Sunroof - Feature Explained

In this Feature Explained article, we’ll present the most detailed analysis of the sunroof feature in your car. We’ll list out the pros and cons of a sunroof, explain how it works, provide the typical cost of getting a sunroof from the aftermarket and its repair and replacement costs. Based on this analysis, you can decide the importance of this feature for your car ownership experience.


What Is A Sunroof And How Does It Work?

A sunroof is like a power-operated window but installed in the roof of a car. It can slide over or pop open to allow more air and light into the cabin. Sunroofs on most mass market cars come with an interior sliding panel that can be opened or closed to let light inside the cabin. These panels are typically finished in the same colour and material as the headliner in the car. There are 2 sizes of sunroofs available in cars sold in India today and the larger one is called panoramic sunroof.

A typical car sunroof is a multi-layered panel that is attached to the roof of the car. You can slide it open or close on its 2 side tracks. The switches and the sunroof itself behave a lot like a normal power window.

What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Sunroof?

The pros, or advantages, of a sunroof in a car are:

  • A sunroof adds an element of style to the car
  • Makes the cabin feel airier by letting in more light
  • Lets fresh air in while limiting the smoke from nearby trucks and buses
  • Helps the hot air escape from the top more easily when we use the heater during winters

Sunroofs have the following shortcomings or problems:

  • A sunroof adds some aerodynamic penalty and slightly affects the fuel efficiency at highway speeds
  • A sunroof is an expensive feature with a high perceived value and it makes the particular variant with this feature quite expensive
  • An aftermarket sunroof has the potential to ruin the structural integrity of the car
  • Several car owners use the sunroof irresponsibly and poke their hands and heads out increasing the risk of injury
  • A gasket failure because of cracks or cuts could make the sunroof leaky and wet the cabin during car wash and in the rain
  • There’s a risk of bird poop and dirt entering the cabin more easily if the sunroof pane is open
  • There’s also a risk of damage in a hail fall; while the glass pane itself is laminated and won’t let most hail stones enter the cabin, a broken sunroof mandates an immediate repair whereas you can drive the car around with a dent and a scratch from a hail stone

How Expensive Is It To Repair Or Replace A Sunroof?

The cost of repairing or replacing a sunroof depends on the make and model of the car. Replacing a sunroof pane and some gaskets around it costs between Rs. 30,000 to Rs. 90,000 for most mass market cars. So, if the sunroof in your car breaks down, we recommend repairing them if possible as replacements are quite expensive. If your car didn’t come with a sunroof, then you are out of luck since there are not many sunroof options from the aftermarket.

We suggest you leave it to the car manufacturers and authorised service centres, which have standard operating procedures, the necessary tools and trained staff to take on such a complex job.

What Is The Cost Of An Aftermarket Sunroof?

With almost all carmakers offering a sunroof in their mass market and premium models, the demand for aftermarket sunroofs have dropped significantly. So much so that it is virtually impossible to find an aftermarket sunroof option from a car accessories dealer. Tata Nano GenX is a rare car that had the option of a manual-winding sunroof, which was an official dealer-installed accessory. Since an aftermarket sunroof could affect the structural integrity of your car, we do not recommend getting an aftermarket sunroof fixed to your car even if you find an aftermarket option.

How Easy Or Complex Is It To Install A Sunroof?

Earlier, installing an aftermarket sunroof were quite haphazard jobs. Since beams inside a car’s roof are a part of the crash structure,  one small cut or a dent could potentially risk the safety of the occupants.

What Cars Get A Sunroof From The Factory?

In India, most cars from the B-segment (Hyundai i20, Kia Sonet, Tata Nexon) and above get a standard sunroof at least in their higher variants. The 2024 Mahindra XUV 3XO is currently the most affordable car in India to offer a panoramic sunroof. However, this feature is limited to the top 2 variants of the XUV 3XO.

Verdict - Should I Get An Aftermarket Sunroof?

The simple answer is, no. If you require a sunroof in your car, then we suggest spending a little extra and buying the variant that offers this feature.

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Nikil Jonathan

Nikil's a huge fan of classic cars, especially Italian beauties such as the Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint and the Iso Grifo. His love for cars and bikes originated when he first laid his eyes on a poster of the Ferrari F40 and the MV Agusta F4 when he was just a child. He also loves all things analogue, especially vintage cameras and turntables.


  1. S Sanjay Bhati says:
    March 03 2023 08:34:14


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