By on February 28, 2012


Back in 1994 I bought my first and only new car. A 1994 Toyota Camry. It wasn’t anything special. 4-cylinder with a slushbox. No spoiler or leather. Nothing even remotely as advanced as a CD player or a premium sound system. But it did have one luxurious affectation that few other vehicles of the middling variety had at the time. A sunroof.

In the beginning I used it all the way long day. Sunny day in Atlanta? Plenty of them here, and a sunroof was the icing on the proverbial cake of a nice day. Open it up. Let the fresh air in. Enjoy the drive when the traffic is good.

But then I started long-distance commuting. Then I got married. Then we had kids. Pretty soon that hole on the top of my car was used as often as my old hiking shoes. It was there when the moment was right. Those moments though would stretch to months and eventually a year and change.

This reminiscing got me to thinking about modern cars and the value of a sunroof today. Recently I test drove two vehicles that are direct competitors to each other. A Chevy Cruze LT with leather… but no roof.  And a Hyundai Elantra Limited with all the options which included a fairly small sunroof. About half way through driving the Elantra I realized something had finally turned in my vehicular taste buds. I no longer cared about having a sunroof.

Yes there are those panoramic dual sunroofs you may find in a Cadillac SRX, or even a skyroof that dates back to old Buick Roadmasters and beyond. Those several feet works of wonder offer a level of openness to the driving experience that make them a treat to drivers and passengers alike. But a 16″ x 36″ slit on top of a compact?  That’s another story.

So today’s dangling conversation is this. Are sunroofs worth it to you and when was the last time you used one?


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181 Comments on “When Was The Last Time You Used Your Sunroof?...”

  • avatar

    I despise sunroofs. They take up valuable helmet space, leak, rattle, and break. If I want to drive with the sun in my eyes, I’ll buy a Miata.

    “Short drivers suck.”
    – Hans Stuck

    • 0 avatar

      +1. At 6’6″, I need every bit of headroom I can get, and I’m not interested in paying extra for less of it.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 again, a sunroof is an automatic dealbreaker to me in any vehicle with less headroom than a fullsize truck.

        Which, ironically enough, are about the only vehicles that usually aren’t offered with a sunroof.

      • 0 avatar

        +2. At 6’8″ I also need every inch, and sunroofs are regrettably mandatory on too many cars and options packages. It’s especially frustrating to see them packaged with, eg, cruise control, ESC or something I’d otherwise deem as necessary.

        Thanks, but no.

      • 0 avatar

        -100. At 5’7 I point and laugh at tall people that cannot fit into small cars. Yes, one of my cars is a ’95 NA Miata and it has plenty of room for me. One time my coworker who is 6’4 got a ride with roof closed and I actually felt kind of sorry for him. :)

        Considering that taller guys statistically get higher salary, more attention from females, better jobs, etc than equally-qualified shorter guys I think it’s a small price to pay. I bet you wouldn’t want to become my height for any amount of money so man up, stop complaining and thank your lucky stars you’re that tall.

        Btw, when I was buying my WRX recently, I specifically got a Premium because it has a sunroof. Love it!

    • 0 avatar

      I’m with everyone else. I hate sunroofs. We had one in our old Jetta wagon and I never used it, and hated it whenever it was used.

      While I like an airy feeling cabin, I much prefer more glass and a lower beltline (with better visibility) to the recent pillboxes that include a sunroof as compensation for the meagre light.

    • 0 avatar

      They are great for hunting.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually, having owned 3 Miatas, I can tell you the Miata has almost no room for a helmet. And the top of the window frame is so low that you’ll have trouble seeing the stop lights. You won’t have trouble with the sun in your eye.

      Oh yeah- back to the topic at hand- I feel the same way about convertibles now. I have the hardtop permanently on my current Miata, and I no longer feel any need to ever take it off.

      • 0 avatar

        You can remove the stock seat mounts (spot welded in – so just drill them out) and put in a seat that you can adjust its position using a side mount bracket. Another issue with the Miata is the transmission tunnel impedes into the drivers space making the seat slight off center to the steering wheel. You can cut that out and weld in a straight piece that will give you more horizontal room to adjust the seat placement.

    • 0 avatar
      Volt 230

      Once I rented a car to drive from NY to Fla and back for vacation, it had a sunroof, first time I ever drove one, tried it for a few minutes starting the trip, could not take the noise or the heat or the sun, Did not use it again during the 2 weeks, Either too hot or rainy or bugs coming in, than as they get old you get the leaks and wind noise and all. Worthless option IMHO

    • 0 avatar

      At 5’10 1/2″, but with a long torso, I almost inevitably have a problem with sunroofs. I’ve never used one, because I’ve never had one.

      If it weren’t for taking up head space, it would be nice to get extra sun when I’m driving, though. I usually run at midday to get a good dose of sun, and it would be nice if I could get it while driving. But I don’t want a convertible.

    • 0 avatar

      The tall have so many other advantages in life that I just can’t feel bad that they don’t fit well with sunroofs, convertibles, or in airliner seats.

    • 0 avatar

      You can also buy a jeep. It’s like a Miata that can crawl over a Miata: same size, but taller and equally impractical.

  • avatar

    I use my sunroof almost daily. I like the extra light, even when closed, an extra fresh air without significant wind buffing.

    In my daily driver I am not too concerned with less headroom (it’s sufficient) or higher COG.

    • 0 avatar

      Ditto for me. I use it every day, in season for Michigan (which is any time the temp is 55 or higher). Never had one leak, ever. Headroom? Fine. COG? Well, let’s grasp at straws now.

    • 0 avatar
      George B

      I enjoy the extra light from the sunroof all winter long. In the summer I use the sunroof with shade mostly closed and glass tilted up along with windows open half an inch to vent out heat when the car is parked. However, I almost never open the sunroof in hole in the roof mode. Too much noise! Opening the roof would be pleasant driving slow on a country road, but I mostly drive slow in noisy urban areas or fast on the highway. A simpler, lighter roof window with a shade would be better for me than a full sunroof.

    • 0 avatar

      One of the options I miss the most in my current car is the Sunroof. It’s a “must have” for my next purchase.

      • 0 avatar

        I agree. I love sunroofs. My next car will have one. I’ve had them in the past. They aren’t any good on the interstate (noisy) but anytime the car is on a country highway or slower it’s really nice.

        Never had one leak but I can see why some folks would. Anytime I drove my inlaw’s Saturn Vue I’d hop in and open the sunroof. I only did that once or twice without first cleaning all the debris on top caught by the wind guard. Where they park, the angle the Vue sat at (nose down), etc always made it a slimy mess on top of the unused sunroof. Why buy a sunroof if you aren’t going to use it?

        Our next car will be a Jetta wagon TDI and I do like that huge glass roof.

    • 0 avatar

      My Veloster is the 3rd car I’ve had with a sunroof. Because the roof is all glass (there are support bars you can see from the inside, but are well hidden outside) it adds a bit of airiness to a pretty small interior. It’s also the largest sunroof I’ve had on a car.

      I had my roof open the whole way while driving around the city yesterday, mostly because it was above freezing and the car needed airing out after being basically closed up for a couple of months of winter. The seat heaters took care of any chills.

      In the summer, the extra venting it provides means the A/C gets used less frequently. As for the people complaining about the noise, it’s nothing compared to the 4/100 A/C I, and most people I know grew up with. (That’s 4 windows down, 100km/h, for the kiddies out there.) Besides, there’s a little mesh baffle that pops up when the roof is open that takes care of most of the wind buffeting on the highway.

      The only time I use the sliding cover is when it’s really cold (-15C or less) and I need to heat up the interior, or it’s really hot and I want to keep it cool.

      • 0 avatar

        Sunroof, every day. They’re like convertibles in that either you love or hate them, only a bit less so since you can choose to ignore a sunroof.

        190k miles on my RSX and the roof’s still fine. I live in CA though, and the roof frame will rust if exposed to constant wet weather.

    • 0 avatar

      Same here. I live in sunny, HOT Las Vegas, and cracking the roof is the only thing that makes the car bearable in the summer. Cracking the windows is not nearly as effective, and invites car theft.

    • 0 avatar

      My wife uses hers whenever it’s above freezing. She likes to park in the carport in case she forgets to close it.

      I drove her car to a mechanic on Monday. I opened the sunshade, but not the roof.

  • avatar

    Mr. Lang,
    My cars of the past 20 years have all had sunroofs. I get zero pleasure out of sunroofs. They do however, often squeak and leak. I’ve recently ordered a new JEEP. I could not get it without a panoramic roof. I’d actually pay $500.00 extra to delete the sunroof.

    I thought I was the only one who didn’t care about sunroofs.

  • avatar
    Bill Walker

    I use mine often. I like to pop up the back to help pull fresh air through the vents when the weather is nice. I rarely open it from the front.

