By on January 27, 2016

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After considerable thought, I have come to a conclusion: sunroofs are weird. I mean, think about it: it’s a hole in the roof of your car, designed to allow you to … what, exactly? Look up at the sky? While you listen to the incessant rattling caused by the fact that there’s a hole in the roof of your car?

Yes, folks, I’m being serious. Today I’m writing about sunroofs. And there’s a reason for this: I have recently come to the realization that sunroofs, unlike virtually any other feature or option available on an automobile today, provoke some seriously strong opinions. Some people like them. Some people hate them. Some people really hate them. I haven’t found anyone who really likes them, except for myself.

Let me tell you why I like sunroofs: because they allow light into the cabin. I once had a Cadillac station wagon without a sunroof, and it seriously felt like I was driving around in a coffin. Some light came in through the regular windows, but not much, because their opening was about the size of a hedgehog. And not some ultra-fat, sumo wrestler hedgehog. I mean a svelte hedgehog who does hedgehog workout videos.

Now, in this vehicle, I always wished I had a sunroof. Wouldn’t that be nice? A panoramic sunroof that would open up and provide some excellent, much-needed light into this dark, depressing cabin. I wished for that for six months, then I sold the car to a guy who crashed it into a tree. Last I heard the engine was for sale on eBay.

But I’m getting away from the topic at hand here, which is: sunroofs. What I have learned is that most people are not like me. Most people hate sunroofs.

One major reason most regular people hate sunroofs is for the very reason I like them: because they bring light into the cabin. A lot of people don’t want light to enter the cabin. They think it’s too bright, and too annoying, and so the moment they buy the car, they close the little pad that covers the sunroof, and they never open it again. And the sunroof is sitting up there hearing all the other features get used, like the power seats, and it wonders: what about me? Eventually, it forms the “Unused Features Club” with the manual mode on the automatic transmission.

Another reason people don’t like sunroofs is because they say sunroofs limit headroom. I’ve never personally experienced this. I am a very tall human in the sense that I am six-foot, three inches in height, and I’ve never had a sunroof limit my headroom. And I am the kind of person who occasionally hits his head on light fixtures.

Then there’s the rattling. Apparently, sunroofs rattle. I cannot personally speak to this, as the sunroof in my Range Rover is possibly the only part of the vehicle that doesn’t rattle, but I will say very sincerely that I would accept a little rattling if it meant I got more light into the cabin. However, I would not accept a lot of rattling, so the sunroof had better be careful about how far it goes.

Interestingly, some automakers have noticed the public’s lack of enthusiasm about sunroofs, and they’ve started to take action. For instance: Ford now offers the sunroof as a stand-alone option on most of its vehicles. No longer do you have to get the “Quick and Easy Package 104,” which includes a sunroof along with desirable options like alloy wheels, a roof, moving windshield wipers, etc. Instead, you can order a fully equipped Ford and stop just short of the sunroof.

This makes sense, because even when I find people who don’t hate their sunroof, I’ve never really discovered anyone who loves it. Nobody ever buys a new car and then calls their friend Katelyn and says: “OH MY GOD GUESS WHAT?!?!? IT HAS A SUNROOF!!!! No, what they actually say is: OH MY GOD GUESS WHAT?!?!??! SOME DEALER ACTUALLY PAID ME MONEY FOR MY OLD VOLKSWAGEN!”

So what I’m starting to wonder is whether sunroofs are among the least-desired options in existence; something we merely pay extra money for just to put up with. It’s more work for the manufacturer, it’s more cost for the consumer, and nobody ever really gets jazzed up about the whole sunroof thing.

Except for me. I’ll never forget when I got my first car in high school: a 10-year-old Volvo with the first sunroof my family ever had. I used it constantly: when it was warm; when it was cold; when it was raining lightly. I even used it after a snowstorm, when the sun started to come out and melt everything. I’ll never forget: I had a big smile on my face, and the sunroof open, and I came to a stop at a red light. It was at that moment when the snow on the roof of my car broke loose, slid forward, and cascaded through my sunroof, all over the seats and the controls.

For several months after that, the sunroof rejoined the automatic transmission manual mode in the Unused Feature Club.

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163 Comments on “Doug Drives: Sunroofs Are Weird...”


  • avatar
    ldl20

    Doug:
    I, too, am 6’3″, and never really had issues with sunroofs–love them just for the light they let in. When it’s 90+ outside, I just close the shade during the middle of the day-problem solved.

    But, apparently, SUNROOFS CAN KILL YOU!!!! See below:
    “MSP reports that Clifford Ray Jones, age 58, was partially ejected through the sunroof when his 1996 Toyota Corolla overturned. He was wearing neither a seat belt nor his pants at the time of the accident.”

    • 0 avatar
      rdclark

      It’s being forced into buying one that burns me. Every trim of Subaru Forester except the base model has a sunroof and roof rails, two things I have no need or desire for. But you have to buy one of those trims if you want the Eyesight system or a power driver seat, among other things.

      The Forester has the glassiest greenhouse in its class already. It doesn’t need a sunroof.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The Forester also has tons of headroom, so loss of headroom isn’t a concern. And pricing (particularly transaction pricing) is competitive with other entries in the class. If you leave the sunroof shade closed, why does it bother you?

        Also, if you bought a Forester without roof rails you’d be killing the resale value, at least around here. Most people won’t buy one without them.

        • 0 avatar
          sco

          Ah the roof rails. I had to fight like hell to keep them off a Honda Odyssey and our CRV. What do I need to tie down on the top of a minivan (or a Subaru Forester), I’m not Clark Griswold. But dealers love them and the profit they generate. To me they’re just MPG-killing decorations. Oh, and I do like sunroofs, esp the one on my old Peugeot, big, slide open, manually operated, no glass- perfect.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            I use mine for a ski rack. Others in our outdoor-obsessed area use them to carry snowboards, kayaks, and cartop carriers full of gear. I also used mine recently to take some large objects to the landfill.

            They shouldn’t have much if any effect on MPG when empty, as they are oriented front to back.

          • 0 avatar
            slap

            I like the slotted tracks on the roof that are almost flush to the roof. Thule used to sell roof racks that you could clip in and out in seconds, so you didn’t have to drag it around when you didn’t need them.

          • 0 avatar
            SeldomScene1980

            Thank you! I can’t stand roof rails! My local Lexus dealer said they didn’t sell the parts to cover the holes if I removed them. I had to get the kit from a dealer in TX. I took the rails off my 2011 RX.

          • 0 avatar

            Apparently you don’t canoe or kayak.

          • 0 avatar
            Polka King

            You ain’t never brought home a sheet of plywood? What kind of man never brought home a sheet of plywood?

        • 0 avatar
          DesertTwang

          @dal20402: Actually, headroom on the Forester is a conern. My wife and I are shopping for a Forester right now, and I was EXTREMELY dismayed to find that due to her tall torso (she is 5’11) we probably won’t be able to get the moonroof, as it leaves only about one and three quarter inches of headroom for her, both in the driver’s seat and the passenger seat. Since we are planning to take the Forester on lots of bumpy backroads, we’re concerned she might hit her head sometime. The non-moonroof Forester, on the other hand, gives her plenty of headroom.

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        @rdclark, the only thing I hate being forced into buying is an automatic transmission. Absolutely hate paying the extra money for a feature I want absolutely nothing to do with and would rather spend the money for the sunroof and decent entertainment system. But a manual model that isn’t a Stripper is about as hard to find on a Dealer’s lot as a news story last week that didn’t refer to the East Coast Blizzard of the Century.

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      “But, apparently, SUNROOFS CAN KILL YOU!!!!”

      Indeed, just 3 posts down on the main page :)

      Count me in the camp of “don’t need one”, although I do occasionally crack it open to let some air through the cabin, I’ve never felt the need to open the shade to let more light in. Actually the sunroof in the current Golf and A3 put me off as it is large and does not have a solid shade. That seems like a really bad idea in an area where the Sun is almost directly overhead in the Summer.

    • 0 avatar
      Wheatridger

      On the other hand, sunroofs could be your escape hatch. Once I saw a large SUV that had performed a quarter-roll at an intersection. It was left sitting in the road on its passenger door, with the opposite door facing skyward. The driver was standing inside helplessly on the downside door, weighing his options, which were limited to climbing upwards to open the door overhead and clamber out. A sunroof would have made that escape easy (if it still worked).

      • 0 avatar
        dolorean

        Once, in a parking garage, having no way to get into my ’08 Saturn Astra because of two SUVs that decided COMPACT PARKING ONLY was only a suggestion. Fortunately the key fob had the feature that if you hit and then held the unlock button twice, all the windows would roll down and the sunroof would open. I went in through the top, after utilizing four BBs that I had from a pellet gun to ‘slow leak’ four 20″ tires by putting them inside the stem caps and tightening them down. Yeah, I was that guy.

