How Do A Sunroof And A Moonroof Differ From One Another?

If you’re looking for a new car, there’s a chance that one of the models you considered has a glass panel in the ceiling that goes by several different titles, prompting you to wonder what the difference is between a sunroof and a moonroof.

Simply put, there is no distinction. In common usage, “moonroof” and “sunroof” refer to the same roof glass letting sunlight into your car’s interior. Nonetheless, there are some historical variations.

What is a sunroof?

When comparing the two systems, there are some noticeable differences between a moonroof and a sunroof. The sunroof is a standard feature on Toyota vehicles. On top of a car, it’s typically an opaque panel that matches the color of the body. While traveling in your area, a sunroof can be partially opened or fully closed to let in light or fresh air. Specific sunroof versions even allow for completely removing a novel driving experience.

What is a moonroof?

A moonroof is similar to a sunroof in that it comprises glass and is frequently colored to block sunlight. A moonroof can still slide or tilt open for fresh air or light, but you can’t remove it from your car the way certain sunroofs can.

You must go inside panels of moonroofs and slide open to access the moonroof. This panel blends in well with the rest of the cabin, using the same material and color as the car’s interior. Instead of a sunroof, most modern Toyota vehicles have a moonroof. Although both words are frequently used interchangeably, as you can see, there is a distinction between a moonroof and a sunroof.

Who Makes Sunroofs?

A sunroof and a moonroof were two entirely different things back then. You had to remove altogether the sunroof, a detachable, opaque panel that was typically made of metal, to let sunlight enter your car.

Imagine the sunroof as a scaled-down convertible top. The removal was a laborious, physical process that lost favor. Undoubtedly, there are challenging off-road vehicles with sunroof features to maintain their unique connection to nature. For instance, Jeep offers the Sunrider, a flip-top style roof that opens straight to the air, as a sunroof option. Yet, that is unusual.

What is the function of the sunroof?

Instead of exposing your cockpit to the elements to get more sunlight, a moonroof is covered with tempered glass for the opaque metal. As technology advances, so did a variety of moonroof designs:

Built-in moonroof: It allows the option to raise the roof to the sky while storing the glass panel between the headliner and the vehicle’s body.

Spoiler moonroof: This glass panel pulls back and stays above the roof, comparable to a built-in moonroof.

Moonroof that raises slightly from the back.

Lamella moonroof: Folds back like Venetian blinds but is uncommon because of the challenging engineering involved

Panoramic moonroof: This is built into the car’s body and is significantly more important than most others.

Generally, people use the terms “sunroof” and “moonroof” interchangeably for contemporary automobiles.

 The two names typically conjure up the same picture of a glass window connected to a car’s top that lets in sunlight. Yet you’ll use the term “moonroof,” to be precise.

Moonroofs versus Sunroofs

Cars didn’t have any roofs at all in the beginning. Only a few versions had transparent side curtains or folding canvas tops. Cadillac started providing fully enclosed bodywork. Following that, people began looking for something else. In response, manufacturers started incorporating canvas- or metal-covered roof apertures with sunroof mechanisms. And what do you know, moonroofs also increased in popularity.


Nowadays, there is almost any distinction between the two. Yet, “sunroof” originally referred to an opaque canvas or metal covering that shuts out the sun. Usually, vehicles come with movable inside silver tinted sunshade and tempered glass sunroof.

A sunroof won’t allow light and air in the cabin once you close the roof; it also permits you to see outside, called a moonroof.

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