    • 0 avatar

      This is what I like about having a sunroof – being able to tilt it open (rather than sliding it all the way open). Can drive at highway speeds without terrible noise/buffeting. When the car’s been sitting out in the sun, can vent some of that hot air without having the AC on max.

    • 0 avatar

      That was one of the many reasons I loved having a sunroof on my Cavalier – the blower motor resistor had partially burned out (common problem, I believe), so I could have the fan on full blast, or get a more gentle breeze from venting the sunroof. Easy choice (and I’m glad my fiancee’s Accent has a sunroof too).

  • avatar

    Totally accurate. When I was young, I loved mine. Now older, not so much. My commute is on fast highways, and having the roof open is just so much noise when I’m driving 80.

    • 0 avatar

      Oh dear, I’m 23 and think they are great. My dad (63) things they are worthless. Seems like a pattern.

      I moved from a Mazda 3 with a small but usable sunroof to an Outback sans the excellent multi-panel sunroof they were offered with. I miss it often. As a way to cool off without relying on A/C, and by sensibly letting the hot air out the top, sunroofs are great. The aforementioned noise and sounds? Not on any of the Japanese cars I’ve been in. Only time they make noise is when they are open, and its usually minimal.

  • avatar

    I love mine. The sunshade is always open. I also keep the glass in the vent position almost all the time (except when it’s raining or very cold). With a garage at home and the car visible to me from my office window, that’s the default position. On nice days, I open it all the way (even in the hot summertime — the a/c keeps me cool) — not while it’s parked though.

    But I must admit I really don’t notice it being open as I drive most of the time, as the opening is too far back for me to enjoy to the fullest (can’t be looking up to the sky while in motion at speed or in heavy traffic).

  • avatar

    I love my sunroof. My first car didn’t have one, but every car since has. I don’t care how much crap the purists on G8board give me because it slightly raises the center of gravity and slightly reduces rigidity. The light is worth it.

    I last opened it on Sunday, a beautiful if slightly chilly day here in DC. But I get pleasure from the extra light even when the sunroof is closed, including on the errands I ran earlier this morning.

    • 0 avatar

      That’s exactly how I used mine when I had it in my ’88 Honda Accord. When not actually open, the full shade was, most of the time to let in the light, especially here in Seattle when it’s gray and gloomy out all the time during the fall/winter months.

      But when warm enough to do so, I often had it fully open.

  • avatar

    My first car (’00 Jeep TJ) didn’t have air conditioning so I grew accustomed to driving with windows down. To this day I prefer that to running the AC. Now whenever the option presents itself I roll down the windows and open the sunroof.

    To me, sunroofs are most noticeable by their absence. Cars feel so dark without them. My daily driver is an ’06 Cayenne S loaded with everything but a sunroof. It drives me crazy not having one. Luckily my summer car is a ’91 911 Targa- the last body style with the fully removable roof. It more than makes up for the truck.

  • avatar

    My previous car had one, and much like you, I used it less and less. So on my current car, I went without one. But now I really miss it.

  • avatar

    I use the sunroof in my 9-5 all the time. I like the added air and light. At 90K, it doesn’t rattle or leak and has never broken. I’m slightly above average height (6 feet even) and, at least in the 9-5, have plenty of headroom. I don’t consider a sunroof a ‘must-have’, but I certainly enjoy them.

  • avatar

    I have no interest in a sunroof. They offer me zero benefit, and I honestly don’t understand why anyone would want one.

  • avatar

    Crazy as it sounds, I mainly use mine in the winter. My skin and sinuses are overly sensitive to heat and I prefer it cool, all year round, but not necessarily *cold*. On the typical ~40 degree morning, I run the interior temp at 63-65 degrees once the car is at full engine temp. Due to icing and condensation, I have to run some amount of heat in the winter, so thanks to beautiful physics, opening the moonroof lets that hot air out of the top of the car.

    In the summer, I’ll open it long enough to let the still heat blow out, then close it so the AC can do its job. $100 of my tax refund WILL go to window visors this spring so I don’t have to leave them shut all day.

    I like opening the cover at night and letting ambient light in. Daytime, hell no, I cannot stand sun in my eyes.

    I don’t think I’ll ever get another car without a sunroof… Cracking open the windows just isn’t the same, and it makes way too much noise at speed.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s not crazy. I love having the roof open on a winter’s day. Crank the heat, open the roof and enjoy what you can.

      Thursday nights I drive to band practice. That’s when I have the roof open. I’d really miss it if it weren’t there.

    • 0 avatar

      Not crazy. When I had a Mazda Protege I used the sunroof in fall and mild winter days more than summer. It was great for taking the edge of the heat.

      With the 540 I have now the climate control is excellent, so I almost never use the sunroof. Besides, every time I open it (or even the windows for that matter) I’m afraid that will be the time it doesn’t close again.

      Overall, I would rather remove the potential repair issue and take increased head room. Even at only 6′ I have to recline/lower seats a bit more than I would like for adequate head room.

  • avatar

    Car with sunroof > car without sunroof. Always.

  • avatar

    Love it! I’d never had a sunroof until my current car, save for a Honda Element with the rear sunroof. I did have a soft-top Wrangler for a while though.

    I’d guess I use it every day for light. I have the big pannoramic sunroof (Scion tC), and I don’t have it open all the time, but a fair amount of the time it’s either open or popped up. I do love having the light coming in, and leave the shades on the front and rear glass open all almost all the time.

    Given my family history of skin cancer, I probably shouldn’t have it open much, but the glass is UV shielded, so it should be pretty safe. I’m a native Floridian – I need the sun to be happy!

    I’ve gotten spoiled with this one – I’ll not be skipping the sunroof on future cars.

    Oh, and headroom? I don’t sit bolt-upright, but I’m also only 6’1.

  • avatar

    Steven, I live just up the road from Atlanta, and I can’t stand to have the sunroof open during warm weather because the sun is too hot. And almost every sunroof I have ever seen makes too much noise at highway speeds. The only vehicle I have had with a useable sunroof was a 1972 VW Vanagon. It had a huge sunroof. I could crank it back a little and open the front window, and all the buffeting at (what passed for) highway speeds disappeared. Since I had no AC, it was a necessity. But in every car since then, there is just too much noise from an open sunroof.

  • avatar

    I hate them. I’m 6’2” and I can’t tell you how many cars (mostly japanese) I’ve had to say no to cuz the stupid sunroof cuts all the headroom away. I did have one in my 88 Honda Prelude. It leaked and I never used it really. My wifes sonata has one and she never uses it.

    they’re a novelty that’s not worth it.

  • avatar

    Never use it. Don’t even know it’s there most of the time. Can easily live w/o it.

  • avatar

    I tilt-open my sunroof (actually, aren’t the glass ones called moonroofs?) probably 50% of the time I’m in my car: it’s free, cool, fresh air, so what’s not to like? I slide-open it just about any time I’m driving on surface roads in the country at night in the summer, so, a few times each weekend.

    Plus, there’s the memory of driving 80mph at about midnight on US34 across Colorado one night when I was in college, and had to drive from Boston to San Francisco because all of the flights had been cancelled after 9/11, with the sunroof open, hollering along to Glory Days at the top of our lungs. Don’t take that from me!

  • avatar

    You would think, living in the cold climate of Minnesota, that a sunroof would be superfluous. But, after having had three vehicles with them, I wouldn’t buy a car without one. (At least, a new car.)

    Most of the year, it’s just a big skylight — and that added light in the middle of winter is precious. But nothing beats the first warmish spring day when you can vent or open the roof — it’s like the arrival of a new world. The ones I’ve had haven’t leaked and, at about 5 foot 9 inches, I am in no danger of headroom issues.

    Give me the roof every time.

  • avatar

    Never had a sunroof leak on me and I used them every day it wasn’t raining or near freezing. Now I have a miata and have been driving home after work with the top down provided it isn’t raining or near freezing.

    Of course I also ride a motorcycle. Although in this case I have logged far too many miles in the rain and freezing temps :-)

    • 0 avatar

      Motorcyclist here too! That’s another factor – when you’ve gotten accustomed to feeling the wind, the car feels like a hermetically sealed… well, ‘cage!’

      Opening the sunroof (and opening the shade on the second sunroof that is fixed glass) gives me at least a feeling of open air. I’m totally digging the old-school whole roof canvas on the new Fiat 500s!

      • 0 avatar

        I also ride motorcycles and also love those Fiat 500 whole roof canvas tops. We have a VW Cabrio and I ride around with the top down at temps as low as 40F. Windows up, heat on high if needed and the world thinks I’m crazy.

  • avatar

    I won’t buy a car without a sunroof. Never had one leak, never had one fail, never had an issue with headroom (I’m 6’3″).
    I’ve never had an issue with extreme wind on a highway. If they leaked, and broke, I certainly would agree however.

    Don’t buy shitty cars.

