Huge Sunroofs Can Burn You At The Pump

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt
huge sunroofs can burn you at the pump

That huge sunroof on top of you greenhouse could cost you more than just a few extra $$$$. It could ruin the car’s mileage, says a new report. “Automakers may be obsessed with cutting vehicle weight,” writes Automotive News [sub], “but they are happily packing on pounds in one place.” Those added lbs will mean increased gals, and not the female kind.

Cars like the 2013 Lincoln MKZ, or the Cadillac’s SRX crossover sport sunroofs that come close to the size of a Japanese starter home. “The glass can add several more pounds than steel, depending on the size of the opening,” says the report. “And an open sunroof interrupts airflow over a vehicle, increasing drag and reducing fuel economy.”

Automakers already carefully monitor the take rates of those skylights:

“If the heavier sunroofs make up more than a third of a vehicle’s production mix, the vehicle’s fuel-economy testing must include the feature.”

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  • Sprocketboy Sprocketboy on Jun 12, 2012

    I have had two cars with sunroofs (a 1996 Acura Integra and a 2002 Mazda Millenia) and really liked them. Never had any maintenance issues although both were driven to extremely high mileage. A while back I rented a Citroen Picasso C4 minivan and was enchanted by its huge windshield, that continues far up into the roof. It was equipped with drawn-down shades and made the C4 feel like a fighter jet in terms of visibility. The Mustang was offered with an extended glass roof/windshield but after strong initial sales two or three years ago, interest has fallen off. This would not have been a sunroof but just a non-movable glass panel. It looks good and probabably makes the interior more spacious-feeling but perhaps the trade-offs (cost, vulnerability, weight) were too much for a performance car. Opel had a similar arrangement in the Astra here in Germany but I don't see many on the road.

  • Hubcap Hubcap on Jun 12, 2012

    Bitch, bitch, bitch. Moan, moan, moan. And as usual the betas fall in line. Bertel, you should buy a flute. A harmonious melody from your "piece" would send them into ecstasy...or off a cliff.

  • Jellodyne Jellodyne on Jun 12, 2012

    My 1993 Accord had a nice moonroof. Opened all the way, and when you opened it there was a little spring-loaded wind deflector that popped up so you didn't get that booming turbulence even if you have all the other windows closed. With all 4 windows down and the sunroof open it was nice and breezy. Loved it. My 2000 Accord coupe, on the other hand, because of the rake of the roof the moonroof only opened up like 60% of the way. No flip-up wind deflector. I tried to see if I could source one from the dealer, apparently they stopped making them that way, so if it ever was open all you got was irritating low pressure boominess. And the coupe has no rear windows to open, which would have helped. The dealer did offer a fixed plexiglass wind screen which came up over the first 3 or 4 inches of the moonroof. And like I said the moonroof only opened 4 or 5 inches because of the roof. Plus the coupe has a lower roof anyway, so the headroom is a factor and the moonroof made it worse. Worst moonroof ever. My current Fit isn't offered with any sort of moonrooft, but doesn't really need it, what with it's cathedral ceiling.

  • Epsilonkore Epsilonkore on Jun 12, 2012

    I have to agree with the article. My daily driver,a 2005 Scion tC, has a dual panel full glass roof. The heavy glass roof is obvious in spirited cornering (and that registers at the pump no doubt) and when both shades are open, and its 90+ degrees out, the air conditioner cant keep pace and runs 100% the whole sunny day, killing economy. It also makes for a super hot interior after being left outside in the sun, straining the A/C from the start. All that being said, I would NEVER give up the all glass roof. I loved it the day I bought the car, and I still do. One way or another I am going to have an option to see the sky be it a glass sun roof or a convertible. Scion just needs to put stronger blowers in their cars that have all glass roofs STANDARD. As for leaks and mechanical issues that others complain about, I havent had any (other than an occasional "pop" in the winter over speedbumps from the sunroof) from ANY of my cars with sunroofs. Could be because I grease the mechanicals regularly and use Gummi Pflege Stift ($8 on amazon) on my gaskets once a year. My convertible doesnt leak either... protect your gaskets folks!