Sunroof and moonroof are the most common panels used on the roof of a car. The primary 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 many people use the terms interchangeably.
- A sunroof is an opening in a vehicle’s roof that can be opened to allow sunlight and fresh air into the cabin, made of the same material as the car body.
- A moonroof is a type of sunroof made of tinted or transparent glass, which can be opened or closed, and may have a sliding shade for additional light control.
- Both sunroofs and moonroofs provide increased natural light and ventilation options for vehicle occupants, but moonroofs offer a more consistent view of the sky even when closed.
Sunroof vs Moonroof
A sunroof is a glass or metal panel on the roof of the car, that slides open or pops up to let light and air into the inner cabin of a car. While a moonroof is a glass panel in a clear or tinted design that slides in between the roof and the headliner and is used to let in the fresh air.
However, the above is not the only difference. A comparison between both the terms on specific parameters can shed light on subtle aspects:
|Parameter of Comparison
|Opaque adjustable and movable vehicle roof panel which enables light and air to come into the car
|Glass vehicle roof panel, which is not adjustable but can let the light in even though closed
|What is the main purpose of using
|Block sun rays
|Blocking the rays but enabling visibility of the moon or scenic night beauty
|Whether it can be removed or moved
|Whether it is a glass panel
|No, usually, it is a metal panel or solid
|Whether moonlight is visible through
|No, since it is opaque
|Yes, since it is transparent
|Whether it can be considered as a moonroof or vice versa
|Sunroof is a type of roof panel used on cars; it cannot be considered a moonroof
|Moonroof is a kind of sunroof
|Whether it can be broken easily
|Not easily breakable as it is solid and made of metal
|Easily breakable because it is made of glass
|Which one is old or introduced earlier
|Introduced in the 1930s
|Introduced in 1973
|Preference of consumers
|Smaller in size compared to the moonroof
|Larger than sunroof
|Is this a generic or specific roof
|A general term used to describe any roof panel of a vehicle
|The more specific term, it is a type of sunroof
|Examples of modern cars or vehicles with roof
|2012 Ford Titanium Focus has a mild, slightly coloured green sunroof
|2013 Toyota Corolla Levin ZR has a moonroof tinted bronze matching the colour of the car
|Sunroofs can also be made of the glass panel
|Moonroof sometimes is used synonymously with sunroof
What is Sunroof?
Sunroof was launched in the United States in the 1930s by Nash Motors. The main objective was to provide consumers with a feature wherein motorists could obtain fresh air while at the same time blocking the sun’s rays.
Sunroof is a panel used in a vehicle’s roof, allowing light and fresh air to enter the vehicle’s cabin.
Sunroof is a type of panel which can be extended, 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.
Sunroofs can come in various styles and sizes. Sunroof has multiple variations: pop-up sunroof, glider sunroof, mountable sliding one, removable, built-in or fixed (commonly seen on most cars).
Some variations can be installed after the car is purchased.
Moonroof is a variant of a sunroof.
What is Moonroof?
Moonroof was introduced in the 1970s by Ford Motors. Also, Lincoln Continental Mark IV came up with specific versions of the sunroof coined as a moonroof.
The main motto was to provide the consumers with a panel enabling them to view the picturesque beauty while driving at night.
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, motorists have the option to slide or tilt the same.
Many moonroofs come with an interior sliding console.
Moonroof has multiple variants, the common one being panoramic; others include those with multiple or twin panels.
Moonroof is a type of sunroof, so the modern trend is to combine the features of a sunroof with the benefits of a moonroof to provide value addition to vehicle owners.
Main Differences Between Sunroof and Moonroof
- Sunroof has been in vogue since the 1930s; hence it is ancient. Moonroof came into the picture in the 1970s.
- Sunroof is a panel made of metal. Moonroof is made of affixed glass and is not movable/removable.
- Sunroof is used for controlling the light coming into the car. Moonroof is used to enable the motorist to view the lovely beauty skyline at night.
- Sunroof is made of solid metal and hence is not breakable, providing more safety to the motorist. The moonroof is made of tinted glass and can be easily broken with a single mallet hit.
- 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.
- Sunroof is not a preferred roof used by consumers today. Moonroof is the preferred choice of consumers in modern times and is very popular.
Last Updated : 11 June, 2023
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Piyush Yadav has spent the past 25 years working as a physicist in the local community. He is a physicist passionate about making science more accessible to our readers. He holds a BSc in Natural Sciences and Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Science. You can read more about him on his bio page.