Difference Between Sunroof and Moonroof

Sunroof and moonroof are the most common panels used in the roof of a car. The basic purpose of using these panels is to allow brightness or natural air inside the car’s cabin. However, both these panels have distinct features though the terms are used interchangeably by many people.

Sunroof vs Moonroof

The main difference between a sunroof and moonroof is that a sunroof is typically a coloured solid panel (i.e. not transparent) which is removable and adjustable while a moonroof is a transparent panel which cannot be removed.

Sunroof vs Moonroof

However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on certain parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:


Comparison Table Between Sunroof and Moonroof (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonSunroofMoonroof
DescriptionOpaque adjustable and movable vehicle roof panel which enables light and air to come in the carGlass vehicle roof panel which is not adjustable but can let the light in even though closed
What is the main purpose of usingBlock sun raysBlocking the rays but enabling visibility of the moon or scenic night beauty
Whether can be removed or movedRemovableNot removable
Whether TransparentNot transparentYes
Whether it is a glass panelNo, usually it is a metal panel or solidYes
Whether moonlight is visible throughNo, since it is opaqueYes, since it is transparent
Whether can be considered as moonroof or vice versaSunroof is a type of roof panel used on car; it cannot be considered as moonroofMoonroof is a kind of sunroof
Whether can be broken easilyNot easily breakable as it is solid and made of metalEasily breakable because it is made of glass
Which one is old or introduced earlierIntroduced in 1930’sIntroduced in 1973
Preference of consumersLess demandMore demand
SizeSmaller in size compared to moonroofLarger than sunroof
Is this a generic or specific roofA general term used to describe any roof panel of a vehicleMore specific term, it is a type of sunroof
Examples of modern cars or vehicles with roof2012 Ford Titanium Focus has a mild slightly coloured green sunroof2013 Toyota Corolla Levin ZR has a moonroof tinted bronze matching the colour of the car
Modern TrendsSunroofs can also be made of glass panelMoonroof sometimes is used synonymously to sunroof


What is Sunroof?

Sunroof was launched in the United States in the 1930’s by Nash Motors. The main objective was to provide the consumers with a feature wherein the motorists could obtain fresh air while at the same time blocking the sunrays.

Sunroof is a panel used in the roof of a vehicle which will allow light and fresh air to enter the vehicle’s cabinSunroof is a type of panel which can be extended, or removed or tilted up and down and fixed on the roof of the car. Sunroof is made of solid opaque material which blocks harmful sun rays.

Sunroof can come in various styles and sizes. Sunroof has multiple variations, common ones being, pop-up sunroof, glider sunroof, mountable sliding one, removable, built-in or fixed one (commonly seen on most cars). Some variations can be installed after the car is purchased.

Moonroof is a variant of sunroof.


What is Moonroof?

Moonroof was introduced in the 1970’s by Ford Motors. Also, Lincoln Continental Mark IV came up with certain versions of the sunroof coined as moonroof. The main motto was to provide the consumers a panel which can enable them to view the picturesque beauty while driving during night time.

Moonroof is a type of panel used in the roof of a vehicle which can let the light in even though closed. Moonroof is built of glass and cannot be removed from the car, however, the motorists have an option to slide or tilt the same. Many moonroofs come with an interior sliding console.

Moonroof has multiple variants, the common one being the panoramic, other ones include those having multiple panels or twin panels.

Moonroof is a type of sunroof so modern trend is to combine the features of sunroof with benefits of moonroof to provide value addition to vehicle owners.


Main Differences Between Sunroof and Moonroof

  1. Sunroof has been in vogue since the 1930’s hence it is very old. Moonroof came into picture in the 1970’s.
  2. Sunroof is a panel made of metal. Moonroof is made of glass which is affixed and is not movable/removable.
  3. Sunroof is used for controlling the light coming in to the car. Moonroof is used for enabling the motorist to view the nice beauty skyline at night.
  4. Sunroof is made of solid metal and hence is not breakable and provides  more safety to the motorist. Moonroof being made of tinted glass can be easily broken with a single mallet hit.
  5. Sunroof is a generic name for the panel used on the vehicle for blocking sun rays. Moonroof is a variant of the sunroof and a specific type of panel.
  6. Sunroof is not a preferred roof used by consumers today. Moonroof is the preferred choice of consumers in modern times and is very popular.



Sunroof and moonroof though technically different are terms which can be used interchangeably. It is quite possible that people may be calling the roof as sunroof when in reality it may be moonroof. In fact the subtle differences between the two terms may not be valid in modern times as many car manufacturers rename them for advertising purposes.

The choice for someone either purchasing a sunroof or moonroof may depend on understanding and assessing the differences between the two panels and the suitability to the concerned motorist.

However, the most important consideration for the motorist is whether they are obtaining the right features which they need. Modern car manufacturers will provide roofs boasting of features in which the differences may be minimal and/or offering the same level of features without any drawbacks.

Latest vehicles will usually have a moonroofs, as sunroofs being a relic of olden time is not a common phenomenon.



  1. https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/sunroof
  2. https://www.dictionary.com/browse/moonroof
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