You might know there are 3 types of car roofs but there are suprises for you in this post!


Posted by: Testimony Olajire

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Do you know there are several types of car roofs, beyond just the convertible you are used to? There are also several types of convertibles. Read now to find out!

You must have been seeing them all around. Different types of automobile roofs, but you have never really sat down to study them.

You might have not noticed but the roof of a vehicle actually determines a lot about it. It determines the appeal of the vehicle, the use, the type of people that would buy it, the places where it can go, and even the times when you can drive it!

In fact, to some people, there are just two types of roofs, ‘normal roof’ and ‘convertibles.’

Well, that is fine; it is ok not to know, but not after reading this article about Types of Car roofs!

1. Hardtops

When we talk about hardtops, we are referring to the common rigid forms of automobile roofs which we see around. In modern-day cars, this type of roof is made from metal or plastic.

So, the common Toyota Corolla, Camry, and many of the cars in Nigeria are all Hardtops. However, we should say that there are different types. The one we just described is the fixed hardtop. Other types include:

  • The detachable hardtops
  • The retractable hardtops


Both the Toyota Corolla and the Audi are fixed hardtops!

These two types are designed as convertibles and would be discussed extensively when we get there.

The fixed hardtop is your traditional car roof and is suitable for all climes and weather. It protects car occupants from the sun and wind when driving. It also offers more sense of privacy and noise-free driving. Many cars designed this way also tend to be more stable and solid than other types of roofs.

In short, you can enter anywhere with your fixed hardtop…and you go dey alright!

Examples of some Hardtop cars
 N/O Car model
 1  Toyota Camry
 2  Toyota Corolla
 3  Honda Accord
5 Lexus RX
6 Lexus ES
7 Mercedes-Benz ML350
8 Mercedes-Benz C300

2. Sunroof:

This type of roof is also quite popular. You might have been seeing it around. A sunroof is an operable type of roof that allows for an opening in the roof of an automobile; say a window in a roof. It can allow either light or air or both to enter the vehicle. They are either operated manually or automatically.

The keyword here is Opening in the roof. It is not the entire roof that is removed – that is a different type of roof.

Shey you get it?

There are 3 popular types of sunroofs. They include:

a. Pop-up:

The pop-up sunroof usually tilts when you open it. It is the most basic and relatively cheaper type of sunroof. Some can even be removed so that they are kept properly, maybe in the trunk whenever you want to go ‘sunroof mode.’


A pop-up sunroof pops up!

b. Spoiler:

Wait, this is not spoiling anything o. It just means that it can slide. So, the spoiler is a pop-up that would slide, instead of tilting upwards. The advantage of this is that it can easily be restored to its original position by sliding.


Spoiler sunroofs are easy to slide

c. Panoramic sunroof:

Please take the pronunciation easy. Panoramic sunroofs are distinct. While other sunroofs basically allow air and light or both into the front seats, the panoramic sunroof would allow for both the front and rear. Of course, this means the aperture would be larger than the spoiler or pop-up, bit hey, what is the purpose of the window in the roof if it is not big enough?

Think about it!

Panorami- sunroof

How the panoramic sunroof appears inside

Some brands also refer to them as moonroofs and they are automatically operated with the push of a button or turning of a knob.


Exterior view of the moonroof

The sunroof allows car users to enjoy light and air without having to remove the entire roof. It also adds to the sleek design of the car and the automatically operated types just add to the awesome features of the car.

Examples of some sunroof cars
 N/O Car model
 1  Honda City
 2  Hyundai Creta
 3  Land Rover Range Rover

3. Convertibles:

Oyaaaaa, everyone wants to talk about convertibles. Anyways, convertibles are passenger cars that can be driven with or without the entire roof in place. They were first introduced as open-air vehicles; no roofs, no sides.

But by the end of the 19th century and the early 20th century, car engineers built more powerful engines that could power a folding roof. These were the forerunners of the convertibles that we have today.

There are different types of convertibles based on the method of conversion and the materials used.

a. Retractable hardtops:

Made from metal or plastic and is retracted automatically.


Give me this retractable hardtop! 

And check out this retractable car roof opening!

 b. Detachable hardtops:

This type of hardtop is manually removed from the roof and then stored usually in the trunk. They are also made from metal or plastic.



The 1965 Mustang is a detachable hardback convertible

c. Soft tops:

This type of convertibles have roofs that are not made from metal or plastic. They are made of textile. The earliest versions of the convertible used canvas for the roofs. More recent models use cloth materials instead. Other materials used now include latex, vinyl, polyvinyl chloride.

When the roof is folded, it is called a stack.


Soft tops are made from textile

Convertibles allow an open-air driving experience. Usually, we see this in movies when the hero and his love interest are traveling somewhere and the lady is usually standing up in the car so that her hair is flying in the wind!

Interesting stuff!

Many of them are also built for speed and so you would have a nice time driving really fast, but if and only if the roads are very good.

But apart from all of that, there are many drawbacks.

One of them is noise. You would be exposed to the wind and you might not be able to hear anything else. Others are dust and dirt. You can have your face and even the interior of the car dirty if there are a lot of dirt particles in the air.

Also, convertibles are not as sturdy or solid as their covered counterparts. Although, we know most convertibles are built to be fast, sporty cars.

Plus, no privacy o. Everyone go dey look you as you dey drive.


Some couples like this, but wetin be my own sef?

One other type of roof includes:

  • The T-Top roof: An ‘almost convertible’ car. Actually it was built this way because the car manufacturers were not sure the government of the day would approve convertibles. So they made a ‘T-shaped bar’ from front to rear and made the roof on either side detachable. Of course, this type of roof is no longer in production.


Notice the t-top!

Examples of some convertible cars
 N/O Car model
 1  Mercedes-Benz E-Class Cabriolet
 2  Mercedes-Benz C-Class Cabriolet
 3  Audi A3 Cabriolet

To Recap

So, when you see a hardtop, call it one, when you see a sunroof, call it, and of course, you already know a convertible, but you can show off to your friends by giving more details: Oh! That is a retractable hardtop convertible,’ with your hands in your pocket.

That's all about Types of car roofs. We hope that you enjoy the knowledge brought by our car experts. is the no.1 platform for car buying and selling, as well as informative car gist for Naija people. Always visit our Car Tips for more posts like this. You can also find Car NewsCar TipsCar ReviewCar Prices, Cars for sale on our website. Stay tuned!

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Testimony Olajire

Testimony Olajire


Testimony Olajire is a witty and innovative content writer with He creates top quality educative content on automobiles that readers can both relate with and enjoy. He has a keen interest in understanding what lies under the hood of any car, practical driving and safety tips, automobile history and managing automobile-related businesses; all in the Nigerian context.   

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