        • 0 avatar
          wolfinator

          I despise people who park their titanosaur HD trucks or SUVs in compact spots. God forbid you have to walk a bit after parking your penis extension.

          There needs to be some kind of social shunning. Letting the air out of the tires is more than fair.

          The one thing I miss about driving a beater worth hundreds of dollars is parking next to those jerks (within my lines!) such that they couldn’t open their driver-side doors. Any dents on my dent-ridden 1970s ride could just be shrugged off.

          • 0 avatar
            Frylock350

            @wolfinator,

            As someone who drives a titanosaur truck I never park in compact spots and always park at the back of lots and in the widest spots available (because who wants door dings). Anyone who does is a douche for doing so.

            However what I often notice in many parking garages is that ALL the spots are compact car. Like I park in them perfectly centered and my tires touch the painted lines on BOTH sides. What shall I do in this situation? The correct answer is double park in the furthest away spot possible.

            Also perhaps they’re getting a bit resentful of the truck hate; I know I am. You did just refer to their vehicle of choice as a penis extension. Nobody likes being judged because of their preference in vehicle type. Also, why are the compact spots the ones closer to the store? Why aren’t they back in the boonies of the lot? Even though I disagree with it; I can see where someone’s thinking “F*&K you social engineering, I’m parking my F250 wherever the f*#k I want”.

            @dolorean,
            I bet your the kind of douche who will brake check tailgaters or excessively tailgate left lane bandits.

          • 0 avatar
            dolorean

            @wolfinator, yeah nah mate, I’m not into hating that much. A little inconvenience and a note that says what I think of them is the most I’m willing to go.

            @Frylock350, these two behemoths parked as they did on purpose, probably cause they could, in what we call a “classic dick-move”. The two Richards who drove these deserved four flats especially the one who backed his cement-mixer in so he could get out of his door, but f*** the guy in the little Saturn. They had other places to park, they just wanted closer to the door and I suspect strongly, very tiny members between their legs.

            And yeah, I do brake check tailgaters. Who doesn’t? Don’t want it to happen? Don’t tailgate. But as I live and work in Germany, I don’t worry about the 90% of America who have no idea what the left lane is for.

        • 0 avatar
          DownUnder2014

          Oh that is simply gold! They deserve it though!

        • 0 avatar
          Polka King

          Very Nice !

    • 0 avatar
      wumpus

      Says you. 6’5″ with a 32″ inseam (i.e. need freakish headroom). I’ve been to autoshows where there have been two types of cars: those with sunroofs (don’t fit) and those without (usually fit).

      I also learned to drive in my dad’s 83′ toyota corolla SR5 (oh, so close to the magic A86) with a sunroof. Had I ever been hit from the left I wouldn’t be here, either dead or drooling from a hospital bed. I somehow doubt they are any danger to shorter folks. Mr. Jones was going to be ejected from one of the cars openings, if not the sunroof it would have been the windshield.

  • avatar

    It used to be just another excuse for rust to develop. You forgot the ejector option, made famous by 007’s Aston DB5. Then again, it seems like the guy in the Detroit car accident (previous thread) already opted for that.

  • avatar
    Corollaman

    Useless option, rented a Sonata once with it and tried using it once and between the noise, heat and sudden So Fla rains, I forgot all about it and did not use it the whole week I had the car.

  • avatar
    jmo

    I can’t imagine ever buying a car without a sunroof. In 20 years I’ve never had a problem with a sunroof and at 6’2″ I’ve never noticed a headroom issue.

    • 0 avatar
      Mickiemac1

      Ditto here. My first sunroof was on a 1996 Nissan Maxima and I’ve had sunroofs (and a panoramic roof on my 2011 Venza) ever since. Even my 2010 Frontier had a sunroof which was replaced by a 2014 F-150 King Ranch – with a sunroof of course! I enjoy the extra light provided and in vent mode they provide a nice air flow w/o having to lower the windows.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Same here–all of my Hondas since I graduated from college have been bought new, in at least “EX”-grade trim, which on Civics since 1992, and Accords since 1990 (and before on the “LXi” trims) have always come with a glass sunroof standard.

      The best thing about these is the vent function, which allows you to get air into the car on the freeway, or when the weather’s a little too cool for running with it open. I’ll run with the vent open when the temperature is down into the mid 40s around town, as long as there’s not too much wind.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      Same here. Every single car I own (minus my wife’s convertible) have sunroofs. I will never buy a car again without one. It is on the must have list.

      I’m 6’3″ and have never had an issue with height and I have never had an issue with the mechanics.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Living up here in the land of dark, damp winters I LOVE my sunroofs. All three of my cars have one and I won’t buy a car without one unless it’s a convertible. We are starved for natural light six months of the year and anything I can do to let a little more light into the car is wonderful.

    I’ve owned eight cars with sunroofs in my life. Only one ever leaked (and very slightly, only around hard turns), and that was my 1989 SHO that was clearly the last car built on a Friday by drunk and high Atlanta plant workers. I’ve never had one stop working. It really helps to maintain your rubber seals using a rubber-specific product and keep the metal around the sunroof clean. Opening the sunroof and cleaning that metal is part of my washing routine.

    Also, Doug… you may be wrong about people’s reaction. My mom learned that I bought an old car (my ’95 Legend) as a toy and thought it was some kind of jalopy. The first thing she said when she got in was “This interior is really nice… and it has a SUNROOF!”

    • 0 avatar
      bludragon

      This affirms my thought that it’s desirability is latitude dependent. In Canada I can imagine it is nice to have the option for extra light to enter the cabin. In California not so much, and in Texas I can’t imagine any benefits outweigh the fact that it will be inviting more heat into the cabin.

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        I had a sunroof in the A4 I drove for 8 years in Georgia. Never closed the shade – I liked the light in the cabin, and certainly didn’t notice it becoming extra hot.

      • 0 avatar
        TexasAg03

        I’m in Texas and love having a sunroof. I use mine a lot, especially when temps are more moderate. It also helps cool down the cabin when I first get in on a hot day.

      • 0 avatar
        hubcap

        “This affirms my thought that it’s desirability is latitude dependent.”

        I’m just curious and this is kinda amusing. Due to the comments concerning your statement are your thoughts now disaffirmed? Or are you entrenched in your position?

    • 0 avatar

      Absolutely, same for me. I will add that there is a great secret to sunroofs:

      If you are driving alone, open up the rear window opposite you slightly, then tip up the sunroof. Boom. A pleasant backdraft breeze to cool you down. It’s glorious and works on every car I’ve driven with one.

      • 0 avatar
        VTECV6NYC

        This. True indeed, and one of the many reasons why I won’t buy a car without a sunroof. The breeze swirls around from the rear of the car to the front of the car from the left of the driver’s seat. It’s kept me awake on many a long trip, and even shorter ones in my foolish youth when I was headed home, more inebriated than I should have been.

        • 0 avatar

          One of my nicest recent driving memories is motoring through rural Vermont in an ATS (don’t tell Deadweight, but I liked it) on a gorgeous sunny day in June with that lovely breeze taking me back up to Montreal. Brilliant.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I’ve never owned a vehicle with sunroof/moonroof. not because I hate them, but I just don’t care about them and haven’t wanted to pay the extra dosh.

    the one really pointless one was the glass roof on the previous Mustang. Didn’t open or anything, just replaced the sheet metal panel for a fixed piece of glass. Great use for a $2000 option.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    Love my sunroofs, use them all the time the temp is over about 50*. Great way to get a little breeze in the car.

    I also think a lot of the hate in the car guy community is the fact that sunroofs, being high up on the car and poorly affecting the CoG, will slow the laptime of the Porsche GT3 by .0002 seconds around the Ring, and that will matter as soon as I upgrade out of this Grand Caravan and buy one after I win the lotto.

  • avatar
    Silent Ricochet

    Great article. I agree with most the things you said about how people feel towards sun roofs. Whenever one of my friends gets a new car and I ride in it for the first time, I kinda of inspect all the little features and quality of plastics around the cabin. My eyes eventually set upon the sunroof, which they always keep closed. I never get a straight answer from anyone why they don’t like it either. It’s weird.

    I, on the other hand, really miss the sunroof my cavalier had. I used to crack it open just right almost every day. Sure there was a little more road noise, but that car was already loud in the cabin. No rattling, no fuss. It also made the car look a lot better and dare I say sporty from the outside. I could even keep it cracked open during most rain showers without even a drop of water getting on the inside. That being said, I’d get into the bad habit of leaving it open on summer days and having to run out to my car to close the sunroof during storms. Kind of annoying.

