Flipping, folding, and rising door designs have typically been the domain of supercars.
However, bold designers have followed similar principles to make “average” cars more accessible.
These innovations rarely make it past a single model generation, but they make their mark while on the market.
Below, we take a look at the quirky cars that attempted to pull off cool door designs.
The Veloster was an unconventional design – not quite a traditional hatch and not quite a coupe.
It replaced the Tiburon in the company line-up, and what it lost in its head-turning sportscar shape it made up for with its asymmetrical three-door set-up.
The Veloster had one large coupe-like door on the driver’s side, and a traditional two door set-up on the passenger side.
The second door on the passenger side then cleverly hides its door handle to pull off the coupe look.
The original new-generation Mini Clubman was a magnificent machine full of quirks.
This included staying true to the “two-door” concept of the original 1966 Mini Traveller wagon – except it hid a half-size suicide door on the driver’s side.
Like the Veloster, this was intended to help rear passenger entry and exit.
Unfortunately, it required the driver getting out each time the rear passenger wanted to exit.
The small rear door was dropped from the Clubman that followed.
The Mazda RX-8 launched in 2003 and was a ground-breaking vehicle for its time.
It featured an extremely high-revving rotary engine and true four-seater capabilities – unlike many coupes at the time.
The engineers also developed “freestyle” rear-doors, which provided a much larger opening for passengers.
As the leading edge of the rear door effectively formed the B-pillar, though, the front door needed to be opened for rear passengers to get in or out.
The second-generation Opel Meriva was a compact MPV which sold in limited numbers in South Africa – and featured awesome, rear-hinged doors.
It’s unfortunate it did not see big success, as it was the only compact “hatch” that could rival the Honda Jazz for its versatility.
The benefit of its rear-hinged doors was that entry and exit were far simpler than traditional front-hinged doors – and in the case of the Meriva, it served as a way for the driver to access and contain kids in the back with ease.
This is a feature that I would love to see as standard on family cars today.
Ford’s compact MPV, the B-Max, pioneered a really cool and versatile door design.
The B-Max was developed on the Fiesta platform and provided space, practicality, and versatility to rival many of today’s medium-sized SUVs.
It featured a rear sliding door and did away with the B-pillar completely. The result was that the front doors hinged open, and rear doors slid backwards – providing a cavernous opening more than 1.5m wide.
Sadly, the B-Max and its innovative doors are another casualty of ever-changing market trends.