Difference Between Sunroof and Moonroof (With Table)

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.

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 Comparison




Opaque adjustable and movable vehicle roof panel which enables light and air to come in 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 can be removed or moved


Not removable

Whether Transparent

Not transparent


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 can be considered as moonroof or vice versa

Sunroof is a type of roof panel used on car; it cannot be considered as moonroof

Moonroof is a kind of sunroof

Whether 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 1930’s

Introduced in 1973

Preference of consumers

Less demand

More demand


Smaller in size compared to moonroof

Larger than sunroof

Is this a generic or specific roof

A general term used to describe any roof panel of a vehicle

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

Modern Trends

Sunroofs can also be made of glass panel

Moonroof 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 cabin.  Sunroof 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