  • avatar

    I love the light they let in – in cars I’ve had with them, it was always very rare that I would close the sunshade.

    But opening them is another story. Some cars were enjoyable with the roof open, but others I’ve driven were unbearable. While there’s a lot of mechanical skill that goes into creating a sunroof for a new car, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of testing done with driving cars while they’re open. Sometimes you can buy the aftermarket deflector to help with the buffeting, but I’d rather not put one of those on if I can help it.

    The best sunroof I had was on a Ford Edge with the panoramic roof. It was great open or closed. The worst was on a new Cadillac SRX – it sounded like a helicopter inside anywhere from 20-60 MPH.

    Now I’ve got a Kia Soul with no sunroof. I don’t really miss it, but would probably use it if I had one.

    • 0 avatar

      Something I read from the Fiat 500 owners manual (downloaded it since I don’t own one right now) is that if you get buffeting with the roof open, crack a window until the buffeting subsides, that is if I remember that right.

      But I’d also look into the visor, I had one and it came with the 88 Accord I once had and it really helps there and since my sunroof was a bit more forward than in many cars these days, that visor helped with the sun in my eyes to a great extent as it was a very dark tint when heading west and it’s low in the sky.

      These visors seem to be hard to find now though.

  • avatar
    Japanese Buick

    I’ve always had cars with sunroofs and almost never used them. I’ve actually started using my sunroof more in the wintertime, sort of… park the car in the sun and pull back the sunshade but leave the glass closed… on cold sunny days you come back to a car that’s pre-heated by the sun.

    However for the last 16 years I had a Miata for driving on really nice days. Now that the Miata is gone (totalled, sadly) I might use the sunroof in my LS400 more often.

    All that said, whether a car had a sunroof would have zero weight in a purchase decision. If it’s here I’ll use it but I wouldn’t pay extra for one. And being fairly tall, I would rather have the headroom in all but the biggest cars.

  • avatar

    Does a T-Top count? I stopped using mine about the 10th time I forgot to put them back in when it rained.

    That, and the 3 weeks around here where it’s tolerable between winter and summer isn’t long enough to make it worth it.

  • avatar

    Just purchased a 2004 SRX with the panoramic moonroof. Waiting for the warm weather to use it. Heard some horror stories about the glass cracking in cold weather, etc. But it looks sweet even when it’s closed.
    When I had my BMW 318ti, I used the sunroof all the time.
    I get Steve’s points, though. Sometimes, you just want close everything up and chill with climate control…

  • avatar

    All my cars have had a sun roof and (knock wood) I haven’t had one leak, squeek, rattle or leak, ever.

    As for using them, I love them because they make the car interior seem brighter and more open.

  • avatar

    Must. Have. Sunshine.

  • avatar

    I’ve owned a few cars with sunroofs. The only time I found myself using it was when it was about 40-50 degrees on a sunny day. Opening the roof would keep the cabin from getting too warm without using the A/C. I like them for that reason only.

    I specifically chose not to get a sunroof on the 3. That’s an extra 50# of weight at the highest point of the vehicle.

    Come to think of it, our Odyssey has a sunroof, but I don’t ever remember even having the sunshade open.

  • avatar

    Don’t like it either, I prefer not to have to worry about leaks and extra maintenance for it.

  • avatar

    Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day; I wish the battery hadn’t been dead in my convertible or I would have driven that with the top down.

  • avatar

    I consider the standard sunroof to be utterly optional, and I wouldn’t pay a nickel more for a car that had one as opposed to the same car that did not.

  • avatar

    It’s probably been about 8 months since I opened even the covers on my skylights. The covers have started to stick, the rear one (dual sunroofs on a Legacy GT Wagon) doesn’t open at all without the window itself being open. I used to have them open all the time, but hasn’t been worth the hassle recently. besides, I think I broke the mechanism on the forward one by opening it into my car-top carrier on my first real road trip. My previous ’89 740t had a hand-crank sunroof that was a blast to keep open all the time, especially after the AC went out.

    My next vehicle will not have (a) sunroof(s).

  • avatar

    My spouse really wanted a “sunroof” in her Highlander when we purchased it, because I had one in my Audi A4.

    In 7 years of ownership she opened it once and discovered it “messed up her hair” . We traded it for a used Lexus RX, the roof in that has never been opened either except for me to clean it when I wash it.

  • avatar

    I love having a sunroof and it’s something I look for when I buy a car. I have it open every day I can, even if it’s summer and the AC is on. Although, my teenage daughter doesn’t like it and always begs me to close it because the sun is in her eyes, it’s messing-up her hair, etc etc etc.

  • avatar

    It’s funny all the talk of leaks and maintenance. We’ve had sunroofs since the ’90s, and have never had a moments trouble or a single leak. We love them. Spring, Summer, Fall, it’s going to be open about 50% of the time. We never have the shade pulled, I like the open sky above.

    Not going back to cars without a sunroof. Period.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah, it’s funny how the folks who don’t like sunroofs list leaks and squeaks as a major factor, but those of us who have had multiple sunroofs don’t seem to have had any issues. I’ve had seven cars with sunroofs. Not one of them leaked. Not one of them rattled or squeaked. One had a flaky switch that needed replacement, but that’s more of an electrical issue than a sunroof issue.

      • 0 avatar

        My track record is exactly the same as yours: Seven, no leaks, no rattles, one flaky electrical issue that was fixed under warranty.

        I’m 6’2″ with a very long torso. I understand the headroom issue, but it’s never been a problem in the vehicles I’ve owned with sunroofs. In fact, with the sunshade open I’d argue that you might actually have MORE headroom.

        I used mine when I went out at lunch today, as we’ve been having an unusually mild winter. Unless I experience a severe financial setback, I can think of only two reasons why my future vehicles won’t have a sunroof: Either it’s a full convertible, or it’s a pickup (but even some of those can now be equipped with a sunroof).

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t like them and I’ve never had any leaks or trouble with switches of any kind. I also like to wear a hat, if that’s any help.

  • avatar

    I’ve never had a sunroof leak, but over the last 21 years and 10 cars, I’ve probably only used a sunroof 3-4 times. In fact, I cannot remember if my 2008 STI (which I only traded last April) even had a sunroof. Also, no sunroof isn’t always better. That my 2007 MS3 didn’t have one was easy to remember as the roof flexed terribly (expanding and contracting – up and down – in and out) when the windows were open even at 55 mph.

  • avatar

    I love me some sun! Granted, having a sunroof makes more sense here in Newport Beach than in Newport, RI, but in any case I won’t buy a vehicle without a sunroof or moonroof (which, despite the name, works perfectly well in sunlight). Also, there’s nothing quite like feeling the breeze blowing through my scalp.

  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Never owned a car with a sunroof and never been impressed with them. A few friends in high school and college had aftermarket sunroofs installed in their cars (always leaked). The only person I ever knew in my immediate family with one was my grandmother and her loaded 1978 Oldsmobile 98. My grandmother used it frequently but the electric motors that opperated it burned out like clockwork every 30,000 miles. At shortly after 90,000 miles when the motors burned out for the 3rd time she started looking for her next car.

  • avatar

    My story is the same as Steve’s. I got a Jetta TDI that had every option available for that trim level and the sunroof was just way cool! It got old very fast with my hour long commute every day, not to mention the hot Temecula Valley sun was way too hot to be beating down on me. I did use the vent setting pretty often though. I liked how the car looked with the popped up roof, like a spoiler.

    I tell people “I only use a sunroof if I fart with the heater on.”

    I also question the structural integrity of a roof with a hole cut in it. I’ve never seen side-crash footage on a vehicle with sunroof.

    • 0 avatar

      The sun roof shouldn’t be any worse for the rigidity than the windows or doors are, so I wouldn’t be too worried about crash-worthiness. Also, from the ones I’ve seen torn apart, the metal around the opening is thickened to make up for the loss of material.

  • avatar
    Matt Fink

    Every car I’ve owned the last 16 years has had one and I loved it. Always added a sunroof “guard” as well. It made it so the wind noise was so minimal you could have conversations driving on the highway with the sunroof open and actually hear each other. If it was a sunny day during the winter (rare in Columbus, OH), I’d have the heat on with the sunroof open. I do not have one now and greatly miss it. When I drive my wife’s CR-V (w/ sunroof), I noticed our kids don’t like the air blowing in their face in the backseat when it’s open, but do enjoy the light coming in with just the glass closed.

  • avatar

    As I was getting my annual removal of precancerous patches from my face done by my dermatologist, he told me that the overwhelming number of AKs that he removes come from the left side of his male patients’ faces. He attributes this to decades of exposure to sunlight streaming in form the driver’s side window. Therefore, I never use the sunroof in the various vehicles I have owned, even for illumination purposes. I just don’t need more sunlight exposure on my skin, particularly while driving a car.

