the tracks while open at highway speeds then proceeded to open and close leaving it in a limped position unable to fully retract. Brought it to the dealer and they manually closed it. I’m waiting on parts to have it replaced. Suffice it to say, it’s great when it works, but is destined to fail. The seals have already been replaced once after 12 months and the roof has been rattling since I leased the vehicle. The companies that make them do so for all the manufacturers so the brand of vehicle is irrelevant. They are all made in Japan by the same three companies.
We own a 2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with a fixed Panoramic Roof and a Pwer Sunshade. At night the Panoramic Roof also glows from the LED track lighting the GT model comes with which gives and amazing look. We purchased this one for the simple reason it was huge and one piece and does not open. We wanted an open cabin feel to be able to see out and enjoy the view and it very much does that. Couldnt be happier with the vehicle and that feature!!!
I have a VW Tiguan and love our panoramic sunroof! I will not consider a car without one. I live in Victoria and use it almost year round on city driving as well as country touring. Our shade can be laft closed with the roof open so great to get the air but not the strong sun, the heat dissipates very quickly once driving and then we close it to allow A/C to work efficiently. Love it, love it, love it!!!
me too. 2013 VW Tiguan owner. The sunroof was more important that a backup camera (IMO) Then when I saw it was panoramic – bonus. At 5’11”, its plenty of headroom with the sunroof. Plus I don’t bang my knee on the steering console getting in/out on the driver’s side.
Thanks for everyone’s comments. I am considering purchasing either a Nissan Murano or a Hyundai Santa Fe. Personally, I couldn’t care less about have a panoramic sunroof but my wife likes it. I had a melanoma several years ago and I am worried about the sun rays getting through. The melanoma was on the inside of my leg but I don’t have as much hair as I used to. So long as the sun shades are available and I can block out the sun coming in, then I am okay with the extra heat. I am guessing the only time I would have it open would be a night drive anyway. But my main concern is whether all cars with the panoramic sunroof have the sun shades to block out the sun. We have a Honda CR-V that has a regular sunroof and there is a sunshade which I always keep closed. I have no idea if the Murano or Santa Fe have the sunshades. I welcome any thoughts on my reasoning. Thanks in advance.
I have been driving for 3-4 years now with a Mercedes-Benz A-class with the panoramic roof.
It was a must-have after growing accustomed to the light in the car after driving a Alfa-Romeo Brera. Which had a very nice windshield that extended over the roof giving a ver wide viewing-angle. But it didn’t open up and.. heavy as that car already was, it added too much weight for it to be comfortable. (imagine thick wheels on a overweight car. Add glas panels to it. Riding on a rough highway.. Even the radio was drowned out of the noise that made…)
The Mercedes is another story: the car is still light and agile. The use of the roof… it’s about 2 months a year. Where you can “air out the car” easily or just tilt the panel to get a little airflow. In the summertime it s amazing and it adds to a more voluminous feeling in the car. (my girlfriend has the same car without the roof, it doesn’t bother but it feels more… “cosy” in a way.)
It boils really down to the brand and car-characteristics in my mind. The Mercedes is worth it for me. While the Alfa gave a better “viewing experience” while it made it quite uncomfortable to drive long times with it.
Was thinking of buying the Hyundai i30 with the Panoramic sunroof…it is quite tinted and looks amazing. i have Googled and found that a lot of people love it but have also found that there have been a lot of cases where the tempered glass that they use for the panoramic sunroofs have exploded…im not entirely sure why they explode as i have seen videos of how they test it and it looked pretty safe…quite concerned now
I should state that the ‘exploding sunroofs’ were from all different makes and models and not just Hyundai
I’m betting your engine exploding is more likely than your sunroof exploding.
I was thinking the same thing.
Depend on how they mean it. If you are using tempered glass, when it breaks it can have a tendency to very rapidly shatter across its entire volume, but will also shatter into overall harmless fragments, rather than the shards you’ll see from non-tempered glass.
Look up “Prince Rupert’s Drops”.
Panoramic sunroofs can explode, but from what I’ve read it is quite a rare event and difficult to pinpoint the reason why in each case. There are many other things that can go wrong with a panoramic roof, and an explosion is probably the last thing I’d be worried about.
My 2016 Mercedes C300 sunroof exploded 2 days ago. It was scary.
Interesting – my 2015 C250 did exactly the same thing last week, still in warranty but MB will not accept it exploded but say it was a stone chip which could have happened some time ago. Did MB replace yours?
