A panoramic sunroof is a desirable option for many modern cars, and it’s easy to see why. They make the cabin feel airy and less claustrophobic which makes the driving experience way more pleasing for both the front and the rear passengers alike.
However, panoramic sunroofs introduce a new variable for both practicality and maintenance, so much so that some people believe that opting for a panoramic sunroof creates unnecessary problems which can easily be avoided.
That might be the case if you are not a fan of what a panoramic roof gives you, and it’s then obvious why you should skip it. On the other hand, if you reckon that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks, then opting for a panoramic sunroof is a worthy consideration, if it’s even available of course.
There are different types of sunroofs out there, and the larger ones are usually costly to replace if anything goes wrong. Be that as it may, they make the car feel more comfortable, more enjoyable no matter where you are sitting.
Sunroof benefits – Extra Visibility, Extra Style, Extra Light, Extra Air
Visibility is an often overlooked benefit of a sunroof because people who are not used to owning a car with a sunroof are not even aware of this. Nevertheless, a decently sized sunroof enables you to enjoy the fireworks, the stars, or the northern lights from the comforts of your cabin.
Large panoramic sunroofs are almost always tinted to protect the occupants from the sun, but this also means that the roof is in a nice contrasting color to the rest of the car. This can dramatically improve the way a car looks, particularly if the car carries a brighter contrasting color.
However, the best aspects of a sunroof are the extra air and the extra light. As most cars are equipped with darker interiors, they can sometimes feel a bit dark and miserable inside. If you own a panoramic sunroof, you can make your car feel more alive on the inside which is great for those who spend a lot of time on the road.
Furthermore, being able to let some air in through the sunroof is priceless on a warm summer night because it also enables you to smell and connect with your surroundings even more.
Sunroof drawbacks – Costs, Practicality, Weight, Complexity
Even though I am a huge advocate for panoramic sunroofs, it’s impossible to deny that they are far from being perfect because they cost a lot of money. If you want a larger sunroof that encompasses the entire roof, you are looking at a few thousand dollars more which means that a pan roof is often the most expensive option you can get on a car.
Even though it costs so much, it almost always decreases the car’s practicality because it lowers the car’s roofline which eats into passenger headspace. This is not an issue if you are not a particularly tall individual, but if you are, this is a dealbreaker.
A panoramic sunroof is often constructed out of a few sheets of glass which can sometimes weigh twice as much as a regular roof does which means that cars with panoramic sunroofs are noticeably less efficient. If you value performance, a higher center of gravity also means that the car is not as agile as it otherwise would be without a pan roof.
Finally, a panoramic sunroof adds an entirely new level of complexity which can often create problems that should not even exist. If you crack your pan roof, it can cost you obscene amounts of money to fix it, moreover, the mechanism that supports the opening part can also break.
Different types of sunroofs – Worst to Best
There are different types of sunroofs out there, and the most popular ones are a standard panoramic sunroof, a large panoramic sunroof, and an old-school sunroof. Between the three, the old school sunroof can always be opened, a standard pan roof is also often openable, but the larger ones are usually fixed in place.
This means that larger pan roofs are only there to let in extra light, but they are way too large for them to be opened. A standard pan roof is the best pick of the bunch because it is large enough for it to be noticed and it can also be opened.
An old-school sunroof is the worst one of the bunch because it hardly lets any air or light in and it is usually constructed using old techniques which are nowhere near as reliable as newer ones.
How much does a panoramic roof cost?
It depends on the car and the model year, but it’s safe to say that most newer automakers will charge you anywhere between $1k to $2k for a standard-sized sunroof. This is the type of sunroof that can easily be opened by sliding and is the most common type of sunroof on the market.
On the other hand, a larger sunroof can cost as much as 5 times as that depending on the car in question. Some brands like Ferrari will charge you as much as $30k for a panoramic sunroof which is rather ridiculous.
Do cars with sunroofs cost more to insure?
Sunroofs tend to influence the general safety level of a car because they do impact structural integrity and add more weight on top. Furthermore, a glass roof establishes an entirely new variable that might break, and thus increase the cost of insurance.
So yes, a car equipped with a panoramic roof does cost more to insure. However, this should not be viewed as a major drawback because many factors such as these are hardly ever an issue on modern cars.
Are cars with sunroofs safe?
Cars equipped with a sunroof are indeed safe, but in reality, they are not as safe as cars without one. A sunroof is essentially a large hole on the top of your car, and it’s reasonable to think that it won’t be able to support the weight a regular roof does.
In addition to that, a sunroof drastically increases the chance of leakage which is often hard to fix to an OEM standard. All in all, cars with sunroofs are safe, and you should not worry about them being dangerous. However, if you want the safest experience possible, it’s best to avoid a car with a sunroof.