    I’m 6’3″ and echo the responses above: sunroofs add weight up high, steal valuable headroom, and make huge amounts of unpleasant noise just inches from my ears. If you keep a car long enough, the sunroof seals will dry out, the drains will clog up, and you’ll get leaks. It’s happened to me on every car I’ve owned longer than five years, even when I never use the damn thing. The problem is that options packages on new cars make it quite difficult to delete a sunroof, so they become a necessary evil with the corresponding maintenance headache.

    • 0 avatar

      “I just don’t need more sunlight exposure on my skin, particularly while driving a car.” – Isn’t automotive glass UV resistant?

      • 0 avatar
        Matt Fink

        There are 3 types of UV light. UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C. UV-C is blocked by the OZONE so it doesn’t matter. UV-B causes both sunburn and can lead to skin cancer. UV-A does NOT cause sunburn but can lead to skin cancer. Car windows only block UV-B. So you can’t get sunburned through a car windshield, but you can get skin cancer.

  • avatar

    I fairly much consider a sunroof as a must have. Like others have mentioned, there is nothing like leaving the shade open in the winter and getting into a toasty car. My wife misses that in her convertible. I also pop it up instead of opening a window so that I don’t get blown out. Having had several different cars with sunroofs, I have found that the design of the both car and the sunroof itself have had a big impact on the amount of wind noise that comes in when the roof is open. Our best was a 2000 Accord that had an optinal plastic shield – it looked terrible but we could open the roof and neither noise or air currents were problems. I agree that we don’t use them much at highway speeds but around town – love it.

  • avatar

    I love the sunroof in my GTI. I use it every time I drive when the outside temp is above 55 degrees or so.

    Sometimes I even vent the car in the middle of winter with the heat turned up. It lets my feet warm up without suffocating everyone in the car.

    The only sunroof I ever had leak was in a Chevy Cavalier (high-school/college car). That stupid design had no drain tray/drain tube system. The only thing keeping out water was a gasket that needed to be replaced/re-glued annually.

    The dealer told me they way they really fixed those stupid GM designs was to cut a bigger hole in the roof and install an aftermarket unit with a drain tray and drain tubes.

    So, yeah, I love a sunroof, assuming it is properly engineered.


  • avatar

    I use mine alot. when the weathers nice, i put down all the windows, open the roof, its great! I bought a 4 door Golf cause the rear windows go down, the 2 door ones dont. Adds to the open experience. It leaked once, i had the drains cleaned. took 20 minutes. It recently stopped sliding open, it still pops up tho. It would piss me off, but the car is a 1995!

  • avatar

    How often do I use it?

    Whenever I won’t get wet, frostbit or fried by opening it. The inner, opaque shade, is almost always open.

  • avatar

    The sunroof is a must-have for me. I rarely open the glass, mainly because of wind noise, but I keep the shade open 99 times out of 100 to add extra light and perceived space within the cabin.

  • avatar

    I had a sunroof in my previous car and rarely used it. When I did, if I didn’t close it exactly right – it would leak, especially in a car wash. When I was shopping for my current car, a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan, I found that I could order it with either side airbags OR a sunroof, but not both. To my astonishment, all of the local dealers only ordered cars with sunroofs. I had to go 70 miles away to find one with side airbags.

  • avatar

    Had a first gen Probe with the flip up sun roof. Used it all the time. It allowed for the absolute perfect amount of ventilation, and it never leaked or rattled.

  • avatar

    Since my first sunroof in my Volvo 760 turbo (metal)All of my cars have had them. I wont buy a car without them. I use it every day no matter what the temp. (always open unless raining) My wife has the glass roof in her ES 350 and never even pulls the shade back. She says she just likes the look on the outside. Next car might be a Flex with multiple roofs. I have been wanting that for a while now.

    • 0 avatar

      by the way the 760s sunroof was so big I used to be able to drive and look out it at the same time as well as climb through it. Cant do that on many cars now days.

  • avatar

    When the weather is right and the hair doesn’t have to be tight, riding with the sunroof open is glorious. My best was the ’78 VW Bus, Champagne Edition. Huge, loads of fun on road trips, noisy, and TOTALLY flawed. PS: This is the best car site in the world.

  • avatar
    Robert Schwartz

    I live in Ohio. What is this sun that you are talking about?

  • avatar

    Two must haves on all future vehicles of mine – #1.) Sunroof and #2.) Leather seating. I wouldn’t ever go back to the dark claustrophic cabins of non-sunroof cars. Especially with the high beltline slits of side windows we have these days.

    The glass letting in sunlight is what I like the best but I do use the sunroof often to vent heat. Day and night difference between a car sitting in the hot sun w/out a roof vent. Don’t really open it up all that often, but it is really nice to have the option on a nice day when you’re “cruising.” I hate freeway driving in the city so heading down the blvd’s is a nice time to open it up and let some air in.

    I’m not sure where all this talk of leaking and squeaky sunroofs is coming from. Maybe the aftermarket ones that were popular in the 80’s, but I’ve never heard of a single drip or squeak coming from a modern factory installed sunroof. Ditto that for head room. You lose what…maybe an inch. The added light in the cabin gives the perception of more space than any minor headliner change wouldn’t cancel out. My Accord has lots of years and miles on it and the sunroof is flawless, like day one.

    • 0 avatar

      Right on…

      I have black leather seats and a sunroof. I won’t go back to cloth or a solid roof if I can avoid it.

      I too heard nothing but bad things from others about the problems of sunroofs, usually from those who don’t have them, or haven’t had them in years. I hear the aftermarket ones are prone to leaking, but neither I nor any friends who have them have had any issues. I wonder if the shoddy construction common on domestics in the 80’s has something to do with it…

      I also heard all about how miserably hot the sunroof/black leather seat combo would be in the summer, but the fears turned out to be overblown (note that I live in San Antonio… if it’s ok here, it’s OK anywhere!)

      ALSO: Does anyone know where you can purchase a quality visor-shade for the sunroof? I’d need an extremely wide one for my Scion, since the entire roof panel slides back, not just a little rounded port-hole. My only complaint about mine is that the pop-up deflector stops the awful “blowing across a bottle top” reverb, but adds a great deal of its own noise.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert Schwartz

      Black leather seats. I love to burn my butt in the summer time.

  • avatar

    I live in New England and probably use my sunroof a dozen times a year, max. But I love it anyway, wouldn’t want to be without it, and my next car will have one too.

  • avatar

    I’ve been without it almost a year in my current ride, Since it has a great climate control, it’s not a problem–but when I had my W123 300D, I used it all the time, especially in the summer, because the A/C was not functioning.

    Best use of it was driving north SR17 near the Coleman exit past San Jose International, I’d open it and time my pasage thru that section just as a plene was landing. Great way to start the day.

    I used to leave it open and crack the right rear window about 3″. No buffeting, great airflow and minimal noise intrusion due to its flip-up air deflector.

    It’s not mandatory on my next car, but having working AC helps a lot.

  • avatar

    The only sunroofs I’ve ever had were on some of my ‘picked up for $200 at the auction’ beaters. As all of these cars were either late 80’s or early 90’s cheapo-mobiles, they were all hand crank affairs (one was electric – but that didn’t work at all). On pretty much every one of them the mechanism was so gunked up with crappy old oil, leaves and other detritus that cranking the handle was a major effort and would sometimes require the use of both hands just to get the damn thing to open or close. Needless to say, driving down the road with both hands off the wheel is a bad idea, so my usage of these crappy old sunroofs was severely limited.
    That, and being English, my skin is as pale and white as a sheet of printer paper, and the slightest exposure to sunlight tends to turn me a shade of beetroot red.

  • avatar

    Last two newer cars I had came with a sun-roof. They were bought on the barely-used market; it wasn’t anything I was looking for, it just eneded up that way.

    I can easily live without them, but they are nice to have. I especially like the “vent” option and that gets used frequently. On my Liberty and on nice days I’ll pop the back hatch-glass open and open the sun roof (which is also required to keep the diesel soot from back-drafting into the passenger area).

    Still nothing beats my old CJ7; top off, doors off, and windshield folded down.

    Our new Mustang we got doesn’t have one, nor do I think you can even get one in it. I do really like the glass-roof option, and would of gone for it against all better judgement if it would of fit into our budget.

  • avatar
    gator marco

    Never personally owned a car with a sunroof. My daughter got a sunroof in her car recently, because the options package with the fancy radio required a sunroof.
    She has only opened it when she shows someone the car, and then closes it right back up. I don’t believe that she has ever had the sunroof open when the vehicle is in motion.
    Here in Florida, the only time you open your windows is to stop and pay a toll.
    A convertible is only handy twice a year: mid-February before it gets too hot, or 4th of July for a parade.

  • avatar

    About 20 minutes ago. Sunny and 37f here in scenic Warren today.