I live in Phoenix, AZ and here its not rare to see them hit 115 f with some days getting to 117 f. The local news did a short segment where they left a car outside during the day and put a thermometer inside and the temperature in the car reached 160 f something with a hot spot of 175 f ish on the dashboard/front of the car. So here is probably an even worse idea.
Yes, but they fail to mention that they also come with the ability to close off the panoramic glass by closing the screen as well.
There are times that the sun is coming in at an angle that it creates a glare on my touch screen. So I just close the shade and presto… you have a normal car roof.
This helps in deflecting the sun’s heat as well.
The article mentioned that even with the shade, heat builds between the glass and the shade. So no, sunroofs, panoramics or otherwise a, shade or not, will never be like a normal roof.
I have a panoramic and an all-black interior…should be a recipe for a hot mess, right?
It’s not. The car is warmer with the glass exposed, but I just close the shade and it keeps the car plenty cool…I find I don’t have to rub the AC any higher than I did with my old car, which had no sunroof at all. And since the new car has a more efficient AC, it actually cools down more quickly. Plus the ventilated seats help.
And in the winter, the same warming from keeping the shade open can be a benefit.
I am concerned with the prospect of squeaks and leaks, but I don’t live in a super warm or super cold climate, so I don’t think my roof will be stressed out as many as many. And an acquaintance has had the same model car with a panoramic roof for four years and she’s not yet had a single problem. Hopefully my luck with be the same.
It seems like the higher end cars are having to biggest problems. I have a Hyundai Elantra GT and I LOVE my sunroof. I am sad that Hyundai decided to get rid of the pano. sunroofs for the 2018 cars. So when I buy a new car next year I will grab a 2017 Sonata limited so that I can have my sunroof again. I live in NJ I’ve had zero problems, noise or complaints about my sunroof.
I live in Phoenix area and I will say…if you love the sun, have a sunroof…its not hot. If you don’t like the sun or being hot, then don’t buy a vehicle with a sunroof! I have a panoramic sunroof, and I haven’t experienced any difference between summer and winter and having a panoramic sunroof. That is why we have air condition, to make our climate in vehicles more palatable!
Reduced structural integrity is the only good reason, probably not a good one, unless you drive like a maniac!
Reduced headroom is a major reason. I’m average height, and I nearly brush the sunshade in my Merc E class.
You also want to make sure you lubricate the moving parts with a silicon spray once a year.
That said, I love it, it’s very quiet at freeway speed to have it open. And when catching a movie at the drive in it’s fantastic to sit under the stars.
I have a Skoda Yeti with a panoramic sunroof, which is only closed when parked..I love having it open, at all speeds, during all seasons; the only thing that makes me keep it closed is pouring rain! I open it to release heat when parked during hot & sunny weather, & all of my passengers who don’t have a panoramic roof mention how quickly the hot air rises out of the car – in fact, I have the aircon on (the cool air stays low within the car), & still enjoy the sunshine without feeling the roast.
I have the roof open in winter to enjoy the sunshine & have the heater on – the warm air swirls around my feet to my shoulders & I still get to enjoy the ‘outdoor’ feeling.
If it sprinkles, I check the cow hide – if it gets drips that don’t dry pretty much straight away then I reluctantly close the gaping hole in my roof.
I make sure my Skoda dealer pays particular attention to the lube & drain cleaning requirements of my roof at each service, & I’ve hd no trouble at all.
I will never have a tin can again; always a glass view upwards to enjoy the tall buildings in the city and the beautiful grandiose treetops of the forests. So much better than all my other cars. I am an avid motorcyclist though, so being addicted to wind & weather is in my blood hahaha!
Really, there’s a car called a Yeti? LOVE IT!
I have a top-of-the-range 2013 Skoda Yeti 2L 125bhp diesel 4×4 tow car for my caravan and I love the large sunroof, the self-parking control and all the other bells/whistles. But tbh, the reason I’m here is that it has just developed a hard-to-find rattle which is seemingly coming from the sunroof, only when tilted up. It also started ‘growling’ when starting to side it back. I just hope it is repairable and at no cost to me! Sounds like lubricant is needed. So, it is a great car but caution is urged if having a car with Panasonic sunroof. I will try to update when dealer report is available.
Awesome! I am looking at them as well. I love the sun’s warmth and joyous qualities beyond the mere view. I am test driving mostly vehicles with this option/feature. Granted I live in the USA in a cold climate so 7 months out of the year the solar gain and brightness is a true bonus in my mind.
