As Malaysians, one of our most favourite features on a car would be the sunroof. Some of us love it so much that we even go the extent of installing ‘aftermarket’ ones on brand new cars. Taking things a step further, the newly launched Volvo C40 Recharge Pure Electric features a fixed panoramic sunroof which can neither be closed, nor does it have an electro-chromatic function. Is it a good idea for a car that will be driven in our hot tropical climate?
While it may sound perfect for driving around in the cool weather of Europe, one might doubt just how practical a fixed panoramic sunroof is in Malaysia. And there’s a legit reason to doubt it since car cabins can get really hot when parked outside on a hot day. Yours truly also had a similar doubt, but after trying the car out for a few weeks, I have to say that it actually isn’t that bad. Allow me to share my experience.
Firstly, the glass for the fixed panoramic sunroof is a laminated & tinted glass which means it already reduces incoming light, heat, and ultraviolet radiation. You can see in the pictures here that the glass on the roof is darker than the glass for the windows.
Admittedly, after being parked outside on a hot Malaysian afternoon, the glass roof does get hot. And although it isn’t scalding hot from the inside, it is hot enough for you to not want to keep your hands on it. However, the cabin actually feels bearable on immediate entry and there’s not much difference in terms of how hot the cabin feels when you compare it to a car without a sunroof.
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It’s also a good thing that the C40 isn’t adorned with many aluminium trims (like some cars) which can be scalding hot when left in the same situation. So, the fixed panoramic sunroof doesn’t actually cause a ‘hot cabin’ problem, but, it does come with some little things that may annoy you. What could they be?
Well, the first little annoyance would be glare and this will be an issue if you’re a passenger wishing recline your seat as you get chauffeured around. Yes, the glass is tinted, but a sharp glare could wake you up should you choose to have a some shut eye with the seats reclined.
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The second little thing that annoyed me was that if there were bird (or bat) droppings on the car, they would be difficult to ignore from inside the car. The C40’s glass roof doesn’t have an electrochromatic function and it doesn’t have a shade that you could pull out. It’s a shame as the C40’s premium cabin has a calm and relaxing mood, but it can be ruined by something small like this.
Little nuances aside, the C40’s glass roof counters the sloping roofline’s claustrophobic effect very well. It is also refreshing to see a new approach on a car’s interior that simplifies rather than complicates things. And these little annoyances can be reduced by simply adding a dark layer of tint to the glass roof.
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