By on July 25, 2017

2018 Hyundai Sonata sunroof - Image: Hyundai“It’s getting hot in here, so take off all your roofs.” — Not Nelly, 2002

Citing weight reduction and consequent improvements in fuel economy, Hyundai Motor America has removed the panoramic sunroof from every Sonata model for the 2018 model year.

Is the move away from vast sunroofs, spanning the breadth and length of the roof, back to conventional sunroofs truly going to result in measurable real-world fuel savings? No. Even a major engineering change such as the Sonata 2.0T’s new eight-speed automatic doesn’t translate to meaningful fuel efficiency gains: the combined EPA fuel economy for the 2018 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T remains the same as it was in 2017 at 26 miles per gallon.

Nor is the reduction of high-mounted panoramic sunroof’s weight and the subsequent lowering of the Sonata’s center of gravity going to be a major boon to the everyday handling of a mainstream midsize sedan.

Maybe the 2018 Sonata’s handling improves, unnoticeably. Perhaps the Sonata becomes more fuel efficient, insignificantly. But the real reason Hyundai has removed the panoramic sunroof from the 2018 Sonata? Blame Vitamin D.

In 2014, the final year of the previous-generation Sonata, there were no sunroofs on the basic GLS, an optional sunroof on the SE, a standard sunroof on the Limited, and an optional panoramic sunroof on the Limited. As for the hi-po models, a regular sunroof was optional on the base Sonata 2.0T SE and standard on the Sonata 2.0T Limited; a panoramic sunroof was optional on the Limited 2.0T.2015 Hyundai Sonata 2.0T panoramic sunroof - Image: HyundaiIn 2015, the first year of the latest Sonata, a panoramic sunroof was optional on the 2.4-liter Sonata Limited and the 2.0T Sport.

In 2016, the Sonata Sport was available with a sunroof while the Sonata Limited had a standard sunroof and an optional panoramic unit. The 2.0T Limited, new for 2016, had a standard panoramic sunroof.

In 2017, every Hyundai Sonata Limited 2.0T was equipped, as standard, with a panoramic sunroof. A conventional sunroof was optional on the 2.4-liter-powered Sport and standard on the Limited, but the Limited’s option of a panoramic sunroof was gone.

Now in 2018, with the thoroughly refreshed Sonata aiming to use its aggressive new nose to steal attention away from the all-new 2018 Toyota Camry and 2018 Honda Accord, a conventional sunroof is standard on the Sport and Limited; unavailable on the SE and SEL. On both 2.0T models, the Sport and Limited, conventional sunroofs are standard fit.

Panoramics are out of the picture, according to Automotive News, because Hyundai’s consumers in sunshine states can’t handle the incoming heat.

That isn’t the only problem, to be fair. The panoramic sunroof has by times been part of expensive option packages. Customers may want some of the package’s features but don’t want to pay for the glass. Other customers may want the panoramic glass but don’t want the accompanying features. In 2016, for example, the Limited’s panoramic sunroof was wrapped into a $3,100 Tech package that included ventilated front seats, Infinity audio, a heated steering wheel, and numerous other pieces of equipment.

Hyundai has also been known to have quality issues with panoramic sunroofs. Late last year, a recall included nearly 63,000 Sonatas because “the tempered glass sunroof panel can detach from the sunroof assembly.”

Panoramic sunroofs aren’t gone from the Hyundai lineup altogether, mind you. The Tucson, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe, Veloster, and all-new Elantra GT all offer panoramic roofs that let the sun shine where the Sonata no longer lets the sun shine.

[Images: Hyundai]

Timothy Cain is a contributing analyst at The Truth About Cars and Autofocus.ca and the founder and former editor of GoodCarBadCar.net. Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

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31 Comments on “Don’t Let the Sun Shine In: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eliminates the Panoramic Sunroof...”


  • avatar
    xtoyota

    How about this reason…..no fancy sun roof but keep the price the same = more profit for Hyundai

    • 0 avatar
      Wraiththe

      SO I am confused. We just purchased a Sonata Limited with the tech package. We were a little concerned about the Panoramic Sunroof (I think it was made in May 2018.) Hyundai claimed they got the kinks worked out and we have a wrap on the warranty to 100K. Should we be concerned?

  • avatar
    jh26036

    Slow news day

  • avatar
    darex

    Sounds more like Hyundai never managed to sort out their spontaneously shattering sunroof problem.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “Panoramics are out of the picture, according to Automotive News, because Hyundai’s consumers in sunshine states can’t handle the incoming heat.”

    That’s hard to believe.

    a) Nobody is forcing them to buy the option.
    b) Perhaps Hyundai should engineer a less passive sunroof.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      For A, Actually they are.

      Hyundai doesn’t let you choose specific options. The sunroof comes standard on the higher trims.

      For B, I agree… although Hyundais was WAY BETTER than cadillacs. Even “closed” I’d be blinded by the sun on the caddy. At least hyundai blocks the sunlight.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      A) They’ve taken the approach where the sunroof is bundled in with specific packages. Want it? Then shell out for the “Tech Package” on the “Limited” or “Ultimate” trims of some models. For instance the only way to get a sunroof on a Tucson now is by shelling out another $2750 which forces you with HID headlights which have been rated lower than the LED lamps that come on the limited without the technology package. The same crap applies to the Optima, which still comes with panoramic sunroof for 2018.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        And the other way around… If I wanted features WITHOUT the sunroof (which is what I traditionally want), thats not an option, which is frustrating.