    There was also this one time at 1am that I let my buddy drive my car to McDonalds after I had way too many drinks. Ordering and receiving my food standing through the sunroof of my Cavalier was awesome.

  • avatar
    CaptainObvious

    At 6’4″ I fit in very few cars with sunroofs. I might be a little picky but I can’t stand it when my hair brushes the ceiling. Otherwise, I love the feeling of opening all the windows and sunroof on a warm day and bothering all the teenagers by blasting my 80’s music.

    • 0 avatar
      DeeDub

      I’ve got the same problem, and I’m only six feet. Height matters, but torso-to-leg ratio matters at least as much. Because I’ve got short(er) legs and a long(er) torso, sunroofs usually cause my head to rub the headliner.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I hear people say this often, but at 6’3″, I never have issue with this. I can’t really think of any modern cars where this has been an issue for me and being a frequent traveler, I rent and drive a lot of cars.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I’m 6’3″ and I’ve had clearance issues with sunroofs. I touched the roof in my second car, a mid-80s Jetta. We got the wife’s car without a sunroof because I didn’t fit in the sunroof version. It’s not a problem with all cars, but it happens.
    Mind you, I’ve got the legs of a six footer, so my body is unusually long.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I have the panoramic sunroof in my Q7. I do like it as a way to let light in, but I never open the actual glass, just the shade.

    But the again, I never really roll down the windows unless I am going through the drive thru or have just turned the car on on a hot day and am waiting for the AC to power up.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    Apparently folks like driving around in caves. At least thats how most vehicles today seem to be without a sunroof. Its almost a deal breaker, as the lack of light depresses me to no end, especially at this time of year. Now, I think I’m a bit of of an outlier, or a weirdo, as my youthful days were spent tooling around in big “murrican ragtops, or LeCars and Bugs with those big fabric sliding sunroofs that made you giggle on nice days, and smile on meh days. But then again, maybe giggling has gone out favour too, replaced with something else more sinister and appropriate to the dark, brooding zombie lovin’ time we live in. Anyway, back to your Volvo issue; yup, been there too with the roof avalanche, and boy, its not the light fluffy snow that comes in, rather its the wet cement kind! Still, don’t feel too bad Doug, I LOVE sunroofs too, and so does the missus, so that makes three of us. Almost enough for a club. Or a self help group. You choose.

    • 0 avatar
      Russycle

      That’s a good point. Modern vehicles with their slit windows need all the natural light they can get. My most recent vehicle purchase does not have a sunroof. I thought I’d really miss it, but honestly, not really. And I opened the sunroof in my last car all the time. Fortunately the the xB has a lot of glass for a modern(using the term loosely) design, so that helps.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    I love my sunroof. I had serious sunroof envy growing up, especially since the richer kids had Roadmaster wagons with the bubble dome, and I was stuck in the Chevy Caprice Classic Wagon. When my mom Rent-a-Wrecked a ’91 Camry with a sunroof, it was amazing. SUCH LUXURY. When I was in the market for a new car back in 2012, I vowed to not buy ANYTHING that didn’t have a sunroof. It was time for ME to have a sunroof, and be a big fancypants man.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Can’t stand them.

    Had them in everything from VW Beetles (original air-cooled ones) to Lincolns/Cadillacs and full size ‘Disco’ vans.

    Both factory and after market.

    Rattle, leak, attract rust, decrease headroom. Don’t let in enough air when you want it and let water/snow drip when you don’t.

    But then I love factory installed T-Bar roofs.

    So to each their own.

    • 0 avatar
      sgeffe

      Those are more likely to have issues with rattles, leaks and squeaks, if I understand correctly — I thought the ’73-’77 GM Collonnaides and the ’78-’87 successors were pretty bad in this regard, while the “F”-bodies through 1981 were somewhat better, for example.

  • avatar
    mchan1

    I like sunroofs (or moonroofs as many car makers still call them), just not in smaller cars.

    In the past, sitting in smaller cars like the Corolla, Civic or Escort, my head would be brushing up against the roof liner.
    Prefer sunroofs in larger vehicles, considering I’m 6′ tall but with long legs.

    Too bad many car makers don’t include panoramic sunroofs as the light makes the interior look really roomy which is why I like them. Also, it’s too bad that auto makers don’t make it available on many of its models as a stand alone option or make it available as part of a package >:(

    Not having a sunroof is fine also and can save one some money but the interior tends to be dark and can be almost claustrophobic depending on the make and model of the vehicle esp. those that have low roof lines.

  • avatar
    BuzzDog

    Like any automotive feature, sunroofs have their pluses and minuses.

    Personally, I’ve owned very few cars without one (or a full-on convertible top). To me there is a certain joy in having glass or open air above me, and I feel sorry for those who don’t understand how others can enjoy the experience. I compare it to my lack of desire to own a lifted truck; it might be useless to me, but perhaps not to others, and I certainly won’t proclaim it as such in this forum.

    Oh, and I’m 6’2″ (188 cm) with a VERY long torso, and I rarely have headroom issues. I’ll admit that keeping my head shaved probably helps.

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    I wouldn’t buy a car without a sunroof. I’m in Atlanta metro and even on cold winter day (relatively cold) i like to crack sunroof open, turn off the stereo and cruise down some country lane while listening to wind whooshing over me. I always prefer backroads to highways, so that probably helps.

    • 0 avatar
      Featherston

      Good point re: highways. A lot of my driving is on surface streets. Late spring through early autumn, I love having all four windows down and a sunroof open. If I’m driving over 45 mph, I do prefer to close the windows and sunroof to decrease noise and increase fuel economy.

      A lot of Americans seem to demand a heated environment half of the year and air conditioning the other half. Why you wouldn’t want a window open on a 72 degree day escapes me.

  • avatar
    jeanbaptiste

    I’ve never had a car without some sort of roof

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I have a sunroof in my ’04 Passat Wagon, and I love it and use it regularly.

    My wife, however, cannot stand it. She, who’s car is an ’06 Solara CONVERTIBLE (whose top she uses as much as possible), says that the sunroof “gets too much light in my eyes.”

    I’ll leave the irony as an exercise for the reader.

  • avatar
    tonyola

    As I live in Miami, count me as one who loves sunroofs as long as they have a glass panel to let in light without letting all the heat/air conditioning out. I love cruising around at night with the starlight and city lights streaming in.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Same here. Live in southern FL and have had sunroofs in about 1/2 my cars. I’m 6 foot so height has never been a problem. I loved being able to crack them open for improved air flow. I was also kind of cool to pull the shade back and watch the water pool up there when it rained. Small advantage: a little less surface area to wax. The bad was the potential for leaks (never had a major issue) and when the shade visor got stuck which basically creates a greenhouse. If given a choice I will always take a car with a sunroof if its available. My wife’s current car was sunroof-less and its a bummer. I wish my Z was old school style with T-Tops that seems like a fun option as well. I think really comes down to the weather where you live, obvious in cooler climates you can’t take advantage of a sunroof as often thus you don’t care. However I don’t like convertibles, they are too noisy plus they generally look terrible with the roof up.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Never have had any leaks. My 1994 Civic’s roof developed a crack, which was fixed gratis, though I discovered that the replacement glass wasn’t tinted — $30 at a tint shop fixed that.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    I love t-tops and targa roofs, which (t-tops) died with the death of the coupe and greater desire for convertibles among the buying public.

    Never really saw the benefit of a sunroof other than perhaps making a nice slip stream to suck my occasional cigar smoke out of a vehicle. But then I’d never smoke one in the “family car” and my utilitarian pickup truck would look dang funny with one.

    Most vehicles are so noisy at speed with any window/sunroof etc open that they become unbearable.

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      “Most vehicles are so noisy at speed with any window/sunroof etc open that they become unbearable.”

      Ya might want to try a few different cars. I enjoy driving with the windows/moonroof/convertible top down. I’ve yet to find the noise to be unbearable.

      Horses for courses I know.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    I like the moon roof option in my Impala’s and various other GM products over the years. None have ever given me any trouble or leaked. None of them have ever rattled either. They are especially nice on a hot Summer day to quickly clear out the stuffy air, let light into today’s depressing non color interior black and gray vehicles and they make the car look better going down the road. A win win as far as I’m concerned.

  • avatar
    George B

    I like having a window in the roof of my car, but rarely open it. Instead of a sliding sunroof, I’d like to have a less expensive roof window that can tilt up. If the sunroof doesn’t slide back, it’s possible to have more rear seat headroom. I do frequently tilt up the sunroof, shade mostly closed, to vent hot air while the car is parked in the summer sun.

