Easy Entry Through Overlapping Doors - 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Easy Entry Through Overlapping Doors

November 6, 2013

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

I'm not aware of an agreed-upon term for the door design employed by the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. And even if there was one I think some explanation would still be necessary.

You could call them any number of things: overlapping doors, rockerless doors, narrow-sill doors. These terms all apply, but what do they mean?

Most doors are cut into the body. By that I mean the opening doesn't go all the way to the bottom. There's a visible cut-line with a rocker panel just below. The doors open to reveal a full-width sill.

The Santa Fe doesn't have any of that. It's got rockerless narrow-sill overlapping doors that offer many practical advantages.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

For one, they look better. The lack of a cut line eliminates another unsightly seam even though this isn't as easy to appreciate in this case due to the presence of gray cladding.

Second, the hidden sill is narrower by the thickness of the lower door, which makes it easier to get in, especially if you're not as flexible as you once were.

But the biggest advantage is this design's elimination of what I call "Minnesota winter job interview syndrome", which is closely related to the "Oregon off-road pant-leg effect" that I studied this summer.

In both cases the overlapping door is the primary depository of encrusted slush, silt or mud. Open the door and that junk swings away with it to reveal a clean and dry sill that won't transfer much (if any) crud onto your dress pants or blue jeans when you clamber in or out.

Hyundai's Santa Fe is by no means the only vehicle with this feature. Our Ford Flex had it, the Toyota Venza has it and there are other examples. Overlapping doors are far from universal, but the design is gaining ground.

If the idea appeals to you, it's easy to spot even if there isn't yet a catchy, self-explanatory name for it. Simply examine the cutline or, better yet, open the door.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

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