Tips from Used Car Advisor

Car Advisor Tamotsu Todoroki

Hi, this is Tamotsu Todoroki. I am a car advisor of
I write an online column every week to take care of your vehicle. My column is all about something useful and practical for your vehicle. Please have a look once to keep your car in good condition.


Sliding Car Doors - Pros and Cons - Vol.396

Car doors have been around as long as cars. The design of the first cars was heavily influenced by the horse-carriage design because people rarely look for inspiration far from what they can see in their surroundings. So, the car doors inherited most of the features of the horse-carriage doors and this principle remained in use for a long time.

Some early car models came with the so-called "suicide doors". These are pretty much standard, hinged doors with a difference that they open on the opposite side. How they got this dreadful nickname is not completely certain, but it does seem to have something to do with safety issues.

Almost all, post-World War II cars were designed with standard doors. Pioneering ventures into the uncharted territories of innovative door design were fairly rare until more modern times.

New Times, New Designs
When different designs were used, it became almost a rule that a unique door design comes at a high price. This meant that the first cars that got equipped with unconventional doors were the ones in the higher price range. Sports cars manufactures experimented with futuristic-looking designs such as butterfly doors, scissor doors or canopy doors.

But, it was not any of these that found their way into the lives of regular family car drivers. This honor was reserved for the type of doors primarily designed for commercial vehicles. The sliding doors came, stayed and became a revolutionizing segment in the car manufacturing industry.

Today, sliding doors are a synonym for space and maneuverability. They are the coolest part of the otherwise unfashionable minivan. For sliding doors fans, their practicality cannot be challenged. But not everyone thinks so.

Over the years, sliding doors seem to have remained, not only literally, attached to the infamous minivan. This door design simply couldn't break through and reach other car market segments. To better understand the reasons for this, we need to take a look at all the good and bad characteristics of this functional car door design.

Sliding Doors Pros
More space is probably the number one positive thing about sliding doors. When those doors open, you cannot escape the feeling that seriously big things can go through. Sometimes it even looks like you could walk into the car upright and take a smaller car with you. All jokes aside, sliding doors are very practical for the loading and unloading of just about anything, especially if you need to do it often.

Parking and maneuverability are also areas where sliding doors shine. On a tight parking space, it is relieving when you don't have to worry about how you will open your door just enough to go out, without scratching or denting the car parked next to you.

Sliding Doors Cons
A higher production price could be a good enough reason for more cars not being equipped with sliding doors. Unlike the standard ones, sliding doors run on a mechanism which is more demanding when it comes to maintenance and installation.

Fitting the sliding doors becomes much easier when the car's design is flat and straightforward (not to say dull). More elaborate designs would certainly cause the overall price to rise as well. Some people also find having four doors a benefit or they simply think of the sliding doors as unattractive.

The Bottom Line
When it comes to practicality, sliding doors are a solution that has proved its worth and there is no doubt about that. However, it is obvious that sliding doors come with a burden of their own - the minivan. To put it simply, if you want the milk, you have to buy the cow as well.