    A really useful missing feature would be a one-button tilt up sunroof and roll down windows half an inch setting. We currently have to use several different controls to achieve this state for cars parked in a hot climate.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Perhaps a new piece or did the Doug-Bot go into the Recycle Bin?

  • avatar
    kwong

    I’m also a sunroof/moonroof lover. It gives the occupants a feeling of open space distracting them from the reality that they are sitting in a claustrophobic tin-can. A moonroof also allows light to enter the top of the front section of the car, which is a plus for folks with front window tint who don’t want to be busted for having front window tint. Light entering through the moonroof will lessen the appearance of the tint to the front windows. It’s also nice to use it to control the car’s environment. I leave the sunroof tilted up in during the spring-fall months to create ventilation through the “chimney-effect.” During the winter months, I keep the sunroof closed, but the pull back the shade to create a “greenhouse effect.”

    The downsides to a sunroof ownership include the expense (mitigated when you buy the car used), the nagging insecurity that you left the sunroof open when it starts to rain, the chance that the sunroof will leak if the car was in an accident, and the sad day when the sunroof motor breaks.

  • avatar
    Dingleberrypiez_Returns

    I love sunroofs (or more specifically, moonroofs). I wouldn’t buy a daily driver without one.

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Absolutely priceless feature on my old 4Runner: open the moonroof all the way, lower the rear hatch glass down all the way, roll all of the windows up. You now have fairly quiet, laminar air flow through the cabin at speeds up to and in excess of 70mph on the highway. All the while, road noise is minimized because the side windows are all up. Or if you can stand the noise and slightly extra buffeting, open all the windows as well. With as big as the moonroof is on my truck, it does a decent job of emulating some of the magic of open air driving.

    Like dal, I love the extra light the comes in. I like my vehicles with light colored interiors and moonroofs for that very reason. Headroom is pretty tight in a 4Runner of my generation to begin with and the moonroof doesn’t help, but at 5’11” I have a few inches of clearance.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Funny you mention the “open-air driving” feeling. With its giant super-moonroof (that opens all the way), tall greenhouse, and relatively narrow pillars, I get that feeling if I open the roof and all the windows in my Forester. It really is almost like driving a convertible. My toddler likes it. The wife hates it, though, because it musses her hair.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I always see people driving 4Runners of all vintages, including the newest one, with the rear windscreen rolled down. I love that feature.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Kyree,

        Toyota is VERY aware of the loyalty that this feature alone inspires and keeps 4Runner buyers coming back for each new generation. No one else on the market uses this very handy feature, except for Toyota themselves on their big Sequoia. I have no idea why it isn’t more prevalent on SUVs, back in the day I think all station wagons with tailgates had this roll down feature, through to the final B body wagons. Aside from the awesome ventilation, it’s obviously useful for carrying long items without worrying about a flipped up fragile piece of glass dangling around (common on many SUVs until recently), and dogs LOVE it. I keep throwing around the idea of swapping my trusty old 4Runner for a slightly less old Montero Limited, but my fiancé is questioning this logic, based on us losing the functionality of that lowering rear window alone. I would likewise be loath to lose my beloved roll-down rear hatch glass.

        • 0 avatar
          hubcap

          It’s also a feature on the Tundra though I’m not sure about the Tacoma. In the big scheme of things its minor but its something that I and others absolutely love.

          I’ve always wondered why other manufacturers don’t offer it.

          • 0 avatar
            wolfinator

            Years ago the Tacoma usually came with a 3-part sliding window, where the center section would slide open. It’s probably been cost-engineered out by now…

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Agreed. I love the moonroof combined with the rolldown rear glass in my 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      DrGastro997

      I love doing that on my 4Runner too. A nice warm day with the roof wide open and rear window down. The automatic diffuser rises at 55 mph and helps minimize turbulence. I hope Toyota keeps their one of a kind rear window for just about forever!

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Would have made a similar comment if you had not. I use this feature on my 4runner whether summer or winter. The wind deflector over the rear window apparently makes it safe to open the rear window even with no other window open. I almost gassed myself trying to do that in my old 57 Chev Handyman.

      I feel no shame in using heat or HVAC while doing this. Great truck that I have had for 2 years now and hope to keep driving as long as I can drive.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    “…it’s a hole in the roof of your car, designed to allow you to … what, exactly? Look up at the sky?”

    One lovely summer evening, we had the fortune to pass directly under a low-altitude hot-air balloon. Our sunroof allowed a perfect view up inside the envelope. That was an unforgettable experience. So, yes, that’s one reason why I love my sunroof.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      A few weeks ago I heard the roar of two fighter jets passing overhead. Looked up and had a great view of them through the sunroof. Wouldn’t have seen them otherwise. They were on their way to buzz the Redskins’ home playoff game.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        Was sitting at a traffic light next to a small local airport a few years back on a nice summer evening, when out of nowhere zooms a T-6 Texan with a smoke generator! Right over the intersection (and directly over my open sunroof), maybe twenty feet off the ground! Wish I had captured that on video!!!

  • avatar
    jhefner

    Doug, your picture for this article shows why I don’t think they are as useful as they used to be.

    It seems in the early and pre-aero days that the sunroof would be centered over the driver’s seat cushion, with the back edge roughly over the headrests.

    But with today’s sloped back windshields and the controls between the sun visors, the sunroof has moved back to where it is centered over the headrests.

    So, if you are sitting in the front seat, you have to crane your neck back a little to see up. And, the breeze is directed more towards the back seat. So they seem not as useful nowdays. And I never liked the noise or the breeze, me who keeps the windows rolled up and complains about the wind noise from the rear view mirrors.

    But both my wife and son love theirs, and probably would not have purchased the particular vehicles they did if they did not have one.

    Edited to add: it could also be the rollover protection in the roof that moved the sunroof back a bit.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      I’ve got a Scion tC – that’s actually where the headrest is located, due to the low, flat roof. It’s an unusually large sunroof as well.

      • 0 avatar
        threeer

        For us, our (just sold) tC sunroof was the worst ever. Sure, it opened well enough, but the constant rattle that came from it was beyond anything I had expected from a Toyota product. Actually, the entire interior build quality was severely disappointing (as compared to the stellar quality and durability of my son’s still-used 1997 Tercel with 230k+ on it). My wife’s new Cruze (don’t laugh…we needed a four-door car that wasn’t super expensive)came with a sunroof that doesn’t shake and shimmy when open, and she just about won’t own a car without a sunroof anymore.

        My Lancer Sportback wasn’t even ever offered with one, but I wish I had one. Nice to be able to open on pleasant days and are quicker to close than folding back a convertible top if the weather goes sour. I hope that my next puppy hauler will have a sunroof.

        Ironically, my mom’s Verano has one and I don’t think she’s used it in the nearly four years she’s owned it (heck, I’ve used it when driving her car more than she has). To each his own…

        • 0 avatar
          Occam

          What year was your tC? I’ve heard of some problems with the old version’s sunroof, but the new seems sturdier (albeit with a pop-up mesh deflector instead of the tilting glass).

          I haven’t had any issues with the interior – it’s hard plastic, but so is everything else in the price range. Everything still works like new five years and 83,000 miles on, just as expected in any other car.

          The rattle is not constant on mine – it’s only on very rough surfaces, when open. I’m guessing it’s something in the design – a slightly loose mounting so that the mounts can flex a bit when the car is shaken. It never makes a sound when closed.

  • avatar
    cbrworm

    I really appreciate a good sunroof. Most of my vehicles have had them. I have never had any leak or fail, but I did have one that let an excessive amount of outside noise in if the pad wasn’t closed. In most of my cars, opening the sunroof at 80MPH didn’t increase the noise level noticeably over just having the windows open.

    I am a bit over six feet, I would like more headroom in many cars, but I wouldn’t give up the sunroof to get it. I would be equally happy with a Targa top – probably wouldn’t use it as much, but would enjoy it more when I did.

    My wife never uses her sunroof. For that matter, I don’t think she has ever driven with the windows down.

  • avatar
    Chan

    I like pano roofs in tall cars like SUVs and vans. The extra light is very pleasant.

    I dislike any sort of sunroof in lower cars like sedans and coupes. I had a Lexus ES350 once–a relatively large car by any standard–and I despised the fact that my hair constantly brushed the headliner even with the seat height adjuster all the way down.

    I’m not even 6’3″; I’m just under 6’1″.

  • avatar
    TL

    Never met anybody who hates sunroofs. When you live under a Seattle rain cloud for 9 months of the year, ANY extra light in the cabin is welcome. I’ve only ever owned two vehicles (both pickups) without either a sunroof or a full convertible. I like sunroofs.

