What’s the difference between a sunroof and moonroof?

September 27, 2022
The sun streams in through a car sunroof.

If you’ve ever wanted a little extra fresh air or sunlight while driving, a sunroof or moonroof can provide both without letting all the weather in. Whether you’re trying to decide if you want to purchase a new vehicle with a sunroof or moonroof or you’d like to have one added to your current car, there are a few things you’ll want to know first.

What is a sunroof?

These days, the terms “sunroof” and “moonroof” are often used interchangeably by manufacturers and consumers alike; however, there is a difference between the two. A sunroof is an opaque metal panel that’s usually the same color as the body of the car and can be manually tilted or removed. [1]

What is a moonroof?

A moonroof, on the other hand, is a transparent sliding tinted glass panel that is not removable. Moonroofs can also come with a retractable shade, which can be electric or manual. Moonroofs are more popular than sunroofs in more recently manufactured vehicles. [1]

What is a panoramic sunroof?

An increasingly popular type of sunroof in newer vehicles, panoramic sunroofs are a style of sunroof in which most of the roof of the car is made of glass, yet just the panel above the two front seats slides open. [1]

What types of cars can have sunroofs?

Though sometimes perceived as a luxurious feature, luxury vehicles aren’t the only cars that can have a sunroof or moonroof. With sunroofs being such a desirable feature in cars, a growing number of vehicles have them, often as an add-on feature, though panoramic sunroofs are usually found only in SUVs. These are just a few of the cars you can find on the market that have sunroofs or an option to add one: [2] [6] [7]

  • Honda Civic
  • Honda Fit
  • Ford Fiesta
  • Hyundai Sonata
  • Kia Soul
  • Hyundai Tuscon
  • Ford Flex
  • Chevrolet Blazer
  • Jeep Renegade
  • Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Subaru Ascent
  • Toyota Corolla
  • Nissan Sentra
  • Volvo S60

Can you add a sunroof/moonroof to a car?

If your car was not built with a sunroof or moonroof, you can get one installed if your car has the appropriate factory-requisite architecture. Installing a sunroof could also void your car’s warranty in certain instances. You’ll want a trusted professional to complete the installation, as it is a complicated process, that if done improperly, can result in leaks that could damage your car’s interior. [3]

How much does it cost to install a sunroof?

How much it will cost to install a sunroof will depend on the type of sunroof you want added to your vehicle. A pop-up sunroof is the most affordable option, usually costing between $400 and $900 to install. You can expect a power-operated moonroof to cost $1,200 to $2,500 to install and a panoramic sunroof will be the most costly option at about $1,500 to $2,300 for installation. [4]

Are sunroofs safe?

Generally speaking, sunroofs are safe. However, car manufacturers don’t have any safety regulations they need to abide by when building sunroofs into vehicles. That means that some sunroofs can be made with tempered glass that’s more prone to shattering upon impact. If you find this concerning, you can look for vehicles that have laminated glass in the sunroof instead or ask that the sunroof installed in your vehicle is made with laminated glass. This is the same kind of glass that’s used on cars’ windshields and it’s less prone to shattering. [5]

A sunroof can help make driving a more enjoyable experience, and so can the peace of mind that comes with having reliable insurance. For insurance you can trust, Nationwide is here with a personal plan to fit your needs.


[1] “Moonroof vs. Sunroof: What’s the Difference?” cars.com/articles/whats-the-difference-between-a-sunroof-and-a-moonroof-1420666252506/

[2] “The Best Cars With Sunroofs, Moonroofs & Panoramic Roofs,” compare.com/ways-to-save/vehicle/best-cars-with-a-sunroof

[3] “Can You Add a Sunroof to a Car – And How Do You Go About It?” motorverso.com/can-you-add-a-sunroof-to-a-car/

[4] “Sunroof Installation Cost,” thepricer.org/sunroof-installation-cost/

[5] “Your Sunroof Is More Dangerous Than You Think,” kgglaw.com/auto-accident/your-sunroof-is-more-dangerous-than-you-think/

[6] “9 Best SUV With Panoramic Sunroof for 2021,” locardeals.com/suv-with-panoramic-sunroof/


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