Don't Let the Sun Shine In: 2018 Hyundai Sonata Eliminates the Panoramic Sunroof

Timothy Cain
by Timothy Cain
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
don t let the sun shine in 2018 hyundai sonata eliminates the panoramic sunroof
“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.

In 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 and the founder and former editor of Follow on Twitter @timcaincars.

Timothy Cain
Timothy Cain

More by Timothy Cain

Join the conversation
3 of 31 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Jul 26, 2017

    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....

  • Dilrod Dilrod on Jul 26, 2017

    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.

    • Xylott Xylott on Aug 03, 2017

      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).

  • MaintenanceCosts So there is no Sonata trim without some type of Theta engine.It seems like they've been doing a bit better when attached to a hybrid system, so that's probably the one to get, but they're going to have to go several years without further engine troubles before I'd trust a H/K ICE product again.
  • Lou_BC Full sized sort of autonomous RC's. Cute.
  • Art_Vandelay Autonomous capabilities are being deployed (or planned anyway) in multiple combat vehicles. Should be fun from my perspective
  • Drew8MR Interior is trivial now you can get repro everything in various levels of quality. Getting the top sorted will be a couple grand, but I'd drive it as it. I drove a $1500 67 GTO convertible for 20 years, not every old car needs to be like new.
  • John Not everyone pays that much for power. Mine is 10 cents per kw…..