On the other hand, it will also get colder inside more quickly during winter due to the panel of glass than if it were a metal roof.
Well it depends on personal preferences, for me I can’t imagine the beauty of my Mercedes without the panoramic roof, it gives the car a looks and sexiness. Also it saves me on petrol because on a high way and urban drive I don’t open aircon, the sunroof bring in the cooler air with much lesser noise than when opened the windows. It terms of the risks of it gets faulty, I see no difference to it and the electric windows they can also be faulty. I don’t complain it terms of the sunlight when parked, if the blind is closed. In short I love my panoramic sunroof & if it gets faulty after my car is out of warranty, I don’t mind I will pay to get it fixed in Merc approved places to get it work properly.
Sorry to hear about your experience Patrick. I’m sure there are plenty of happy panoramic sunroof owners out there, but as you discovered, buying a vehicle with one does come with its fair share of risks. In your case I’d definitely look into taking the car to an alternative dealership or garage to see what they say, as the price you’ve been quoted is astronomical. If you can get it fixed cheaply and sell the car off you might get more money back than if you leave the gaffa tape on there. Good luck.
Funnily enough, after replying here i’ve started noticing a Mercedes-Benz ad appearing on websites I’ve been visiting, stating “Always request an authorised Mercedes-Benz repairer. Don’t compromise on safety.”
Your comments about panoramic car ceilings are to the point. Not regarding exactly what we are talking here, but my plan is to make one 12 seater Mercedes pick up van with total glass roof and windows. There are many hurdles to this project. The biggest problem is harsh weather, The temperatures sometimes gets down to -40. I am a physician and also run a “Business of Kindness.” This glass – top van is to be used for our residents to get them out of the confines of the building during the long winter months.
Please visit our website, and I would need your expertise to help me in this unique project.
Can a panoramic roof be removed, and a extendable roof put in its place, like on campervans.or would this make shell to weak
I doubt it would affect the shell strength but I don’t know how you’d do it. More trouble than it is worth, probably.
I agree wholeheartedly with Sean’s comments, and add that a used car warranty does NOT cover panoramic sunroofs. Why not? When they go wrong, they can go very seriously wrong. I recently bought a 2007 Mercedes A200 Elegance from a reputable non Mercedes used car dealer and paid top dollar. On the test drive I did not notice undue noise but several days after purchasing it I detected a whistling wind noise. The roof appeared fully closed so I dismissed the roof as the cause. However, on opening and closing the roof several times it did not close fully on the rear right hand side. I took it to a panel beater who detected the closing mechanism was broken. Then took it to a Mercedes dealer who inspected it and told me it probably needs replacing. The cost $13-14,000 parts only add probably 2 days lablour removing head lining, removing, and refitting, the end cost could be $18,000! This is why you do NOT buy a car with a sunroof especially a BMW or Mercedes, and more especially NOT in Australia. Over time the plastics used deteriorate and fail. What did I do? I disabled the opening controls, and will NOT use it again. I have gaffa taped lid and sealed it off. I turned the water hose on full bore and there were no leaks. The cost $5.60. HEED SEAN’S ADVICE.
DON’T BUY A CAR WITH A PANORAMIC SUN ROOF IF YOU ARE IN A HOT CLIMATE . YOU WILL REGRET IT. AND IT MAKES RESELLING YOUR CAR FOR A FAIR PRICE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE.
Just to clarify your comment , the sunroof in the A class and subsequentially the B class is a Lamella Style sunroof multi panel folding , the prices you quote are a as per most way out of context . The A class has multiple parts that break and can be replaced individually , now yes the roof has to be removed for most parts but two days labor ? give me a break . I have done many of both models and removing the lining is a ten minute job then removing the roof about thirty minutes . If its a B class yes Mercedes only sell the whole assembly as one part and yes its around $8600 plus a reseal kit $240 the whole swap can be done under 6 hours including cleaning up the opening for the new seal kit . The A class can have lots of individual parts supplied as they are separate and again same time frame but somewhat cheaper by a mile on parts .Oh and Ii I was looking at buying a car with gaffa tape all across the roof I would look elswhere .
So let’s summarise. Car dealers will almost always quote you an arm and a leg for sunroof repairs, and multiple parts can break – with ‘most parts’ requiring removal of the roof lining and the sunroof itself in order to replace.
This could almost be reason #7 on why to avoid a panoramic sunroof!