  • avatar

    Must have for me, love the light coming through and opening it on a nice day which is pretty often in Also tilting the moonroof is a quiet alternative to cracking the window. I think it’s a nice middle ground between a convertible and a solid roof.

  • avatar

    I bought a used 2002 Golf GLS with a sunroof last summer. I’ve never had a car with a sunroof before. I always thought having a sunroof would be pretty awesome. But now that I have a car that has a sunroof, I’ve discovered that there’s really no point to it. It is kind of neat to open up the trim panel and see the sky when the car is parked, but when it’s too hot out I’m normally driving with the A/C on and the trim panel closed so I don’t get a head-burn.

    The only time I used it last year was the fall, and this year I can only see a use for it in the spring and fall. I definitely won’t buy a car in the future just because it has one. I didn’t this time around either, it was just an added perceived bonus that the Golf TDI I found had one that hasn’t turned out to be all that useful!

  • avatar

    Always like the full-on factory installed sunroof/moonroof, whatever you wanna call it. I’m always impressed with the dial control found in my 2000 Passat. Easy to operate without taking your eyes of the road. I don’t know why all carmakers don’t use this dial instead of the toggle switch. And the vent mode is very effective while the car is parked all day.

  • avatar

    My God! People totally don’t understand the purpose of the sunroof. It is NOT for a romantic evening out stargazing with your honey. That’s for advertising purposes only. The real purpose of a sunroof is so that you could crack it open a few inches when you park under a hot sun, and leave the windows open an inch. The hot air will escape out the sunroof and the cool air will come in through the windows. THAT is the real purpose of the sunroof. As such, the sunroof is absolutely useful.

  • avatar

    I always had cars with sunroofs. My current car, a Mustang GT, has the fixed panoramic glass roof which doesn’t open, but has a sunshade if needed (however its seldom used). Its a fantastic feeling and I don’t miss not being able to open it.

  • avatar

    I accidentally got one (factory) when I bought my ’03 Town Car, and I’m surprised at how often I use it in the warm months. I had a bad impression of the things from what people had said, but this one has been tight and trouble-free. I suspect that aftermarket installs account for a lot of the horror stories. I’m over 6′, but the TC has ample headroom for me even with the roof. I wouldn’t consider it a must-have in future cars, but I’d definitely be interested in having another one.

  • avatar

    Only occasionally use mine although most of my cars have had them. Recently rented a Peugot 305 wagon in Scotland. It had an incredible full length panoramic glass roof with sun shades front and rear. Really opened the car up… gave the car the open feeling of a convertible. Much better than a “sunroof” for me. BTW loved this little diesel Peugot… looked good, handled well, comfy seats, roomy and nearly 40 mpg avg with 4 adults any luggage.

  • avatar

    I’m on both sides of the fence:

    At 6’7″ I need all the headroom I can get, and the loss of room with a sunroof crosses most such vehicles off the list.

    That said, the panoramic sunroof on the new Grand Cherokee hardly cost any headroom at all. (the regular sunroof was much worse for this, so it had to be the panoramic one). I use it every day for light, and often for air. The only time I’ve ever closed th blind was while driving through Oklahoma in the summer with a bad hangover. I’ll admit that was probably self-inflicted, though.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    I use my sunroof almost everyday during the spring and summer. Not open, just vented. It gives my car a sleek sporty look from the outside, and vents just the right amount of air to keep my cabin comfortable. If I have my sunroof closed, it’s only during the fall and winter, and even then, I never slide the little cover over it, I like the extra interior lighting. I see everyone here hating on sunroofs, I’m 5′ 10″ drive a tiny Cavalier, and love my sunroof.

  • avatar

    I love sunroofs! Though I rarely have them open (too noisy), I usually open the shade so sunrays can come in and warmed up the inside, very nice in long Minnesota winter, especially since my car then, the Nissan Maxima, has very poor heating. The full length panoramic mirrors in some of today’s cars would be totally awesome!

    Of course I can imagine this would be of little use in hotter climates like Southern California or Texas or Georgia. And what was used to be called “sunroof”, i.e. the openable solid metal pieces, seem totally pointless for my purposes. The glass one used to be called moonroof to differentiate it from sunroofs, back when they were common. I think they’re all but extinct now.

    Oh, and I am not very tall either. I remember helping a tall friend shop for a car, and he avoided sunroofs like a plague.

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    Had it on a 2001 neon. Opened it about once a week, always liked to have the sunshade open though. The added light is great!

    However a gear stripped after 2 years and the dealership said there is no parts available and whole assembly needs to be purchased and it would be $1,000+. OUCH. We pushed the glass back in and never opened it again.

    Wouldn’t mind having a fixed panoramic roof though. just (plexi)glass and reinforcement beams.

  • avatar

    Me? I have no use for one. My 2004 Impala is exactly as I would have ordered it, color and all. It doesn’t have a sun/moon roof. Our CR-V? Yes. It is an EX model and does have one, which wifey loves. She always has it open, which, with all windows down, makes for a lot of air coming through. Driving around town, it’s great. On the highway, no sir!

    Why, you might say, don’t I like them, even tho’ I’m a convertible person? In the CR-V it is OK, but in a car, I wear a hat and I want the headroom.

    One annoying fact about the hole in the roof: The sun always seems to be in a position where it’s hitting my eyes and I’m not wearing my trademark fedora. With just a ball cap on, it kills my eyes, so I have to close it during the day.

    Truth be told, I’d pay the cost of a sun/moon roof if I could option roll-down rear windows on a coupe! Now THAT would be worth the money to me!

  • avatar

    I love having glass sunroofs. I almost always have the shade open except on clear days when the sun is directly overhead and glaring into the cabin.

  • avatar

    Just used mine today – 74F in NC. I’ll use it in the summer to vent the interior while parked, and when driving when it’s warm but not A/C weather yet. The V70 has a power moonroof, so I like to open the rear edge – you get a nice breeze and it’s not too loud. Fully open it’s a little noisy but not much buffetting. No leaks either after 12 yrs.
    This Volvo used to be my Dad’s, and at 6’5″ he avoided sunroofs like the plague. I guess the moonroof in the Volvo doesn’t impinge on the headroom that much, but I’m not sure if he deliberately got it or it came in the SE package.
    It’s also nice in the winter to get some solar heating into the car.

    I like it, but I’m not sure I’d get one on a new car if I had to pay for it.

  • avatar
    Mark MacInnis

    My first car with a sunroof was a 92 Accord EX Wagon. Bought the car BECAUSE it had the sunroof. Since then, ALL my cars have sunroofs, or they aren’t my cars…..last 3 over the past 13 years.

    All you haters out there, mine have never leaked, never cracked, never rusted. They are a little slice of heaven on all but the hottest and coldest days of the year. Nothing like opening up the top to soak in the first rays and fresh air of spring….

    Convertibles are impractical, but a well-done sunroof is a joy forever…..

    So, my conclusion is: the world contains two-types of people: sunroof people, and the rest of you.

    P.S. when I had my Honda wagon, I also completely rebuilty my house. Nothing like expanding a wagon’s ability to hall lumber or plumbing or whatnot by simply OPENING THE ROOF….

    Haters hate on, we of the sunroof persuastion simply know how to enjoy life better!

  • avatar

    I’ve had sunroofs in my past four cars, but only because the initial owners ordered them that way. Despite being VW-AG products, they’ve all actually been relatively reliable as well. The current one in my 16 year-old Jetta still opens and closes perfectly, and none of them have ever leaked. It’s also on the smaller side and not particularly noisy.

    That being said, a sunroof is just one more complicated motorized bit on the car that will fail eventually. I keep the shade open fairly often, but find I rarely open the thing unless I’m trying to vent the car while parked. I also have an old convertible I keep around for the rare sunny days here.

    Given that a sunroof runs a minimum of $1,000 extra, I can say for sure that I would never get one on a new car. It reminds me of something my dad said when I tried to get him to order the sunroof on an Audi back in the day: “$1,000? I’ve already had to have the dermatologist remove cancerous lesions from my face! I’m not going to pay $1,000 for them to come back!” He now drives a convertible.

  • avatar

    I love sunroofs and moonroofs! By the way, the metal kind is a sunroof, and the glass kind is a moonroof (also known as Astroroof on older GM cars. I love that name — sounds as if it will open your view up to outer space!) I have noticed how most people leave the shades closed ALL the time, but I use mine frequently, even if it’s with glass closed and shade open for light. It adds such a feel of openness to the car. Also helps you see tall buildings and other things above you! I guess I’m in the minority here, because it puzzles me how some cars (mostly American) will come loaded with options but no sunroof. To me, that’s like leaving out the power windows. One more thing, I have a hunch that sunroofs get arthritic when not used frequently, so the people who don’t like them and never use them are the same ones who have leaking/sticking problems. I’ve never had any trouble with one (knock on wood.)

