view from inside a car with a panoramic window.

There are mixed feelings among car owners about panoramic roofs. Some who have purchased cars with these deluxe overhead windows are convinced that the investment was worth it. They love their vehicles with extra natural light and an open-air feel.

However, others are not so sure that they would buy a car with a panoramic roof again. Due to safety concerns, complaints of hazardous cracks, and other reasons, these extended sunroofs don’t always leave customers completely satisfied.

So, what is someone seeking the perfect new car purchase supposed to believe? Let’s look at the advice that current owners of vehicles with panoramic roofs would give to those in the market for a new car.

Panoramic Sunroof Design

Panoramic sunroofs are large windows which span almost the entire top surface of a vehicle. They are comprised of one or two glass panels that are usually are heavily tinted. Some models can open partially.

What is the difference between a sunroof and a panoramic sunroof?

The dimensions are the biggest difference. To be considered panoramic, the window must cover the majority of the car’s ceiling. The glass is also tinted more than normal windows to limit the amount of light in drivers’ eyes. Plus, some modern windows are curved where the edges meet the frame to complement the shape of the car.

Do panoramic sunroofs open all the way?

No, at least not yet. Auto designers may be working to develop a moonroof that opens completely, but there isn’t one currently on the market. Unlike a convertible, there is not enough space in the car body which can house the entire or both glass panels. The window can be shifted back a portion of the way, or one glass panel slide on top of the other, but a panoramic roof can’t be opened entirely.

Why Some Car Owners Love Panoramic Sunroofs

There are multiple reasons why these large car windows are attractive.

Are panoramic sunroofs a good investment?

Essentially, every car owner must decide on their own. Panoramic windows are a love/hate luxury feature. Specifically, those who enjoy driving with a large sunroof overhead appreciate:

  • Extra light inside the cabin of the vehicle,
  • Natural illumination,
  • Possibility for additional ventilation,
  • Sleek look of a dark roof,
  • Extended visibility above the windshield,
  • More spacious feeling for passengers in the rear seat,
  • Easy, push-button controls.

Why Some are Concerned about the Safety of Panoramic Roofs

News outlets and sources like Consumer Reports have warned drivers about the risk of exploding or detaching sunroofs.The risk of exploding is caused by a high degree of stress placed on the large span of tempered glass. Though the material is thick and resistant, some factors can increase the chances of the glass cracking. These include impact, extreme temperatures, forces from movement within the auto body, as well as shocks and vibrations from driving over bumps. Since the size of sunroofs has expanded in recent years, there has been an increase in dangerous sunroof shattering incidents.

Are panoramic sunroofs dangerous?

This is a question on the minds of a lot of car owners and those shopping for new cars. Though relatively rare, these incidents were frightening for drivers and passengers. Some owners report hearing a loud, sudden noise when the glass exploded and pulling over in traffic and request emergency assistance for their vehicle. Fortunately, the cases of panoramic sunroofs breaking without being involved in an accident or suffering road damage have not caused serious injury.

Carmakers – including Hyundai, Nissan, Kia, Ford, BMW, Mazda and Toyota – have received complaints, in recent years, from consumers about the glass shattering suddenly. Some of these manufacturers have issued recalls for cars with panoramic sunroofs that had a higher risk of breaking. Similarly, in 2015, Hyundai recalled thousands of cars because of the risk of panoramic sunroof panels detaching. Flying off cars and into traffic, the glass panels posed a danger to others on the road but apparently did not cause any crashes or injuries before the recall.

The National Highway Traffic Safety is still investigating this hazard to see if it warrants making stricter industry standards. In the meantime, a few automakers, including Volvo and Tesla, claim that all car makes should use laminated glass in sunroofs to decrease this risk.

Why Some Owners Don’t Like Panoramic Roofs

Are panoramic roofs good? Not all car owners agree. Here are some of the reasons why they wouldn’t buy a car with a panoramic window again.

  • Because more light is allowed into the car even when parked, it can cause the interior temperature to rise and get hotter than a car with a standard roof. This factor should be considered especially in warmer climates.
  • Some owners complain about excess noise because of rattling sounds and circulating air. Although newer models have more advanced gaskets which help prevent irritating noises.
  • If damaged by hail or wear and tear with time, special automotive glass can require extra maintenance work and be expensive to replace.
  • Since thick, tempered glass is heavy, some car buyers stick to standard options to help increase the vehicle’s fuel efficiency.
  • Taller drivers may not like the fact that panoramic roofs generally leave less space for headroom than standard models.

Find out more about the Advantages of Using a Windshield Cover in All Seasons.

Reliable Glass Repair – Badell’s Collision

For cracks, chips, and other car glass damage, Badell’s Collision is here to help. We provide full-service glass repair and replacement for windshields and windows. It’s simple to request a quote with our online form.

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