        I would have bought the Maxima I think if I could have gotten it without a sunroof!

  • avatar
    TheDoctorIsOut

    Put a ceramic film limo tint on the top of my late Jetta wagon after the sun are through the woven plastic screen, 99% UV rejection and extremely effective.

    • 0 avatar
      BrentinWA

      Seriously!? The Jetta is that much crap that the SUNroof SUNblind can’t stand up to… SUN!? Keep on shelling out for that superior german engineering.

  • avatar
    arach

    I think they “gave up” on the redesign.

    Seriously think the 2015-2017 was the “high time” for the Sonata.

    It seems like they did a drastic manufacturing cost cut. Mind you the sales price declined too, so thats something no one is mentioning… a 2018 fully loaded is quite a bit cheaper than its predecessors, so to maintain margins, they had to cheap out on the product.

    I however Love my 2015. I thought I’d become a Sonata buyer for life, but the 2018 seems like a HUGE step backwards in all ways- the back of the car, the front of the car, the top of the car. It just feels odd to see cars step backwards, but maybe they admitted they “went too far”.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      “It seems like they did a drastic manufacturing cost cut.”

      Manufacturing where? They still offer 2 roof options, unlike just dropping it completely which would be one roof option. HMMA still builds 3 different cars on 3 different platforms, don’t see where they cost cut anything.

      • 0 avatar
        arach

        Panoramic roof is probably quite a bit more expensive than the normal drop in sunroof. New taillight and bumper design is probably cheaper to manufacture. Some of the interior tweaks actually look like they were simplifying/streamlining. I could be wrong, but the good news is the price dropped by a few thousand bucks.

        Since they sell well over 200k a year, if they cut costs even by a few hundred bucks, that can put 80 million on the bottom line.

        • 0 avatar
          Liger

          I think the key phrase in the article is Hyundai Motor AMERICA. They are no longer importing/building the car’s with the panoramic moon roof, yet I’m sure they are still being produced for countries besides america. Hyundai’s typically have lots more available options in Korea, vs the US.

          So no money is being saved by manufacturing.

          I really believe the high point was 2011-2014. Sales were never better for the sonata that generation. The last generation was so generic, as well as having lower output on the engines that it serves them right they have lower sales.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    Meh, I never understood these roofs anyways. They seemed to always make noise, have problems, made the cabin extra hot.

    A standard moonroof is good enough and cheaper i’m sure.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      My kids LOVE the roofs that go back to the rear. I had it on my cadillac CTS and my Hyundai Sonata.

      The normal sunroofs are so tiny I don’t know how anyone can enjoy it. Whats the point of paying like an extra grand for a 1′ x 2′ spot rear passengers can’t even see out?

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Agreed on most points. It doesn’t have to make the cabin extra hot, though I’m sure there are some that do.

      I do think they are all rattletraps, with numerous opportunities for breakage that are prohibitively expensive to fix. They also cut rear headroom, and most vehicles don’t have much to spare these days due to sloped roof styling trends.

      Basically all the complaints you hear about regular sunroofs, except exponentially worse.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I liked the sun roof on my Audi because after parking all day I could open it remotely and cool down the car quicker. I have the same feature in the Acura but the range is much shorter and so less useful. But the AC is much more powerful and I don’t live in Texas anymore so it’s all about a wash.

  • avatar
    dwford

    This is typical Hyundai, reduce content in the later model years of a design. The panoramic sunroof was a distinguishing feature of the Sonata vs the competition, but I’m guessing that their market research determined that buyers don’t really care, so Hyundai cut the option.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Eh – I say good riddance.

      Too many buyers didn’t want the pana-roof, but were forced to get it if they wanted the higher trims.

      Less noise/rattles, more structural rigidity, less problematic/potential for problems down the road, etc.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Looks like my goal of buying a manual transmission, panoramic sunroof equipped car is becoming more difficult….

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    No paroramic roof, less maintenance cost under warranty!

  • avatar
    whitworth

    It would probably be a deal breaker in the climate I live in, all that glass would be hot.

    Regardless, I’ve always thought panoramic sunroofs were a silly gimmick.

    • 0 avatar
      Liger

      I have a ford escape with the bamr roof. It has a shade to block out the sun. But I agree it is a gimmick. The shade is drawn more than 99% of the time, but it is nice to have on a nice evening so you can see the sky.

  • avatar
    stuki

    Maybe the incoming crop of Korean engineers have gone all Japanese’y. Stuffed themselves with enough Western food so that they are now beefcakes of Western proportions. Hence the added headroom, for when they open their mouths wide enough to bite over those animal style four-by-fours….

  • avatar
    Dilrod

    I’ve got this on my 2013. I think it’s pretty nifty, but it will get hot inside if the sun is right during the summer. Actually a bonus during winter in Minnesota.

    • 0 avatar
      xylott

      This is a little disappointing. I currently own two Hyundai, both with the panoramic sunroof: 2013 Sonata Limited and 2016 Genesis. I am a big fan of these sunroofs for the very reason most people are complaining: it allows a lot of sun and heat into the vehicle. In the summer, I close the shade to limit the heat when parked, but in the winter, I leave it open for a wonderful warm vehicle. As for complaints on head room, this does not reduce the head room at all and I’m 6 foot tall with plenty of room between my head and the roof.
      It’s disappointing because the panoramic sunroof has a bit of luxury feel to it and it was impressive that the 2010-2014 sonatas had this available (which I jumped on for my commute vehicle).

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