Renault Solarbay tech: the smart sunroof that lets each row pick their tints | CAR Magazine

Renault Solarbay tech: the smart sunroof that lets each row pick their tints

Published: 15 January 2024 Updated: 15 January 2024

► Renault Solarbay adaptive sunroof
► New auto-tinting glass tech
► Cools in summer, warms in winter

One of the eye-grabbing features on the new Renault Scenic E-Tech and Renault Rafale are their Solarbay panoramic glass roofs. Developed by glazing specialist Saint-Gobain Sekurit, it’s a moonroof that lets each row of passengers choose their own tinting, simply at the flick of a switch or a voice command using Google Assistant.

Hot day at the beach and the kids are frazzled? Parents can make the glass almost opaque for row two, while still bathing in sunshine up front. Driving near Heathrow and the children want to spot planes while the grown-ups want some privacy? Renault Solarbay can do that, too, as well as offering full transparency or shade to both rows.

When you activate the opacity mode, it looks like a wave passing through the nine glazing segments. They’ve not missed a trick in making this tech stand out from the crowd.

Renault Solarbay smart roof tints in summer, brightens in winter

When you switch the ignition off and park up, the glazing automatically dims for greater security and to minimise solar gain. At start-up, the sunroof will default to its last setting, meaning the driver won’t constantly be adjusting the level of tint.

Renault Solarbay review: hands-on with the tinting sunroof

CAR magazine has tested the roof in action and been impressed how quickly the glass reacts to commands. It uses a technology called AmpliSky that sandwiches glazing with a layer of polymer dispersed liquid crystals (PDLCs), whose chemical structure reacts to an electric current, changing the opacity of the glass one panel at a time.

The glass roof saves 30mm of headroom, as there is no need for a mechanical rollerblind and it’s 8kg lighter, too. Crucially, 50 per cent of the roof is made from automotive glass waste and 90 per cent of it can be recycled at the end of its life.

Anne-Chloé Kort, the product lead for the Renault Scenic E-Tech said: ‘At Renault, we are innovating non-stop to improve life on board our vehicles and comfort standards for our customers. Solarbay is a smart, high-tech feature that does exactly that.’

By Tim Pollard

Group digital editorial director, car news magnet, crafter of words