    The lady of the house on the other hand LOVES sunroofs. The #1 reason why she didn’t buy an FR-S last summer was that you couldn’t get it with a sunroof.

    • 0 avatar
      GS 455

      I suppose a sunroof can be nice in mild climate like Seattle but I live in a city with annual temperature swings of 120 degrees so most of the time it’s useless to me.

  • avatar
    GS 455

    Hate them. I don’t want my ears assaulted by the semi trucks, buses and motorcycles next to me and I don’t want to breath the exhaust they’re belching. Don’t want to increase my risks for melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin. Noise exposure causes cumulative permanent hearing damage. Panoramic sunroofs are even worse. They make the car’s interior hotter in the summer and colder in the winter. Their thin roller blind cover is useless, just put your hand up near it and you can feel the heat/cold coming in. More and more manufacturers bundle panoramic roofs with other options that I would actually like to have (like heated steering and auto dimming driver’s outside mirror). Interestingly when I looked at the Porsche Macan the salesman discouraged having a sunroof because it adds weight.

  • avatar
    dwford

    I have had sunroofs in most of my cars, but I never really liked them and never opened them at all. That is until I got my Hyundai Elantra GT. I loved the panoramic sunroof and kept the shade open all the time, and opened the roof often.

    The most interesting, and useless, sunroof I ever had was in my Honda Element. It was over the trunk area. You see, the idea was that you could pop out the glass and stick your surfboard through it, or you could watch the stars as you camped in the cargo area. At least that’s what the brochure said. Yeah, right.

  • avatar
    CincyDavid

    I won’t spend extra to get one, kind of like heated seats, but if the package I want happens to include a sunroof, so be it.

    Even some funeral coaches come with a fixes skylight, to let more light in on the fancy casket your family selected…The Eagle Echelon.

    http://www.eaglecoachcompany.com/coaches/2016-cadillac-xts-echelon

  • avatar
    Occam

    I love my sunroof; I rented a convertible (’15 Mustang) on vacation last week, and while I enjoyed it immensely, I find a sunroof to be a better overall package.

    When it’s closed, it’s no different than having a solid roof overhead.

    I can open the shade if I want more light inside.

    It can be popped up to vent hot air out of the car.

    It can be opened for most of the convertible-open-air experience (if I want more, I have a motorcycle).

    My car (Scion tC) doesn’t have the usual tiny-hole-in-the-roof design. The roof is all glass, save for three crossmembers (one at the top of the windshield, one that is a continuation of the B-pillar, and one at the C-pillar where the rear hatch is attached. There is a large front panel that opens, and a smaller fixed panel, both with retractable shades. The glass panel from the front sunroof tilts, and then retracts over the rear glass, so no interior headroom is lost.

    Interior shot of sunroof: http://images.gtcarlot.com/pictures/47982067.jpg

    It doesn’t give you the full “Open Air” experience, but has a number of advantages.

    – Less risk of vandalization with a knife.
    – No need to pull over if I’m cold or it begins to rain.
    – Less noise when closed.
    – Full frame doors, so no issues with sealing the window glass to the movable roof (in the Mustang, the doors actually lower a half inch when opened and closed).
    – Full body structure, so not only is there rollover protection, but the body is less jelly-like.

    A convertible is a fun weekend rental romper, and the fully enclosed roof is good for day-to-day practicality. A large sunroof is best of both worlds. My only wish is that the rear panel was removable.

    And no problems with leaks. There is some rattling, but not when it’s closed – it’s only an issue when open, and going over washboard surfaces (since the glass slides back over the roof like a spoiler, it’s only supported by the front edge.

    EDIT: I have to add – the Mustang ‘Vert’s rear visibility is AWFUL with the top up. I thought the tC was a bit iffy to the rear, but that thing would have been a nightmare without the backup camera. The side and front view is fine in both – I don’t get all the complaints about small windows on here… if a car is low enough, you’re not going to hide a vehicle to the side below the beltline, and I’ve yet to worry about traffic from above. The side and front sightlines in the tC, ‘Stang, Camaro, and Challenger are perfectly fine.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Count me as liking them as well: as long as it’s the size of the one shown in the photo; not a fan of the all glass roof.

    And can we please get back to offering it as a stand alone option? I seriously don’t want leather seats, navigation, self parking, AWD, airbag seat belts, ejector seats, Nitrous Oxide, hardwood floors, and extra blinker fluid just to get a hole over my head with a pane of glass in it.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    I used to love sunroofs… back when I was a kid and could drive around blasting music with nowhere to go the sunroof made things feel special. I still have fond memories. Ever since I got my motorcycle though the “open air” of a sunroof or cars in general seems quaint. When the weather is nice enough for an open sunroof I am on my motorcycle. My car now has a sunroof but I keep it closed. If I could have got disc brakes without the sunroof I would have but Honda was still bundling things weird in 2009.

    I would hate to have a panoramic roof with a useless shade to block it. Seems like that would be miserable in the summer.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @SportyAccordy

      Motorcyclists always say that, but I don’t get it. To be safe, you need a full helmet and heavy armored clothes. How exactly is that experiencing the open air? I can drive my Triumph top down in s t-shirt and shorts (I won’t subject he public to the sight of me shirtless) and still be safer than on a motorcycle. Which is why though bikes appeal to me greatly as a gearhead in many ways, I have not taken the leap.

      Or are you one of those who ride in a t-shirt, shorts, and no helmet? In which I case I thank you for being a potential organ donor should I need something someday.

      The panoramic sunroof on my BMW lets no heat through even with the shade open. We have that technology these days – they even put a heat reflective coating on the seats in convertibles.

      • 0 avatar
        pbr

        @khrodes1, IME a convertible is a much more liberated experience than a motorcyle, at least inasfar as being exposed to the elements. Cruising around top-down in even a crappy convertible on a nice day feels much less confined than having a helmet on your head, regardless of how much other gear you do/don’t wear.

        But I don’t think that was really @sporty’s point … I’m guessing he coming more from this direction:

        “Why doesn’t the motorcyclist have any fear when he’s behind the wheel? Because the man hunched over his motorcycle can focus only on the present instant of his flight; he is caught in a fragment of time cut off from both the past and the future; he is wrenched from the continuity of time; he is outside time; in other words, he is in a state of ecstasy; in that state he is unaware of his age, his wife, his children, his worries, and so he has no fear, because the source of fear is in the future, and a person freed of the future has nothing to fear.”
        — Milan Kundera

        For my part, I would rather my cars did not have sunroofs & moonroofs, but the point is negotiable in most cases. I wouldn’t willingly pay extra for one if I could help it, they just don’t belong on some cars and I’d avoid like the plague a model that was prone to rattling or leaking. I prefer convertibles for open-air motoring, dark, close cockpits in my tin-tops and motorcycles for wheeled entertainment.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    My 2012 Impala has the moonroof, and I have grown to love it. It never rattles or leaks, and while I generally don’t have open windows on the highway – too much noise from trucks and other cars, and occasionally noisy pavement like I-275 just over the Lawrenceburg bridge to my Hebron exit – I do like to crack open the moonroof and the rear passenger window a couple inches and I get a nice breeze over my shoulder and that keeps my head cool.

    Once in a while, on my way home from work I get the open-air feeling and open the roof all the way and all windows and cruise home – radio off, of course.

  • avatar
    MBella

    I love sunroofs, and at this point will not own a daily driver without one. The issues only seam to pop up from lack of use, and debris making its way into the track. Keep them clean, lube them every few years, and use it semi regularly and they usually won’t have issues.

    Most cars I don’t have a problem with, but my head did touch the headliner on my 93 Passat. On my 2000 E class wagon, there is buffeting without a window being cracked as well.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I like open and airy as much as anyone. When weather and traffic permit I usually have all four windows down. Five would be better still.

    But I also like sitting upright and when you’re tall you only get to pick one.

  • avatar
    Snavehtrebor

    I’m also in the “wouldn’t buy a car without one” camp. As others have said, you can invite a calm airflow into the cabin by cracking the right rear window (in a 4 door, obvs). I’ve never had a problem with buffeting, although ironically my BMW’s wind deflector teeth make it noisier than it would be without the deflector in place.
    6’2″ and never had an issue with them impeding headroom either. My alltime fave are the ones that tilt and retract over the roof, a la RX-8 and others. Never owned one of those, however, so I’m not sure how they stack up for noise/buffeting/maintenance.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      My 2015 Golf SportWagen has a panoramic sunroof, on which part of the glass slides up and over the roof. So did my 2014 Jetta SportWagen, my 2011 BMW X5, and our 2012 Sonata.

