What’s the Difference between Moonroof and Sunroof? Vehicles with Panoramic Roofs

What’s the Difference between Moonroof and Sunroof? Vehicles with Panoramic Roofs

Ever wondered about the differences between a moonroof and a sunroof? While the terms are interchangeable, these rooftop features are, in fact, different from one another. In this article, we'll highlight those differences and give some examples of vehicles that feature them.

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Moonroofs versus sunroofs

First, we'll start by explaining what a moonroof is. While the term sunroof is more common, moonroofs appear more often in newer vehicles. Essentially, a moonroof is a pane of tinted glass in the roof that tilts open to bring in air.

Sunroofs are the same but can tilt, slide, or come off the vehicle for extra light and air. Before the style became dated, sunroofs were traditionally body-colored metal or another opaque material. In newer cars, they're commonly glass and distinguishable because of their ability to open completely. 

Becoming the more popular option is the panoramic sun or moonroof in which the glass is multi-paneled, with the ability to open in the front or stay fixed entirely in place. Read on for examples of models that include a rooftop feature, be it a moonroof or a sunroof.

Cars with a moonroof

Honda Civic

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic features a one-touch, power moonroof, meaning drivers can tap the switch once to open or close it instead of holding it until the desired aperture is complete. It also has a tilt feature that allows it to open slightly for a smaller amount of airflow. The moonroof is the perfect addition to the clean and luxurious interior of the Civic. The car's list of comfort features, paired with its power, makes this compact sedan an all-around smooth ride.

With the two-liter, four-cylinder engine that comes standard with the Civic, drivers can expect a fuel efficiency of 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The starting price of a new model is $21,250 for the base trim, which doesn't come with the moonroof, but you will find it in higher trim levels, such as the EX, which starts at $24,400. You could also find a more-loaded model within your budget, with used Civics listed for a fraction of the price at $6,950.

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Honda Civic

The Honda Civic features a one-touch, power moonroof, meaning drivers can tap the switch once to open or close it instead of holding it until the desired aperture is complete. It also has a tilt feature that allows it to open slightly for a smaller amount of airflow. The moonroof is the perfect addition to the clean and luxurious interior of the Civic. The car's list of comfort features, paired with its power, makes this compact sedan an all-around smooth ride.

With the two-liter, four-cylinder engine that comes standard with the Civic, drivers can expect a fuel efficiency of 29 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. The starting price of a new model is $21,250 for the base trim, which doesn't come with the moonroof, but you will find it in higher trim levels, such as the EX, which starts at $24,400. You could also find a more-loaded model within your budget, with used Civics listed for a fraction of the price at $6,950.

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Subaru Outback

Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is precisely the kind of vehicle you would expect from the rugged name: dependable, stable, superb for long trips, and an excellent alternative to a standard SUV. If your new driver craves the idea of independence, but you crave reliability, it’s a good compromise. 

In short, you can’t go wrong with this vehicle, and it’s one of the best cars for teens.

The Subaru features responsive handling, all-wheel drive, and standard forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, making driving in iffy weather that much easier. Its four-door entry and spacious cabin also mean that it can double as the family’s favorite method of transportation.

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Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is precisely the kind of vehicle you would expect from the rugged name: dependable, stable, superb for long trips, and an excellent alternative to a standard SUV. If your new driver craves the idea of independence, but you crave reliability, it’s a good compromise. 

In short, you can’t go wrong with this vehicle, and it’s one of the best cars for teens.

The Subaru features responsive handling, all-wheel drive, and standard forward-collision warnings with automatic emergency braking, making driving in iffy weather that much easier. Its four-door entry and spacious cabin also mean that it can double as the family’s favorite method of transportation.

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Cars with a sunroof

Jeep Renegade

Jeep Renegade

While the Jeep Renegade comes standard without a sunroof, you can add a dual-pane panoramic sunroof to the Latitude and Trailhawk trim models, making the compact SUV even cooler, both literally and figuratively. Its front pane is fully retractable, so you can feel the wind in your hair as you explore the open road or get off the beaten path.

Equipped with the standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Renegade delivers a fuel efficiency of 21 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. The starting price of a new model is an attractive $24,870. However, this is for the base model. You'll probably find a used Renegade that meets your needs, with listings as little as $15,800. 

It's worth noting in some models, the "MySky" sunroof is much like the technical definition of a sunroof, as it's opaque and completely removable. It gives Renegade drivers a more Wrangler-like experience.

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Jeep Renegade

While the Jeep Renegade comes standard without a sunroof, you can add a dual-pane panoramic sunroof to the Latitude and Trailhawk trim models, making the compact SUV even cooler, both literally and figuratively. Its front pane is fully retractable, so you can feel the wind in your hair as you explore the open road or get off the beaten path.

Equipped with the standard 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Renegade delivers a fuel efficiency of 21 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway. The starting price of a new model is an attractive $24,870. However, this is for the base model. You'll probably find a used Renegade that meets your needs, with listings as little as $15,800. 

