Let the sun in: the best cars with a panoramic sunroof

Glass-roofed cars let the sun flood in to otherwise gloomy interiors. These are the best panoramic sunroof cars available

Dominic Tobin
Nov 19, 2019

A car fitted with a panoramic sunroof can help banish the winter blues and let in the summer sun by opening up the roof with a large glass pane to give the interior a light and airy feel.

The feature is a popular choice among car buyers, and so manufacturers have responded by making a glass roof option available for virtually any type of car on the market. Even small city cars, such as the the VW Up And Smart ForTwo have panoramic roofs included with high specification models.

They are also abundant in family cars, where option packs can provide an affordable way of adding a panoramic sunroof; higher-specification models increasingly fit them as standard.

There are currently 1052 cars with a panoramic roof which are available from BuyaCar now. The variety of vehicles available with the feature mean that prices cover a wide range, from £5,999 to £134,990, with finance payments starting at £101 per month

What is a panoramic roof?

There's no strict definition of a panoramic roof, but the term is generally used to describe a large glass panel (or panels) covering a large area of a car's roof. Some slide to open and draw in fresh air, but others are fixed and only let in light. Most have a blind to limit the sun's intensity when it's overhead.

A panoramic sunroof can make an enormous difference to a dark interior, making it feel brighter and more spacious. However, the opposite is often true: sliding sunroofs generally reduce headroom for occupants, so cramped cars can become even more uncomfortable if one is fitted.

 

Adding a heavy glass roof will have a small impact on fuel economy and the car's nimbleness in corners, particularly for smaller cars where the extra weight is more noticeable. In some cases, the vehicle will only come with a puncture repair kit, rather than a spare wheel, to keep the weight down.

Best cars with a panoramic sunroof

1. Volkswagen Up

Best panoramic roof car for value

Available on most Volkwagen Up models
Price of roof as an option £710

Since 2012, the VW Up has been the market leader in the city car section, and also the most popular car you can buy with an exclamation mark in its name.

It’s been heavily updated inside since its launch, and it feels pretty modern inside, has room for four (on short journeys at least), and an optional sunroof that's described as a panoramic roof. In reality, given the size of the car, it's little larger than a standard sunroof. It slides and tilts, plus, has an integrated roller blind to prevent glare.

VW Up buyers' guide

2. Ford Fiesta

Best panoramic roof car for an affordable full glass roof

Available on Titanium, Active, ST and Vignale models
Price of roof as an option £650

Thanks to the Fiesta's diminutive size, its panoramic sunroof covers the whole roof area, making this one of the brightest small cars available. There's an electric blind and the roof opens too. Because this reduces headroom all cars with a panoramic roof come with adjustable driver and passenger seats.

The roof is standard on the top-of-the-range Vignale car and optional on other high-specification models. In a car of this size, a heavy glass roof does make more of an impact, and so the heavy weight, right at the top of the car, does dull the sharp cornering response of the Fiesta, compared with models without the roof.

Ford Fiesta buyers' guide

3. Citroen C4 Cactus

Best panoramic roof car for quirky looks

Available on Flair models
Price of roof as an option Standard on Flair models, £500 on others

When this car arrived on the scene in 2014 it looked wacky, thanks to large plastic bubbles, known as airbumps, plonked on the side, designed to protect the car against parking bumps. Combined with high levels of comfort, it was meant to be a car that reduced stress on the roads.

New cars have been toned down, but still feature these distinctive bubbles, albeit, much smaller and reduced to the bottom of the car. It's still a quirky car, as is the panoramic sunroof, which stretches from front to back seats, and has a wider band in the middle for extra light. The roof doesn't open and neither does it come with a blind, because the UV coating is meant to filter light and heat. However, Citroen does sell specially-shaped blinds as accessories.

Citroen C4 Cactus buyers' guide

4. Mercedes A-Class

Best panoramic roof car for performance

Available on Sport, AMG-Line and AMG models
Price of roof as an option from £3,595 (with Premium Plus pack)

Considering the £3,595 price that Mercedes charges to add a sunroof to the A-Class, you might expect it to be the most lavish panoramic roof you've ever seen. In reality, it's a little on the small size, barely reaching over the rear seats, although it does tilt and slide. It also comes as part of a pack that includes brighter LED headlights; electrically-adjustable front seats; larger dual-10.25in screens behind the steering wheel and in the middle of the dashboard; mood lighting; and keyless entry.

