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What's the Difference Between a Sunroof and a Moonroof?

CARS.COM — Is there a difference between a sunroof and a moonroof? Most everybody uses the terms interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two concepts. Both are panels in the roof of a car that let light or fresh air inside the vehicle’s cabin. But that’s where the similarities end.

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A sunroof is typically a solid body-colored panel that can manually tilt up or be removed. A sunroof is an opaque metal panel, and you can’t see through it. From the outside, it looks like a body-colored metal panel.

A moonroof is a type of sunroof, except that it’s a transparent, sliding, tinted glass panel. This panel is not removable. More recently, the panoramic style of moonroof has become popular, in which most of the roof of the car is made of glass, but only the panel over the two front seats will slide or open — the roof glass over the rear seats stays fixed. The interior of the car is then shielded by a retractable shade in the headliner; sometimes it’s an electric one, sometimes a manual one. The majority of new cars have moonroofs, as what’s technically considered a sunroof has pretty much gone out of style.

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