      Even with the panoramic sunroof, the wind deflector at the front of the assembly is still going to be the tallest thing sticking up, and it shapes the air so that it goes up and around the sliding glass, instead of hitting it. So panoramic sunroofs, I’m pleased to report, are no more acoustically-offensive than ordinary ones.

      Maintenance could be a bit of a bigger problem, but I haven’t had any issues other than a faulty wind deflector on the Jetta SportWagen that was rectified under warranty. The one that I’m wary of is the single piece of giant glass on the current Lincoln MKZ, which actually does go all the way back to the decklid, practically.

      • 0 avatar
        Chocolatedeath

        Kyree, I do agree with you on the MKZ but man it looks good when you are sitting in one and its open like that. I fear for long term reliability since this is the first application for it in a Ford/Lincoln product.
        The new Conti is suppose to be the same way so if it works there and is reliable there then I will look at it again.

  • avatar
    skivt

    I read most comments. Is it me, or are sunroof fans are a little happier/”lighter” than the “haters”? Also, as a general rule, cars with sunroofs definitely have less headroom. Get into same model with and without and you’ll see. I have mine open when it’s sunny and over 30. It’s the light and fresh air that does it for me.

  • avatar
    motoridersd

    I’m one of the few people that LOVES a sunroof, and I’m in California (albeit coastal). When the Mazdaspeed 3 came out, and it had no sunroof, I crossed it off my list.

    I currently love the Panoramic Sunroof in my E91. Even with sunny days, I have the liner wide open to let as much light in as possible and open the whole thing along with all the windows to let ALL the fresh air in.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    I have a Pano ( big ass) sunroof in my TDI wagon and love it, I will not by a car without a sunroof and now I only want to look at cars that have the Pano roof, well worth it to me and since it is a wagon lets a ton of light in.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I had issues with the pano sunroof when I had the Jetta SportWagen—including one instance in which the sunroof came half off the track—but that was down to a faulty wind deflector that wouldn’t fold down properly.

      Some of the early Jetta SportWagens also had issues with shattering roofs, but they seem to have sorted that out somewhere after the second model year it was on sale in America.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I love the panoramic sunroof on my Golf SportWagen TDI. Because the piece of glass goes over the roof and the motor is before the rear mirror, the sunroof actually doesn’t take up any extra space.

  • avatar
    7402

    I hate sunroofs and have ordered (and waited . . . ) for several cars over the years just to avoid them. I have two problems. One, I’m tall AND long-waisted. This means that the loss of headroom cannot be accommodated for by reclining the seat a lot, something even less attractive to me as my poor, aching back ages. Two: I don’t want more sun in the car because I have a skin condition that makes too much sun bad for me.

    I’m very glad to hear some manufacturers are beginning to unbundle them.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      They should be a standalone option IMO. That’s how GM sells them, though f*&k them for not offering a sunroof on the Suburban LS or Yukon XL SLE. Why must i buy $5k worth of luxury frippery I don’t want to have a sunroof?

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I used to love me a sunroof – windows down, radio blasting, and the sunroof (aka, the poor man’s convertible) open was great teenage fun.

    My last car with a sunroof, however, was untrustworthy. When opening, BMW engineering meant creaks and groans, or the glass would get stuck halfway. I feared using it and having to get it fixed. So it remained closed 99% of the time.

    Current car – a Scion Xb – was a stripper model. No sunroof. I don’t mind since there are plenty of windows.

    • 0 avatar
      Frylock350

      Sometimes the sunroof is the only “convertible” you can get. Want an SUV or truck and need something bigger than a Wrangler? Too bad. My Silverado’s sunroof has given me no issues thus far, just a PITA to clean (as is the entire roof of the thing).

  • avatar
    Counterpoint

    Ugh I hate sunroofs and would happily pay extra for a sunroof delete option. I’m a little taller than you and sunroofs absolutely do bump into my head on many vehicles. I can’t stand that.
    Sunroofs add extra weight in the worst possible place. The greenhouse effect from having a glass window on the roof causes the interior to heat up more, even with the sliding cover closed.
    Someone tried to break into my old Mercedes sedan through the sunroof and damaged it. Had it repaired but it always leaked a little after that.
    Death to sunroofs!

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    I love sunroofs and order them in all my trucks. It really helps with airflow managament and is a nice complement to the windowlet in the back. Headroom is obviously not a concern in a truck.

    Is it nice out? Roll all the windows down, open the back windowlet, and open the sunroof; gives you a nice airy feeling while driving.

    Driving through a crappy area but still want some fresh air? Sunroof.

    Want a nice quiet airflow through your truck that allows for conversation? Sunroof + rear windowlet.

    Need to quickly bleed heat out of the car? Pop the sunroof.

    I also enjoy the extra light it allows in as well. Best of all with the thick padding on the door that covers it when closed it’s just like having a standard roof. However I’d be hesitant on ordering a sunroof that goes over the vehicle’s roof rather than recede into it. I feel those are the rattlers and probably more likely to leak as well.

  • avatar
    Thorshammer_gp

    I’m pretty indifferent about sunroofs. My mom’s G6 has one that she absolutely hates, but if I have occasion to drive it I’ll go ahead and use it on a nice day. On the other hand, my Impreza doesn’t have one, and I can’t think of a single time where I wished it did.

  • avatar
    roverv8i

    I am in the Love camp for sunroofs, webesto roofs, targa tops, drop tops…..
    I find most cars to be a oppressive tomb without them. In the case of my first car, a Fiero, the sunroof made all the difference to driving the car without the air on. I knew someone that had one without a sunroof and you would question if the windows were even open were it not for the noise.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    I hate sunroofs, and will probably never buy a car with one.

    At 6’3″, maybe you’ve never had problems with headroom, but at 6’6″, I have. Every time.

    Sunroofs typically consume about 1.5-2.0″ of headroom. That’s a lot, when it consumes the last inch above my head.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    Ok. I will be that guy. I love sunroofs. I really love the panoramic kind. If I decide to get a Flex in 3 years that is one of my major draws to it. My wifes ES350 has one. My CX9 has a regular one and I use it all seasons except rain. ( I live in FL) At night I love it. I do keep it closed in June-Aug in the day time due to just plan old being hot. However even though it was 30 degrees the other night I had it open with the heat on.
    My first was on a 89 Volvo 760 Turbo. Biggest single sunroof I have ever seen in my life. I could jump on the car and climb in the roof. My CX 9 sunroof is so small I have to arch my back to look out of it.
    I will never buy another car without one. EVER>

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    I can’t imagine not having a sunroof. With the exception of my early days and cheap or hand-me-down cars, every car I’ve had has had a sunroof. When I see a car without one I think “fleet spec”. At 6’3″, I’ve never had a head-banging experience with one.

    My only disappointment with the Outback is that the sunroof isn’t the panoramic one like the Forrester.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I absolutely LOVE the concept of a sunroof for the same reasons as Doug. Makes the interior lighter, gives a pseudo-convertible feel on those nice days, lets you see the vertical scenery in places. The gigantic panoramic sunroof on my BMW wagon is particularly nice.

    What I hate is the execution of them. In particular, they rob headroom that is much needed by my freakishly long torso. To the point that I had to order my M235i with the sunroof delete option. Actually, I mostly got the M235i over a 228i because I COULD get that sunroof delete while still getting the equipment I wanted. I simply do not fit in that car with the sunroof.

    I have never had a problem with rattling or leaking. I have had to replace a sunroof motor in a Volvo once or twice. Sunroofs generally only leak when the drains are not maintained correctly. I drove one Volvo with the sunroof seal 1/4 missing for a month while a new one was on order – not a drop of water reached the cabin. That seal is primarily for wind noise, not to keep water out.

  • avatar
    55_wrench

    I had a W123 Benz with a sunroof as a daily driver for 9 years.

    Commuting North 880 towards Fremont, I’d pop the roof before the Coleman (Mineta San Jose Airport) exit and time my arrival to be right under an incoming jet.

    They’re about 100 ft over your head there, loads of noise if you hit it just right.

    Other than that, I could take or leave them.

  • avatar
    NewLookFan

    I used to like sunroofs, but not now. In the ’70s, it was VW Beetles for me, and the sunroof was situated where I could see it. That, and I was young and didn’t worry about skin cancer. I also enjoyed the sunroof in my mid-80’s Nissan Pulsar, although I didn’t open the glass panel so much as I opened the shade in the winter. With our new Mazda3 and my being 5’8″, the sunroof is so far back because of the steeply raked windshield that I don’t even notice the darn thing. And in spite of being as short as I am, I occasionally hit my head on the headliner. The sunroof could go away and I wouldn’t even miss it, but it’s her car and she loves it.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Mark me down as firmly in the “must have” camp. Every car i’ve ever owned has had one with the exception of my Cherokee Sport and I missed it.