The roof is also available as part of a £3,895 pack for the high-performance Mercedes-AMG A35. Ignore the contradiction in fitting a heavy glass roof to a car that's designed for speed, and you'll be bathed in light as you accelerate from 0-62mph in under five seconds.

Mercedes A-Class buyers' guide

5. Range Rover Evoque

Best panoramic roof car for seeing the night sky

Available on all models
Price of roof as an option £1,100 (fixed), £1,400 (sliding)

A panoramic roof-equipped Range Rover Evoque is the perfect vehicle for stargazing: once it has taken you into the back of beyond, you can sink down into its cosseting interior and watch the night sky in luxury.

Both the new Range Rover Evoque, which has just gone on sale, and the previous model have the panoramic roof as an option, and its appeal stretches far beyond amateur astronomers: the extra light it brings to the gloomy rear seats will improve the mood of your passengers no end.

The roof doesn't open on the older generation of car, so it actually increases the amount of headroom available, which is good news for taller occupants. Buyers of the latest car can choose between a fixed or sliding roof, which are both optional. The latter choice will reduce headroom.

Range Rover Evoque buyers' guide

6. Skoda Octavia Estate

Best panoramic roof car for a big boot

Available on all but 1.0 TSI and S cars
Price of roof as an option £1,170

The Octavia is an enormous car, considering its affordable price, even in hatchback form. As an estate car, it has 610 litres worth of space in the boot, and 1,740 litres worth with the seats down, which isn't far off some small vans.

It shares mechanical bits with the Volkswagen Golf, so is well-screwed together and doesn't have a budget feel. The panoramic sunroof is certainly not a budget choice, costing £1,170 as an option across the range, but does extend far down the roof of the car, bringing light to the darkest corners of its vast interior.

Skoda Octavia buyers' guide

7. Audi Q5

Best panoramic car for roof features

Available on all models
Price of roof as an option £1,400

The glass roof for the Audi Q5 is standard on top-of-the-range Vorsprung models but is an expensive £1,400 option on the rest of the range. Still, there's some impressive engineering in the two panes of glass.

The Q5's double sunroof covers so much of the car that the roof appears to be made entirely from glass, from some angles. The motorised front section opens and closes, and there's a wind deflector to reduce noise and buffeting during open-air motoring. There's an electric blind to darken the car when needed and if you forget to close the roof when you get out of the car, this can be done using the remote control.

Audi Q5 buyers' guide

8. Volvo XC90 T8

Best panoramic roof car for hybrid power

Available on all models (standard on T8)
Price of roof as an option £1,600

Any Volvo XC90 feels airy and spacious, thanks to light interior fittings and a minimalist dashboard design. So it's well-suited to the large double sunroof that can be fitted to any new XC90 at a cost of £1,600. The front section opens to tllt and slide, and there's a blind as well. Passengers in the front two rows of seats will have a clear view to the sky, but the glass doesn't stretch to the third row of two.

If you opt for a hybrid T8 model, it's fitted as standard. Just don't think too hard about the merits of adding a heavy glass roof to a car that's designed for efficiency.

Volvo XC90 buyers' guide

9. Tesla Model X

Best panoramic roof car for drivers

Panoramic windscreen available as standard

Tesla's tall Model X electric car has a so-called panoramic windscreen that continues on above the driver's head for much greater visibility and light than most cars. It's standard across the range, making the Tesla airy and bright, but mainly benefits front-seat occupants.

Early cars were also offered with a full panoramic roof option, which added extra panes of glass, so the windscreen appeared to run over the roof to the rear seats. This option is not currently available on Tesla's standard configurator, but you may find some used models with the feature fitted.

Tesla Model X buyers' guide

10. Mercedes SLC

Best panoramic roof car for any weather

Available on all models
Price of roof as an option £1,995

Mercedes' Magic Sky Roof may sound like the name of a My Little Pony set but the technology is ingenious: an electrochromic roof, which can be darkened at the touch of a button if the sun's rays become too strong. Combined with the ability to lower the roof entirely on this roadster, this is a Mercedes with a roof setting for any weather.

However, the roof hasn't been enough to attract customers to the SLC and poor sales mean that production of the car will stop later this year.

Mercedes SLC buyers' guide

 

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