Headroom with a view at the L.A. Auto Show
Panoramic sunroofs are all the rage in Tinsel Town.
2012 Kia Optima with panoramic sunroof
Auto shows are great places to pick-up on trends — implied or otherwise. It's a byproduct of spending days wandering from booth to booth, poring over every car on display from some of the world's major manufacturers — and some not-so-major. At one show, half the vehicles have metallic-flake paint; at the next, there's a preponderance of "4-door coupe" body styles. At the 2011 Los Angeles Auto Show, one of the trends we noticed was subtle, not something you could pick up on from a distance. In fact, only by sitting in the vehicles and then looking up did we realize that panoramic sunroofs have become en vogue. And, believe us, we're not complaining. Here are five of the most notable examples from the show floor.
Kia's recent design swagger may have kicked off the whole panoramic sunroof trend. When the Korean automaker unveiled its stunning Optima sedan last year, the blacked-out roof with panoramic sunroof was one of the major design elements that hinted Kia wanted to punch above its weight class by offering details normally reserved for luxury automobiles. Now, as Kia continues to make visually influential cars, everyone else, it seems, is taking a cue from its playbook.
One thing about the panoramic roof: It feels totally modern. Modernity, and the younger audience that chases it, is something Lincoln desperately needs. No surprise, then, that when Lincoln design director Max Wolff unveiled the redesigned MKS sedan, the vehicle boasted fresher, tauter sheet metal and luxury details such as an upgraded infotainment system, flowing center stack and — you guessed it — the sweeping sunroof that younger brands like Kia are emphasizing.
Ford Mustang Shelby GT500
We were going to include another Ford on this list — the new Escape SUV has an impressive view, as well — but decided to go with this 650-horspower fire-breathing stallion, the most powerful production Mustang ever. How cool is it that the Shelby has a stretched-out sunroof? It's a bit smaller than some of the others on this list, but it still reaches back into the rear seats, allowing all four passengers to watch the clouds as they fly by very, very fast.