• On most new premium SUV models, a panoramic sunroof is offered as an optional extra.
• Panoramic sunroofs could cost as much as R30 000.
• Besides OEMs, Webasto also fits aftermarket sunroofs to second-hand vehicles.
• For more motoring stories, visit Wheels24.
These days when most people buy a particular new vehicle, most commonly those of the SUV variety, there will always be a list of optional extras to go with the trim level chosen.
It can include anything from bigger wheels, specifically detailed livery, or the most popular choice for many - a panoramic sunroof. The latter is a large piece of glass that acts as the roof and can be moved to the front and back via a switch inside the car. However, some vehicles have fixed panoramic or glass roofs which are unable to open at all.
They're most likely to be found on larger models from the likes of Audi, Volvo, Peugeot, Mercedes-Benz or Volkswagen, though smaller models like GTI and S3 also sport them. The Mazda 3 Astina hatchback sports a much smaller sunroof that only moves up - instead of back and forth like its panoramic counterpart. With that said, Hyundai's little Grand i10 we have in our Wheels24 test garage also has an optional sunroof.
In truth, it doesn't look out of place at all because it enhances the appearance with a sleeker, sportier look, and has a practical function for more ventilation.
More hindrance than a help
Where pricing is concerned, panoramic sunroofs can cost as much as R30 000 on top of the original purchase price and can only be fitted by the OEM. On the aftermarket scene, companies such as Webasto also fits sunroofs to second-hand vehicles locally.
Have you had any issues with a sunroof - whether from the OEM or aftermarket - fitted to your vehicle? Email us, or share your thoughts in the comments section below.
According to The Drive, you should never cut holes in a car's roof. The unibody structure of most vehicles is such that the roof is an integral part of its strength. Carving out an opening in it is like installing a little screen door in an egg.
Of course the decision to fit any sort of optional extras are entirely dependent on the budget and overall affordability.
Panoramic sunroofs significantly improve the aesthetics of the vehicle it is fitted to, but here's why it's not worth the money to have them fitted:
As previously mentioned, a panoramic sunroof is offered as an optional extra for as much as R30 000 depending on the manufacturer, make and model. The extra amount is worked into the monthly instalment and will increase the repayment.
Most automatic transmissions are offered for around the same price, and its purpose improves overall driving dynamics, whereas a panoramic sunroof is more of a 'want buy' than anything else.
Besides it being pricey, the wind noise a panoramic sunroof makes when it is opened could be somewhat unbearable on older models, or when not fitted correctly. The faster you go, the more airflow and drag is created - culminating in plenty of noise inside the cabin.
Whether you're listening to music or speaking to a passenger, you will either have to raise your voice or close the sunroof altogether in order to communicate clearly and precisely - not an ideal situation for something that costs so much.
Exposure to the sun
The worst possible time to drive with it open is during a hot summer's day when the sun is at its brightest - which is kind of ironic since it is called a sunroof.
Once opened and with the interior cover moved back, the driver and passenger are directly exposed to more direct UV rays from the sun. This can adversely affect driving because of more glare, and it also makes the interior hotter. Not ideal if you have leather seats.
Affects fuel consumption
According to The Drive, sunroofs are so heavy they can affect fuel consumption. Regular tilt-and-slide versions generally weigh between 22 and 36kg, while panoramic ones range between 54 and 90kg.
The more weight a vehicle carries, the more the engine has to exert power, which means using more fuel.
Expensive to replace/repair
Panoramic sunroof fitment is exclusive to OEMs on new vehicles, and if something goes wrong or needs to be replaced, it cannot go anywhere else. They are the only place that can source and fit the correct part.
In the unfortunate event that the glass itself is damaged, you are effectively replacing a large section of the roof and can set you back even more than the R30 000 initially paid to have it fitted.