  • avatar

    I’ve had a couple cars with sunroofs and loved them. I’d drive around most of the summer with them open and I’d have the back windows open at the same time. This way I could avoid having my driver’s window open. The buffeting from the wind hurts my head(sensitive ears). My current car doesn’t have one.

    Not a necessity, but I won’t turn down a car that had one. I guess it helps that I’m of average height 5′ 8.5″.

  • avatar

    I love having a sunroof. when I owned my Mustang, it was something i missed. my truck has it, and when it’s warm out i love it. it also has a speed-sensitive mechanism that changes the pitch of the deflector and it’s effective against too much buffeting and noise. My truck also has something unique, a roll down tailgate window. so in the summer, i’ll open all 4 windows, the roof and the rear. kinda great in a truck!

    But also I use it to vent on cooler days when I want fresh air. Bring back the triangular vent windows and I could live without a sunroof, maybe

  • avatar

    My sunroofs:

    The Good: 1985 Jaguar XJ6. Once the AC died, with the insane heat from the cat converter channeled into the passenger compartment via the metal ashtrays in the center console, the sunroof was a godsend. Even after 25 years it worked flawlessly, and you can open it at speed with very little noise. God knows Jaguar did a lot of things wrong, but the things they did right were superb.

    The Bad: Honda Element, with the sunroof over the cargo area. I do use it in the summer to vent excess heat, and in the winter the extra sunlight through the glass is appreciated, but I could live without it.

  • avatar

    I used mine several times this weekend. I can keep the AC off longer with it cracked.

    My Cayman had no sunroof and on nice, cool days I missed it. The one in my E30 is busted, and I miss that too.

  • avatar

    Back when I had my ’06 Forester with the soccer stadium sized sunroof, I’d use it all the damn time.

    Even in the coldest days of winter I’d use it. I’d set the heat to “face melt” and turn the seat heaters on and open the sunroof all the way. It was a fantastic way to almost enjoy winter. If you were going fast enough, you could keep the sunroof open, even whilst snow was coming down as the car would create a positive air bubble above the sunroof, not allowing snow to enter the cabin if forward momentum continued.

    I have one in my beater Legacy, but one of the pins in the guide rail thingys broke rendering it useless, but I still keep the shade cover open, so I can at least look out towards the gloomy Midwestern sky.

  • avatar

    I’m lucky enough to live in the south so I’ve used mine several times this week already. To me they are essential equipment as the light they let in brightens up any car interior.

  • avatar

    I “use” the sunroof on my Golf all the time, if “use” is defined to include cursing at it when it opens and closes on its own during snowstorms.

  • avatar

    Good topic, I have never had one and would have refused to buy a car with one. I still dont want one but after hearing the response I probably would not turn down a deal just because of the S.R.

  • avatar

    Had five cars so far.

    Volvo 854 base: no sunroof
    VW Jetta 2.5: base, no sunroof
    88 Saab 900 SPG: electric metal sunroof, no tilt
    07 Accord EX: Electric glass sunroof with shade and tilt
    97 BMW 328i: electric metal sunroof with tilt

    I think the glass & tilt is the best one. The tilt-up option is great in the summer, leave your car parked on a hot day with it popped and the windows up, it helps cut down on heat build up so you don’t bake when you get in. I prefer the glass roofs for letting light in without wind and rain, but I’m still glad my E36 has one anyway.

    I use mine all the time. My car has 175k on it and the roof motor is original, it doesn’t leak or rattle, I don’t see the problem. You do need to occasionally clean out the water drains on them to avoid rust issues, but that’s not a big deal at all to me. When it’s nice and sunny I’ll open it all the way, when i’m driving on the highway at night I’ll open it and turn the heat up for better air circulation, etc. Love sunroofs.

    I’m 6’2″ and none of these sunroofs gave me a headroom issue. But I’m mostly legs. There are some japanese cars where it cuts in, though.

  • avatar

    Sunroof is a must have for me. Love the extra light in the winter and ventilation when its not really AC weather. I’m 6’2″ but then head space just depends on the car. Have a 5 and 2 year old and they are fine with it. Even have it open on the Freeway.

    As to leaking. I did not see that anyone commented on the reality of this. Roofs that slide always leak a bit by design, they have gutters that drain the water away. If they are leaking into the cabin it is because the drains are clogged. Old add on sunroofs that just flip up have need of active sealing so if they leak they really leak. Basically, get over your 1980’s JC Whitney mentality about sunroofs…you like the extra light and or air or you don’t.

  • avatar
    Speed Spaniel

    I like having a glass roof just for the sense of airiness it provides. All of the cars I have purchased have come with one anyway – I don’t think I would pay extra as a sole option. I have a VW CC and it only pops up 3 inches or so and doesn’t slide back, but that’s okay. 99% of my driving is highway and I don’t like the wind roar. My 1987 CRX Si had an interesting sunroof. It was a solid panel that actually slid and sat back on the roof. In 24 years and 12 cars with sun/moonroofs I have never experienced any issues with one.

  • avatar

    I used my sunroof today, any day it’s nice out. If your tall enough like me your hair gets breeze as your driving down the road.

  • avatar

    I open the sunroof on my A4 once a year to make sure it works. I have nothing against them, just no real use for them.

    I am however looking forward to using the Panaramic Sunroof on my 2012 Q7, it is probably as close to a convertible as I will ever get.

  • avatar

    Ford EXP – no sunroof
    Ford Tempo GL Sport coupe – added sunroof
    Ford Escort coupe – no sunroof
    Ford Probe – sunroof
    Porsche 944-S2 – metal roof
    Subaru Legacy – no sunroof
    Chevy S-10 Blazer – no sunroof
    Ford Thunderbird LX – sunroof
    Pontiac Montana – no sunroof (yes I was a glutton for punishment)
    Chevy Avalanche Z71 – sunroof
    Pontiac Grand Prix GT – sunroof
    Nissan Altima – sunroof
    Pontiac G8 GT – sunroof

    Never had one break. Never had one leak. I had the old school you need to remove a piece of glass and strap it down, “innies” that take up headroom and “outies” that open up over the roof of the car.

    The Ford Probe probably had the best sunroof of all the cars I’ve owned. The factory sunroof was giant, borderline a targa top. When opened to vent it did just that, “vent,” and not with a lot of wind noise drama, buffeting, or sucking ice cold air into the cabin on a winter day. I used that sunroof almost year round, with it out in the summer months and with it to the vent position in the winter. Even in pouring rain on vent water did not “carry” back into the cabin.

    I would say a sunroof is a must have in a Chevy Avalanche. Remove the back window, roll down the windows open the sunroof and it is a great experience on a summer day. If there are two people do all that, plus drop the midgate, remove the cargo covers and remove the tailgate and you’ve got an almost wide open cab al a Ford Bronco with the back top removed – no surgery or bolt removal required.

    My S.O. has a sunroof in her Altima, but she doesn’t use it much. Complains a lot if I open the roof on it or the G8 about sun on her head etc. etc. etc.

    I do find the older I’ve gotten the less having a sunroof holds appeal for me.

    Worth it? On most cars its around a $1,000 option (give or take) so you’re talking about adding $13 to $17 a month on a 5 year loan. Definitely could spend money otherwise.

    A sunroof with or without isn’t a big deal breaker for me at the end of the day, I can go either way. If I didn’t live in a location where it is cloudy 300 days a year, I’d probably feel differently.

  • avatar

    Every day.

    Maybe less if I lived in a foul weather area, but California & sunroof go together.

    Having it open also triggers the transition lenses in my specs.

  • avatar

    It’s like a bottomless trash can.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    I’m 6′ 4″ and I remember in the 1980s looking all over for an Audi 5000 that did not have a sunroof — so I could have enough headroom. I found one . . . in chocolate brown. Looked like a German Army staff car; with the diesel engine, it sounded like one, too.

    First car I owned with a sunroof was my ’02 Saab wagon. After the novelty wore off, we didn’t find ourselves using it much. The Honda Pilot we now own also has a sun roof . . . and we don’t use it much except to keep the car cool when parked.

    As the owner of a Z3 roadster, I would have to say that a sunroof is not a substitute for a true convertible.

    I have never had any problems with leaks or with the mechanism working. Recent cars with sunroofs seemed to have solve the headroom problem, one way or the other.

    It’s not a must-have thing for me.

  • avatar

    Every car I have ever purchased (98 Cherokee, 02 Jetta, 06 Mazda 3, 06 Passat GLS) have had sunroofs. It’s a must have for me on a car. Nothing like rolling all the windows down and opening the sunroof on that first warm day of spring.

    Use it on those mid winter days when the temps get around 55-60 (a lot this winter in Boston!!)

    Also great to keep the car cooler in the summer while parked. close the shade, tilt it up.

    Much like a top of the line audio system its a must have for me in a car.

  • avatar

    My shade is always open. The sunroof itself, never. I don’t like the noise, heat, glare, or UV of direct sunlight.