It's worth noting in some models, the "MySky" sunroof is much like the technical definition of a sunroof, as it's opaque and completely removable. It gives Renegade drivers a more Wrangler-like experience.

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Volkswagen Golf GTI

Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Volkswagen Golf GTI features a power sunroof that spans side to side. It opens completely to let in unfiltered light and air so you can enjoy the summer sun or a crisp fall day to the fullest. While it's not available on the base model, you can find the sunroof one trim level upward. Aside from the rooftop feature, the Golf GTI also offers exceptional handling, in addition to a surprising amount of cargo space and speed for a compact.

Built with a turbocharged, 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Golf GTI delivers a fuel efficiency of 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. While its base price of $23,195 may be tempting, you can get a used Golf GTI for as little as $18,200.

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Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Volkswagen Golf GTI features a power sunroof that spans side to side. It opens completely to let in unfiltered light and air so you can enjoy the summer sun or a crisp fall day to the fullest. While it's not available on the base model, you can find the sunroof one trim level upward. Aside from the rooftop feature, the Golf GTI also offers exceptional handling, in addition to a surprising amount of cargo space and speed for a compact.

Built with a turbocharged, 1.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Golf GTI delivers a fuel efficiency of 29 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway. While its base price of $23,195 may be tempting, you can get a used Golf GTI for as little as $18,200.

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Cars with a panoramic sun or moonroof

Subaru Forester

Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester offers ample room for passengers and cargo, but it feels even more spacious with the sizable panoramic moonroof. Everyone can enjoy a breath of fresh air without the blustering noise that comes with having the windows of a vehicle down on the open road. When it's extra bright, a manual sunshade slides over the pane to help keep you and your passengers comfortable.

With a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Forester offers a fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. New base models start at $24,795, which doesn't include the moonroof. However, it's available in the following trim level. With used Foresters listed at $10,800, you can find one that checks all your boxes and fits into your budget.

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Subaru Forester

The Subaru Forester offers ample room for passengers and cargo, but it feels even more spacious with the sizable panoramic moonroof. Everyone can enjoy a breath of fresh air without the blustering noise that comes with having the windows of a vehicle down on the open road. When it's extra bright, a manual sunshade slides over the pane to help keep you and your passengers comfortable.

With a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Forester offers a fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. New base models start at $24,795, which doesn't include the moonroof. However, it's available in the following trim level. With used Foresters listed at $10,800, you can find one that checks all your boxes and fits into your budget.

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Volkswagen Atlas

Volkswagen Atlas

The panoramic sunroof in the Volkswagen Atlas spans nearly corner to corner, and despite the vast panes, it slides open to let in a cool breeze. This family-focused, midsize SUV offers a comfortable ride for both driver and passengers. In addition to the available sunroof, the Atlas features a roomy interior, plenty of cargo space, and user-friendly cabin controls.

A turbocharged two-liter, four-cylinder engine comes standard in the Atlas, which earns 21 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Like the other vehicles listed here, you won't find a sunroof in the $31,555 base model. However, you may find a used Atlas with every feature you need, with models going for as little as $25,800.

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Volkswagen Atlas

The panoramic sunroof in the Volkswagen Atlas spans nearly corner to corner, and despite the vast panes, it slides open to let in a cool breeze. This family-focused, midsize SUV offers a comfortable ride for both driver and passengers. In addition to the available sunroof, the Atlas features a roomy interior, plenty of cargo space, and user-friendly cabin controls.

A turbocharged two-liter, four-cylinder engine comes standard in the Atlas, which earns 21 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. Like the other vehicles listed here, you won't find a sunroof in the $31,555 base model. However, you may find a used Atlas with every feature you need, with models going for as little as $25,800.

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Hyundai Tucson

Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson features a panoramic sunroof that essentially fills the entire roof, from the sun visors to the back edge. It's an excellent addition to the lineup of unique features and luxurious details this compact SUV offers. The Tucson delivers in multiple areas, from aesthetics to convenience and comfort.

With a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Tucson achieves a fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. New models start at $24,950, but you'll observe the cost go up as you graduate in trim level, especially to the model that includes the sunroof. With used Tucsons that go for as little as $11,700, you're sure to find a more suitable deal.

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Hyundai Tucson

The Hyundai Tucson features a panoramic sunroof that essentially fills the entire roof, from the sun visors to the back edge. It's an excellent addition to the lineup of unique features and luxurious details this compact SUV offers. The Tucson delivers in multiple areas, from aesthetics to convenience and comfort.

With a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine, the Tucson achieves a fuel efficiency of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. New models start at $24,950, but you'll observe the cost go up as you graduate in trim level, especially to the model that includes the sunroof. With used Tucsons that go for as little as $11,700, you're sure to find a more suitable deal.

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Soak up the sun

Now that you've read the differences in the rooftop window types, you may have a more comprehensive understanding of which cars feature a moonroof versus a sunroof.

No matter which vehicle you decide to take home, Shift's certified mechanics perform an extensive 150-point inspection on every car. They also offer complete vehicle history reports, so you know your used car feels as good as new.

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Shift Editorial Team