2020 Toyota Highlander interior showing panoramic moonroof and beige leather seats

What Is the Difference Between a Sunroof and a Moonroof?

You’ve probably wondered the same question to yourself a few times and haven’t been brave enough to ask, but the difference isn’t that hard to remember once you learn it. But since they are easy to confuse with each other, most forgive those that mix the two up. Read on to learn more about the differences between them. 

What Makes a Sunroof a Sunroof? 

First off, a sunroof is a general term for a piece of glass or an opaque panel that lifts open or slides to one side for better lighting or airflow. If it is made of glass it could be either a moonroof or a sunroof, but if it is not made of glass, it can only be a sunroof. Most vehicles have a sunroof or moonroof that is powered by a motor instead of unlatching by hand like the minivan windows of the past.

2020 Toyota Sienna dual moonroof with lens flare
2020 Toyota Highlander looking through moonroof at stars at night

What Makes a Moonroof a Moonroof? 

A moonroof is a specific type of sunroof that includes a glass panel that slides back between the roof and headliner of the vehicle itself. Plenty of modern moonroofs do this with a motor and can also tilt open. To help keep the two distinct in your mind, remember that it is called a moonroof because it can slide back into the body of the vehicle either a little or a lot, like how the moon’s phases show a little or a lot of light depending on the phase of the moon. 

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What Toyota vehicles have a sunroof or moonroof? 

Lots of Toyota vehicles have a moonroof or sunroof, but they usually must come from a higher trim level to include that feature. For sedans, the 2020 Toyota Corolla has a power moonroof, and the Camry of the same year has a panoramic moonroof. The SUV lineup is well-equipped, with the 2020 Toyota RAV4 and Highlander having panoramic moonroofs. The 2020 Toyota 4Runner has a Power Moonroof, much like the Sequoia, but the Sienna minivan has a unique dual moonroof design.