    I’d be very happy with a large glass roof if I could control the tint.

  • avatar

    Reasons why we don’t have sunroofs on any car we own:

    1. The wife loves her long hair and will be damned if any roof or window messes it up.
    2. Work truck and sunroof tend to be mutually exclusive.
    3. I like solid steel, not glass, over my head on any vehicle I take on serious off road trails.

  • avatar

    I’ve had a sunroof in almost every car I’ve owned, culminating with my current ride, an E-Class Bluetec with a Panoramic roof. I’ve enjoyed them all, and especially this one. If it’s above 40 degrees and sunny, I have it open with the heat and seat warmers on. I’ll keep it open up until I have to drive around 70+, and then the wind noise outweighs the fun. I’ll never buy a car without one.

    That being said, my current panoramic roof’s sunshade’s rattle very softly at low speed when open, which is a common problem I haven’t felt compelled to pay to fix.

    I should mention that I’m 6″1, and have never had a problem with them, but I’ve always driven (mostly old) mercedes, which have plenty of headroom for people my size. If you put the seats down a bit, you have a few inches clearance, and I had even more in my old 126s.

  • avatar

    I have a massive moonroof in the MPV, love it. I mostly use it as a skylight, the interior feels very airy. In the summer when the car is parked outside at work(and there’s no rain in the forecast), I leave the moonroof cracked open with the visor pulled almost closed, hot air vents out of the car throughout the day. In the winter when I haul a christmas tree home or in the summer when I’m carrying a canoe on the roof, the moonroof can be used to calm my paranoia of my rooftop cargo shifting or falling off.

  • avatar

    I have a sunroof in my BMW 330i, and I use it all the time. As long as I’m going less than 60 mph, and its not raining, below 60ish, or above 80ish (a good part of the year down here in Fl, I have it open. Usually it gets opened more during driving then my windows.

  • avatar

    If I had a sunroof now, I’d be using it when it was pleasant out – and in the early morings/evenings when it’s cooler, nothing better than sliding it open all the way to let the fresh air in. Sadly, I don’t.

    My 1988 Honda Accord had one, a glass one at that and I had NO issues with it, other than the rear drains got blocked, twice, two $70 repairs fixed them and they never leaked again and no, they didn’t happen right after each other, the first clean out lasted 2 years before needing again, but they never leaked after that though.

    I used it often, sliding it open and for the wind issue, I had a rare option, a wind deflector that you mount to the front edge of the sunroof and stays on there permanently, open or closed and it deflects the wind from the sunroof, letting it flow over it so no wind buffeting. At that time, Honda didn’t have a vent position on them but I’m sure they do now and it would’ve been nice to have it in vent open at times.

    The last issue was water caused. After I got rear ended, water began to leak inside the car itself and it affected the electric door locks as a CPU appeared to have been mounted under the passenger seat and got wet, and it eventually affected the sunroof too. It opened, but would not close so had to get out the crank and hand crank it closed. never used it after that, but it was January 2006 and I replaced the sad car a month later as it got too cold to open (Puget Sound can have the occasional mild day in January and February where one can slide open the roof, even if the heat has to be on).

    My current ride doesn’t have one, but if I’d ordered it new, I’d have optioned it out with one. Sadly, I just bought it several weeks ago used.

  • avatar

    I always wanted a sunroof, from the day my aunt came by to show three-old-me her new 1989 Accord. LX-i. Unfortunately, my dad has always been too cheap to buy a car with one and since my first couple of cars were hand-me-down, it took me almost twenty years to finally get one.

    I eventually bought a Toyota with a sunroof, which I used any time it was over 50 degrees and not raining. Unfortunately, it was an aftermarket unit, so while it slid open, it didn’t open very far or retract in to the roof. It also didn’t have an opaque shade, just a flimsy screen that didn’t like to stay closed, making the leather interior that much hotter in the summer. So, all in all, it kinda sucked. Lots of wind noise and I wasn’t too confident about how well it would hold up over time.

    I replaced that vehicle with a Mustang that wasn’t available with a sunroof (I don’t count the glass roof, I wasn’t paying two grand for a non-functional panel that would have made my black/black car even hotter), and I really missed it. I didn’t keep the Mustang very long and the lack of a sunroof was one of the reasons I wasn’t too sad to see it go. The winter beater that became my primary car for the last six months didn’t have one either, and was one of the major reasons I couldn’t wait to get rid of it (after the gutless, soul-sucking four speed automatic).

    I took delivery of my brand new car a week and a half ago. For the first time, it’s optioned exactly the way I wanted it. Manual transmission, “leather” upholstery, seat heaters, auto climate control, premium audio, my preferred colors and wheel design, and, yes, a sunroof. A factory sunroof that fully retracts, has a real cover and is controlled by VW’s awesome selector knob. Fortunately it’s been unseasonably warm here in the Midwest, so leaving the sunroof open has been very pleasant. However, if it was 20 degrees out the day I brought the car home, I probably still would have had it open, just because.

    A sunroof and stick shift are deal-breakers for me from now on. I’d probably settle for a car without one or the other, but never again will I spend money on a car without either.

    I am a little disappointed I’ve never owned a car with pop-up headlights like that Accord, though. Someday…

  • avatar
    johnny ro

    My newish A4 opened itself up one day, all by itself sitting there in the parking lot, and then it rained lightly. Seats wet upon return to car. Dealer did not believe me. They did perform a procedure and found the stop switches needed service, with a technical bulletin on the topic.

    The sunroof in my 1968 Beetle was awesome. It was far enough forward in the car that I could see out of it with peripheral vision. Not much metal between it and windshield. On the Audi I have to crank my head back to look up out of it.

    Still its welcome on the Audi. Every few weeks I remember it and open it up. Summer, open roof and right rear window for a tornado of wind in the car

  • avatar

    I should say that my best friend has a 2001 Ford F-150 Lariat crew cab 4×4 pickup with canopy and yes, it has the gray leather interior, 6 CD changer and the moonroof and what does he do? Every time we get in it at least, he’s reaching for the sunroof button when not actually raining. :-)

    That said, he’s used it on all cars he’s had except for one, his 1977 base Rabbit that he bought used back in the late 80’s and the only reason was the crank mechanism was stripped out so it remained shut but didn’t leak though that I know of.

    His parents once has a ’77 Buick Regal and it had the metal sliding sunroof and it worked just fine, I think all the way until they sold it, sometime in the mid to late 80’s. He’s had other cars with sunroofs, such as his 1980 SAAB 900 turbo, a 95 Volvo 750, I think it was wagon (with leather no less) and they were OFTEN open in vent mode, if not fully open (more often than not, fully open when not raining). As far as I know, he never had any issues with them, except for the Rabbit and they were ALL at least 8-10 years old when he got them and had well over 150K miles on them too.

    Two stories with sunroofs.

    First one was with my ’88 Accord, 2002, driving down I-5 from Tacoma to LA to look for work, staying with friends, the AC didn’t work so had that thing open much of the trip except in the very middle of the day as it kept the sun out. Finally, driving through the San Joaquin Valley, easily upper 80’s to low 90’s, driving between 80-100mph, sun blazing in, I finally had to close it AND the shade to keep the heat out and it actually cooled off in there a few degrees. Yes, I had he rear windows cracked for additional ventilation.

    And while living with friends in LA, Jim had at the time a 1995 Honda Del-Sol with the targa roof that he’d bought new in Long Beach and one evening, we packed an overnight bag, hopped in the car and before we took off, took off the roof, stored it in the trunk and hopped onto the 405 freeway, SB and drove it down the freeway, roof off, music playing on the tape deck and drove all the way to San Diego for gay pride that was the following day. It was fantastic. I think we arrived at a friend/former roommate of his by 11pm.

    So yeah, I’d definitely have one if at all possible in my next car.

    • 0 avatar

      I traded for a ’91 Hyundai Excel. The car had zero options (no air even) but it had an electric sunroof. I love pedestrian cars – Beetles, 60s/70s/80s Fiats, 2CV, Renault, etc and drove just about everything when I lived in Italy. Despite an affection for cheap cars I hated that Excel. I still can’t put my finger on why but I loved that sunroof. It worked perfectly and did not leak. If I was in that car, the sunroof was open except during downpours.

      When we purchased our new CR-V in 1999 we bought the EX AWD 5 speed manual but we couldn’t get a 6th gear or a sunroof. Pity. Those two would have made the car perfect for our needs. 230K miles later we still love it and it continues to be a great little CUV/wagon/car.

      On a different note, we saw the limitations of the AWD yesterday while touring around the TN tornado damage to show our kids what the storms were capable of. With open diffs, we got the car stuck when I put one wheel into a ditch while turning around. Still it climbed out once I stood on the rear bumper to get the driver’s rear tire back on the ground. LOL! No drama. Just needed both rear wheels on the ground to motivate out of the ditch. It’s never gotten stuck despite snow, mud, etc. If i couldn’t go forward, we backed out of trouble.

