The truth about panoramic glass sunroof problems

Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento

Hi John,

I'm looking for your opinion on both these models Kia Sorento Platinum and SLi. I am suspicious of the panorama glass sunroof. I've read on blogs and forums about failures. Do they really have problems?


Panoramic sunroof - like all such sunroofs, failures are dramatic but quite infrequent

Panoramic sunroof - like all such sunroofs, failures are dramatic but quite infrequent

Hello John,

I don’t think there’s a particular problem with panoramic glass sunroofs generally, or Sorento’s glass roof specifically. There are occasional failures of everything automotive - engines, transmissions, computers - everything. Panoramic glass roof failures rarely occur, but when they do they tend to be - let's be kind - quite memorable.

But then, so does a tyre blowout… 

The critical difference being: Control of the vehicle is unaffected if the roof fails; not so if a tyre fails. Kia does an excellent job with customer support, and roof failure rates are not something I would worry about. (Different story with Jeep, Volkswagen, Holden, Ford…)

You can certainly find examples of glass roof failure online. I know of only one Sorento roof failure in Australia - and I don’t know what factors contributed to it. However, it was almost certainly a rock lofted up by a wheel of a truck or oncoming vehicle - that is almost impossible. As in, such a rock would have insufficient impact energy to break the roof.

Occasional rare failures are an example of feedback. When you change the roof design to glass you get a tonne of cosmetic and ergonomic benefits. The feedback is that the more complex roof design can fail - rarely. That's classic engineering feedback.

Importantly, an outfit like Kia actually looks after its customers when unfortunate events occur - and this is every bit as important as underlying reliability in the first place. (And which, in my view, the glass roof displays.)

If, however, the glass roof is something you absolutely cannot get behind, buy the SLi . It has a conventional steel roof - but if you do this you will also lose some of the Platinum's more desirable premium features, like adaptive cruise control, blind-spot detection (and related advanced safety features), plus the cool headlamps, big wheels, plus heated and ventilated front seats. Full Kia model comparator here (don’t forget to click ‘highlight differences’ to snapshot what you miss out on with SLi): More at

Personally I think the Sorento Platinum is an excellent vehicle. The glass roof would not put me off owning one - not one bit. More here

John Cadogan