    I find they are perfect for spring New England days where the sun is strong by it’s too cold to keep the side windows open. Pop the roof and it’s perfect!

    Plus, I like the extra light in the otherwise black cockpit of the ST

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Love them! My Volvo XC70 has a glass one, my now classic ’91 Mercedes Benz 420 SEL has a metal one. I prefer the metal on the Merc simply because I don’t have to pull a shade to block light, like on the Volvo. Either way, I wouldn’t own a car without. Especially here in Arizona. It is a great way to air your car out, when it’s 117. Plus, the rest of the year it’s pure enjoyment! IMO.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I will agree that sometimes a sunroof can bring too much glare into the driver’s eyes. Sometimes. But I’ll also note that having two different vehicles now with a sunroof, I really don’t want to go without them on any subsequent cars if I can avoid it. I like having the ability to crack it open and change the airflow inside the car, making it much easier to cool on warm days and keeping the wind out of my ears. When fully open the sunroof gives you a bit of that convertible appeal–the feeling of having the top down and enjoying the open air as you drive.

    Of course, a sunroof can’t fully replace a true convertible, but with so few true convertibles on the road and most of them sports cars incapable of serving as a family car, the sunroof is often your only choice.

  • avatar
    bunkie

    I test-drove an MKZ with the panoramic sunroof. It was a sunny, reasonably warm winter day. With the seat heaters on and the sunroof full open it was glorious, damned close to a convertible experience.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    The most amazing sunroof equipped vehicle I ever owned was a 2002 Avalanche.

    In the summer months you could remove the tailgate, remove the three rigid cargo covers, remove the rear windows, fold the rear seats, drop the Midgate, roll all 4 windows down and open up the sunroof. You now had a nearly completely open cabin 19-1/2 foot long 3 ton 4 wheel drive 2 seater. I would drive home from work in that configuration on a warm summer day – was so amazing.

    The best factory sunroof I ever had was in the 1989 Ford Probe. It was HUGE, quiet when open, and not subject to buffeting. It was manual, which was a PITA.

    I’ve found the womenfolk in my life don’t like a sunroof, either too cold, blows the hair around too much, or fear of skin cancer.

    Next ride probably won’t have one – happy wife – happy life!

  • avatar

    I special ordered my BMW with NO sunroof. I was pleased my last car had no sunroof as well. Buying used, I have the “ultraview” roof in the Caddy, and it just scares me…..

    This is a No Choice option. You want leather ? Better Stereo ? Unless you are special ordering the car, which is rough unless one of the high dollar Germans (where you can afford the roof but you don’t want it).

    Lose headroom, get leaks. Another set of motors and joints to fail.

    They are selling you the romance of a convertible car. I can drive my ‘vert at 80, but the sunroof needs closing over 25 mph. Useless, and only exists as a way for the manufacturer to bump the price of the car $2.5k for a setup costing them $100…maybe.

    I’m a “no, not unless I ask specifically for it”

  • avatar
    olddavid

    I’m in the slicktop column. The Panorama roof of the SL Mercedes is my lone exception.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    Somebody please ELI5 how a sunroof/moonroof decreases headroom. Not that I immediately disbelieve everyone, but I’m just looking at the one in my Mazda and I just can’t see how not having a sunroof would make it any taller.

    • 0 avatar

      Good Q, as so many cars have them designed in. If you are over 5’10, you notice. A car that has no sunroof-next to one with one, you can easily see how, even tucked in well, the sunroof takes 4-7 inches out.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      The roofline is the same whether the car has a hole cut for the sunroof or not. In many cars, the sunroof retracts to the inside – there has to be space for:

      – The frame and sliding tracks
      – The motor and associated gear
      – Room for the glass to be retracted under the surface of the roof.
      – Room for a sliding shade below that.

      Sandwiched all together, it can cut a bit of space. Some cars have a sunroof that retracts above the roof, almost like a spoiler, so less space is sacrificed.

      The thing is, cars are so tall now, there should be enough extra space. I could see it as an issue on a ’91 Accord, but there’s so much vertical space in modern cars (even sedans), it seems to be more an issue of people raising their seats for a “commanding” driving position. We’re all shaped a bit differently though. I have a short torso and long limbs – I’ve learned to take it with a grain of salt when someone tells me a car is great for tall people, because more often than not that means a high seat and my knees scrunched up (Scion xB 1st gen, for instance).

  • avatar

    My 84 Shelby Charger had a sunroof. Had I bought the car new I would not have wanted one, but I grew to like certain things about it. Mine was “hinged” at the front so it hand crank opened from the rear. It could be completely removed also. Not much wind noise and it could be open in the rain if desired. It could be opened just a crack or fully opened – about 2 inches I think. I liked being able to get fresh air through the car and it was a great option to rolling down the windows. I liked the extra light it provided, but I disliked the extra heat that it created in the Summer. I actually tinted it down a couple of notches so I still had light, but the heat was reduced. Mine never leaked. Only tried driving with it removed once and the wind noise was too much. I suspect in town at less than 30 mph would have been fine. Also, no headroom issues due to it’s design being flush with the roof of the car. The actual interior “ceiling” was lower than the sunroof by about an inch. I would land in the middle – not seeking a sunroof out, but okay if the used car I was buying had one

  • avatar
    MWolf

    I love my sunroof. I use it three seasons out of the year. I agree about the light! Especially if you have a dark colored interior. It’s also good ventilation if you don’t want air blowing directly in your face from opening a regular window, but don’t need AC. You just want fresh air and light. Why is that wrong?

  • avatar
    docoski

    Moonroof in a 90 Accord EX had me hooked, at 73 inches never a problem. It was a manual, I think 5 speed but willing to be completely wrong on that point. A low belt line that seemed to be at my navel with a light grey interior, there was never a lack of light. Keeping either the cover open or the window completely retracted on drives up and down 101 from the Bay Area to Ventura County I loved the light, the wind, the views, the music. What about that manual automatic option? Sing to me, Doug! On my 08 MDX it’s the way I drive my car: on South Texas freeways where OH MY GOD THERE’S A HILL, CRUISE CONTROL DON’T YOU KNOW THERE’S A HILL?!? I can power past hapless motorists kicking it down to 4th gear and maintaining speed, using downshifts to 4th and 3rd on freeways to better maneuver in decelerating traffic and offramps and zip into traffic with short onramps. I always thought it clunky to slam on the brakes or rely on the car to anticipate which of 5 gears to hit when. Still working on that telepathy thing. I miss that 90 Accord EX MT. Love the sunroof. Don’t think I’d ever go whole hog and get that Murano convertible thing.

    • 0 avatar
      Occam

      I had a ’92 Accord without a moonroof. Yes, it was a 5 speed. Yes, that car had a freakishly low dash and beltline – too low for me. I don’t like a huge greenhouse in a car – it felt like riding around in the Pope-Mobile. I want the beltline around shoulder height, and to feel that I’m sitting in the car, rather than on it.

      “What about that manual automatic option? Sing to me, Doug! On my 08 MDX it’s the way I drive my car: on South Texas freeways where OH MY GOD THERE’S A HILL, CRUISE CONTROL DON’T YOU KNOW THERE’S A HILL?!? I can power past hapless motorists kicking it down to 4th gear and maintaining speed, using downshifts to 4th and 3rd on freeways to better maneuver in decelerating traffic and offramps and zip into traffic with short onramps. I always thought it clunky to slam on the brakes or rely on the car to anticipate which of 5 gears to hit when. Still working on that telepathy thing.”

      When I’m in a rental with an automatic, I rarely use the manual upshift option, but I use the manual downshift pretty frequently. Descending a hill constantly on and off the brake pedal to control speed is no way to drive. Automatics have always had the PRND321 options (or something similar), but having the downshift paddle next to my left middle finger is incredibly convenient.

      • 0 avatar
        Frylock350

        Shoulder height is too high for a beltline IMO. I prefer it to be a few inches lower than that. Modern pickup trucks have great greenhouses. The beltline on my Silverado is perfect height. Shoulder height reduces visibility too much.

        • 0 avatar
          Occam

          You need a lower beltline in a truck, as the ride height makes lines of visibility more important. The little “see to the side” notches cut in the doors of the F150 are great for this. With a low car, it’s not terribly important because:

          – You’re not going to hide any vehicles in the wedge of blindness below the windowsills.

          – You can still see about as far into the next lane as in a taller vehicle.

          Unless you need to watch for incoming missiles, there’s not much need to see upwards, so a the windows don’t need to be very tall. You can easily get along with a side window that is 10-12 inches tall – keeping the top low helps avoid glare from the sun at low angles without needing to flip the visor to the side.