  • avatar
    car follower

    I hope many executives in the car industry have read this story. In the U.S. GM makes sunroofs a mandatory option but in Canada it can be deleted and most people who order a car don’t want it. A small town Cadillac dealer very seldom ordered a Cadillac for inventory with a sun roof but the City dealers brought their in with sunroofs. Needless to say the small town dealer ate the city dealers lunch.
    He realized that the Cadillac buyer (60 to deceased) doesn’t want this item.
    If someone like Reuss, Sir Sergio, Mullaly or Krafcaheck at Hyundai are readers of this web site they just might rethink sunroofs.

    • 0 avatar

      Huh? A mandatory option? When I was looking for a G8 I wanted a sunroof and they were near impossible to find. You can buy plenty of GM products sitting on dealer lots with no sunroof, even though its an available option.

      I guess I’m not understanding what you’re saying.

      • 0 avatar

        Maybe its a GM thing, but it seems like anymore the only cars with them are the top level trims. The last car I shopped for was a Grand Prix and most of those and the G6/G8s that ran through the block the day I bought were low to mid level trim and none of them had a roof. I did find an oddity though, a base model ’08 3800 NA loaded with GT like options of monsoon stereo/leather/heated seats/roof, but with the basic single exhaust and fricking steel wheels. Found out later GM dropped the GT in its final year and only offered a base and GXP. Maybe they were just getting rid of parts and they offered the better options on all 08s?

  • avatar
    Felis Concolor

    Sunroof? Bleagh: give me a panoramic glass roof instead. Give it an LCD sunshade feature with variable opacity settings and I’ll be happy. I’d be happier still with the return of forward vent windows along with the observation bubble.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, I’d love to have vent windows again. I have them on my ’78 VW Westfalia Champagne Edition and love them… My ’65 VW Beetle too. If we had more ways of moving cool air through our cars we wouldn’t need a/c as often. Not a good option for interstate travel though.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    My 95 T-Bird LX has the factory sunroof. 2nd car I owned with one. Pretty trouble-free though occasionally I had to give it a shove to get it to tilt. I think it is was the sliders but since I did lubed them they seem to be working better. With the warm winter in NYC it’s nice to drive with the sunroof tilted open, the climate control around 65 and all is OK with the world.

  • avatar

    I think all cars and trucks should come with t-tops.

  • avatar

    My last couple of cars have usually had a sunroof – in fact all of our family vehicles have one at the moment.

    Our old ’01 Forester has an enormous glass roof and lots of headroom – you could wear a ten-gallon hat in there even with the roof closed – but the wind noise is obtrusive (not that the Foz is quiet by any measure).

    I use the one in my Mercury Milquetoast – I mean, Milan – mostly to let sunlight in, and sometimes for fresh air if the weather is good. I have to note that my commute is almost all surface streets and under 50MPH, so wind noise isn’t a real issue.

    And when I had a Miata I would drop the top and put on sunscreen whenever I could, but it required a good pair of wraparound sunglasses and a collection of hats.

    To each their own.

  • avatar

    Hummm, yesterday!
    Fresh air in the morning (5°C) but thanks to excellent aerodynamics almost no cold went in. Only the sun, directly warming me for a good day!
    I don’t really like to drive with open windows because of the direct wind, but a sunroof or a real convertible with windows up is the best thing you can drive on a nice day. That’s why I have both…

  • avatar

    when i had my Subaru, i had my sunroof open almost all the time from March through November. i had a wind deflector, even though it looked stupid it was a must for highway driving.

    with the Saab, the same. although I didn’t have a wind deflector, so I would usually close it on the highway.

    it is not necessarily a must have for my next automobile, but it would be very nice to have one.

  • avatar

    I open mine daily, especially on nice days. However, it’s main purpose is to allow light in so the cops don’t ding me for my 30% tint here in Virginia.

  • avatar

    One of the best things about a sunroof is leaving it on tilt on a hot summer’s day. Hot air rises and all that heat escapes BEFORE you get back to the car. Unlike leaving the windows open a thief can’t get in that way either. On my car (a VAG product) I have a rain sensor too for the wipers and (with the correct option ticked) my sunroof closes automatically when it detects rain and the car is locked. Neat.

    Also of note is that the VW Scirocco, previous BMW 6-series and the Passat CC all have a sunroof that can’t open fully BUT they can tilt – for the above reason.

    Having a fixed sunroof is one of the daftest things I think you can get on a car. Lets the heat in but you can’t let it out. So the moment I see a car with a fixed roof it is off my list.

  • avatar

    I had been driving my last VW for almost a week when someone asked if it had a sunroof. I had to go out and look. To my relief it did NOT have one. I have a Miata if I want the sun on my head.

  • avatar

    biggest problem Ive experienced is noise….as the car gets older the gaskets wear out and create problems.
    If you love a sunroof car..sell it when you make your last payment.
    Oh..and fishing a line to clear the drains…that’s fun.Or having the sun shade stick to where you cant pull it closed..and how the headliner fabric on the sun shade cover disintegrates..what a joy!

  • avatar
    bill mcgee

    Some of my cars have had it and some didn’t. I don’t remember having any problems except when I had a 1980 Rabbit with one and something broke where it wouldn’t close but it was under warranty , almost brand new . Being a 5’5″ little dude the headroom wasn’t a problem . I used it the most when I had a job where I drove work vehicles a lot-35k miles some years . Because I was driving all day at work , often with the window down my left arm would become several shades darker than the right . So when I was using my own car that had a sunroof , I would position the right arm under the open roof and try to even out the tan .Now that I don’t drive all day any more I don’t need to do that so seldom open the sunroof.

  • avatar

    After 8 years driving a car with a sunroof, I feel claustrophobic when I rent a car without one. And I’m a long-torsoed 6’2″ guy. I don’t open it all that often, but the light and visibility are very much appreciated.

    It can come in handy in surprising situations, too. Oftentimes in inner-city driving, it can be very helpful for helping see high-mounted street signs and reckoning your location by the skyline. And once when an idiot parked 3″ from my driver’s side door, popping through the sunroof made it a lot easier to climb over my center console from the passenger side!

  • avatar

    Sunroofs (and moonroofs) give us more choices, and that’s a good thing. When it’s gray and gloomy, it’s to have some top glass to maximize the available light. When it’s hot at mid-day, just close the shade (I’d have a serious problem with the Mini’s roof here in Denver, lacking a solid shade). Tipping up the back provides the best ventilation boost since operating vent windows vanished in the ’70s. THat can help cool a parked car, or quickly flush stale air from a moving one. And on that rare perfect day of perfect temperature, low speed and high scenery — a cruise through Zion Canyon, let’s imagine — you can open the whole thing to parade position.

    I’d do that occasionally, if my New Beetle’ sunroof wasn’t jammed from the neglect of a previous owner. Maybe I’ll fix it someday, but just having a skylight up there is something I wouldn’t give up.

  • avatar

    I do recall back in the day seeing many more cars with sunroofs on low end trim packages… hell I had a friend with an ’87 Olds Cutlass Calais something (FWD 4-banger) with no options whatsoever but a sunroof. Now if you want a sun/moon roof they force you to order every worthless package available just to get to it. Sorry but I don’t want 24in ugly sport wheels, a navi computer which was outdated six months ago, and a backup camera for an extra 4Gs just to get the roof. Maybe you can still get stuff a la carte if you special order?

  • avatar

    I go out of my way to order a car withpout them. Never use them on cars with them, except maybe 2X per year when I am goinmg slow enough and the weather is just right. So basicaly it is a worthless option that just adds 1k to the porice aof a car, which most people dont use, but have to get if they want the other options in certain packages. I call it the tyrany of the sunroof, to which we can add now the tyrany of auto wipers(whatever happened to setting your own delay), and the latest tyrany whichg appears to be lane assist. Frankly just a means of carmakers charging more for crap 80% of drivers dont want or need.

    When i ordered my M3 in 05, the dealer was freaked that I would not get a sunroof. Said it would negatively affect resale, turns out an E46 m3 with manual and no sunroof is the holy grail these days.

  • avatar

    I love sunroofs. I rarely drive with it closed if it’s sunny, which explains my farmer’s tan, haha.

  • avatar

    My last three cars (Honda Civic and two Accords, all “EX” trim) had factory moonroof, and I won’t have one without it!! I use it as soon as the weather warms above 55 or so in spring, until the snow starts flying in November! I keep the vent open on the freeway, and the full roof open around town (and even on the freeway for short stretches).

    No leaks or cracks. The one Accord developed a rattle which was fixed under a service bulletin. My second (and current) Accord’s roof has been flawless!

    It almost becomes a habit to open the thing in some way during spring, summer and fall when starting the car, along with buckling the seat belt.

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