          Rear visibility is a bigger problem, but it seems that backup cameras and blind-spot lane-change sensors are going to be standard on everything larger than a Wal-Mart motorized shopping cart.

          I don’t get the griping about short windows that are constantly on here. If I can see a Miata the next lane over, the windows are fine. It’s a bit disconcerting, even claustrophobic for some initially if you’re used to more glass, but it’s hardly dangerous.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The 4th-Gen Accord is still my benchmark!!! My Dad had a 1991 EX in Hampshire Green Metallic that was truly a thinking man’s BMW!! Started my long like of Hondas and sunroofs!

  • avatar
    Maymar

    The two cars I’ve owned with sunroofs were a decade-old Cavalier (a Mexican-built one, even – the horror!) and Accent. Neither of them leaked or rattled, but both were nice little things to have on otherwise plain (or outright dreadful in the Hyundai’s case) cars. Beyond having the extra light, the sunroof was also great in the Cavalier. They were bad for burning out the blower motor resistor so you’d lose the most frequently used speeds. Vent the roof, and it sucked out air at a pleasant pace without going to full hurricane blast speeds on the fan.

    It wasn’t an option on my current car, but it’s definitely something I’d get again.

  • avatar
    olivebranch2006

    I love sunroofs and always have. I used to think in the mindset that maybe I should avoid them because all sunroofs leak. Wife and I bought our 2011 F-250 without a sunroof and now I regret it. Reading issues and other owners comments gives me the impression that they rarely leak unless a specific model has a design flaw.

    My favorite sunroof of all time is the Land Rover LR4 / Discovery. Three individual sunroofs, one for each row of seats. It was so airy and bright in that car. The kids loved having a sunroof above them in the 3rd row it made them feel so special. When we decided not to buy that car because we needed a bigger trunk with the 3rd row in use, my oldest sons face looked very disappointed.

    New Volvo xc90 full length sunroof was neat but I agree with other readers here in the idea that a flimsy piece of fabric doesn’t shade bright sunlight. Have a real sunroof cover volvo! Make it thick material that does something!

  • avatar
    glwillia

    I have a moonroof in my E46 BMW and wish I didn’t. I just leave the shade closed all the time, but it’s something extra to break/leak/etc, which is worth considering when you drive a 15-year-old German car. I also don’t like the extra light in the cabin, enough gets in with the windows.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      Totally disagree. I also have an E46 coupe and love the helloutta my sunroof option. It brings so much more light into the green house for starters and I like that I can pop it open during the hot summer months to air out the interior, so the skin on my legs won’t adhere to the leather seats. Especially looking forward to that first warm day in Spring where I can open all the windows (to include the two rear quarter windows that open out mechanically, love that feature) and sunroof open, Kenwood blasting. Great feeling.

  • avatar
    Johann

    Surely every knows you have a sunroof to leave it on tilt on a warm sunny day to let the warm air out when you park it somewhere in the heat? It lets light in as well of course but to me the main reason for having a sunroof it to let heat out when parked. It is not rocket science that heat rises… So you can come back to a car that is not baking hot inside.

  • avatar
    kvndoom

    I’m 6’2 but I’m more legs than torso [height-wise anyway, not necessarily diameter-wise :( ].

    Sunroofs are a must for me… I can’t stand being too hot. In the summer it helps gets the hot air out of the car, and in the winter when I am forced to use defrost it gets the hot air out as well.

    When the weather is nice, I never touch the thing… The extra light coming down is a major distraction. So I guess for me it’s more of a temperature regulating tool than an actual luxury.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      Has anyone ever thought of having that piece of glass in the roof tinted even darker than it already is? Especially towards the front where, depending on how you sit, the sun gets directly in your eyes? I personally love my sunroof for most of the reasons mentioned, though I agree at certain times of the day if you’re driving towards the sun, that direct light can be a pain. My Fiat 500 has a roll-back ‘screen’ to filter the sun even when the glass is open. It’s a big help.

  • avatar
    heoliverjr

    I’ve loved sunroofs ever since my mom had a 1st gen Maxima with one and fell even more in love with em when my dad got an 9th gen Eldorado with a moonroof! Drive a car with a sunroof now and I love it, nice for extra air on a nice day, great for a little air circulation on days not warm enough for ac but not cold enough for heat. Also great on that cold winter morning when someone lets out that gas that smells like their insides are rotting and you want to get rid of that smell without letting in too much cold! I also read in my car every lunch break so that extra bit of light is handy. I do hate sunroofs that require wind deflectors mounted on the roof, I have bad memories of a 1st gen Toyota Avalon with a loose deflector that made way too much noise and the wind noise was horrendous when it came completely off! Also don’t care for sunroofs that slide back over the roof of the car when open, don’t like the look. Sunroof on my car has neither of those things so I LOVE it.

  • avatar
    TrstnBrtt89

    I’m in the minority that likes sunroofs. When I was replacing my 98 S70 with a wagon probably the most important feature was finding one with a wagon. Unfortunately on old Volvo’s getting a sunroof almost always comes paired with an automatic transmission. Almost all the manuals are “stripper” models with next to nothing on them, granted on 15-20 year old cars you aren’t getting much in the way of creature comforts.

  • avatar
    lon888

    Sunroofs? Love ’em – really wouldn’t buy a car without one. Why? Here in Oklahoma are summers get hotter than hell. Set sunroof to “pop up mode” and I have an excellent heat vent without the security risk of a cracked window. I have never had one leak, rattle or come off track (and that’s pretty amazing for a VW product) since first purchasing one in 1988.

  • avatar
    aquaticko

    I’m 6’5″, and my ’06 Forester (purchased in 2015 with ~118k miles on it) has the only two luxury features I ever was or probably ever will be interested in: heated seats and a sunroof. Note: heated CLOTH seats; I can’t stand leather seating, in cars or anywhere else, so to find a practical car that had heated cloth seats, a big sunroof, good visibility, and wasn’t enormous was basically a sign from the heavens.

  • avatar
    MTX-75 FTW

    I am with you, I LOVE sunroofs. Of the eleven cars I have owned in my life, only four did not have sunroofs, and one of those four was a Jeep Wrangler and another is a Mazda Miata. In fact, I just bought a 2016 Ford Focus SE with only one option, a sunroof. I didn’t think I’d be able to find one as dealers tend to order sunroofs on cars that are loaded up with options.

  • avatar
    DownUnder2014

    My Dad’s car (2013 Toyota Prius V) could’ve had the sunroof option, but it wasn’t worth the extra A$8000 it would’ve cost to get it. Personally I’m indifferent to Sunroofs. If it has one, I’ll use it. If it doesn’t, I don’t mind. I probably wouldn’t pay extra for it however, if it was an option.

  • avatar
    FormerFF

    It was in the upper 60’s for tonight’s ride home, it’s sunroof weather again. I opened the back windows a little, left the front windows closed, for just about the perfect amount of air. It’s well worth the money.

  • avatar
    voicemint

    When I owned my first car with a sunroof, I hardly used it because it was manual and completely opaque — not glass. My next car, a Honda Prelude had an electric moonroof (glass sunroof)… and I used it almost every time I got into the car. If the weather was inclement, the sunshade was back. Otherwise, the top was open.

    I don’t think anyone today makes a sunroof without glass, so “moonroof” as a word is probably obsolete. So, not only does a sunroof allow natural light in from above, you can also get to see things you wouldn’t ordinarily notice. At times I’ve been able to view through it the driver of an 18-wheeler driving along side me. Or skyscrapers in Manhattan. Plus, open it up and the air… it’s so nice. For a while I owned 2 convertibles (a Miata and an Audi TTQR), which made me terribly sad to sell off when sensibility called for it. After owning a convertible, a hard top with no sunroof is like prison. It makes me terribly sad about the Porsche Cayman, as I love the car overall but would never own one for the lack of an available sunroof.

    As for noisy and rattling, those days are long over. All modern cars I’ve been in that have them are solid. My A3 has an “Open Sky” sunroof system, with 2 panels (one for front, one for rear passengers) where only the front opens. When closed, the panoramic view is amazing–largest sunroof in its class. I just wish when it opened that it would slide back another full inch. The only other complaint is that the sunshades are translucent and let a little too much light and heat into the car. Tilting the sunroof on a hot day is almost mandatory.

  • avatar
    stereorobb

    i love sunroofs. yeah, they can kill, they can creak, rattle, leak, get stuck, but i love them and wont drive a car without one!

    im one of the unfortunate people that knows not only what its like to be ejected through a moonroof in an accident, but a closed one at that! cave me a real real bad concussion and picked glass out of my scalp for ages, but it was my own dumbass fault for it happening. didnt kill my love for the sunroof tho.


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