Overlapping Doors at Curbside - 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Long-Term Road Test

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Overlapping Doors at Curbside

January 29, 2014

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

In the past we've stated the benefits of the rockerless, narrow-sill overlapping doors on our 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe. Their many advantages include: always-clean sills that won't transfer winter slush or spring mud onto your pant leg upon entry or exit; easier entry for those who aren't as flexible as they once were because they can stand a couple inches closer to the seat; and just plain good looks.

There is a downside, and it can crop up when taking on passengers at the curb. If the curb is very high the passenger door may make outright contact as it swings open. This isn't exclusive to this door design, but there can be no doubt these bottom edges are lower. There's a greater chance of curbside interference.

The mild damage shown above came from a lesser version of this scenario in which the curb itself is low enough to clear but not the lawn behind, which is oftentimes mounded higher. High-crowned roads don't help because they add in a dose of vehicle lean that tips the opening door toward the waiting grass.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

You know you're in the zone if the door skims across the top of the blades as it's opened by a passenger standing outside waiting to get in. Once they sit down the car will sink a bit from their added weight (but don't tell them that, especially if the passenger is a spouse or significant other), and that displacement will be magnified at the open door's lower corner because it's 2 or 3 feet farther out.

The difference can be enough for it to dig in. Pull it closed at this point and it's like petting a dog's fur back-to-front. In our case someone tugged through the resistance at some point and unknowingly caused one of the clips to pop loose.

I don't think it happened here at my place because my curb isn't terribly tall and my road has no more than the usual amount of crown. Then again, my lawn was recently mowed and I'm only working with an inch or so of clearance with no one aboard.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

Wherever and whenever it happened, nothing was damaged and the clip popped back in place with no more than a little mild persuasion. And I suppose it's nice that a sacrificial plastic trim piece took the heat instead of the door metal itself.

I'm still a big fan of this type of door, but curbside passenger loading is a potential Achilles heel for those that will do a lot of that in similar circumstances.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing, 14,054 miles


  • After reviewing Edmunds long term tests for a while I've concluded that the best vehicles for dependability and long term ownership are the most boring. If this is the only thing they can come up with for a Santa Fe entry then Hyundai has knocked another one out the park. It's dependable, comfortable and does everything you ask of it. No, it won't win any drag races and if you take it on your favorite twisty road you'll probably end up in a ditch. But if you want to buy a CUV and drive it until it can't go anymore then this looks like a good buy. I wish Edmunds would do the same. They had a Ford Flex that was surprisingly a very good CUV. No problems and easily hauled families or junk when needed and took numerous multi-state road trips. I wish they still had it since it would probably be well over 100,000 miles now and we could see how it holds up. It was an unloved in the market and they didn't sell many but turns out it was probably one of the best vehicles in Ford's lineup.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Oh how I hate high curbs and steeply crowned roads. In my town our wettest month doesn't exceed 5 inches of rain, and yet my street has 10 inch high curbs and is crowned so severely the nose of our Ford C-Max, never mind my Miata, scrapes as I drive perpendicularly across it. If you street park with anything other than a lifted SUV curb-side doors are inoperable. Whoever designed our roads was severely mislead about our climate.

  • legacygt legacygt Posts:

    I've experienced this same problem with my Mazda CX-9. Another downside I've noticed is that you drive in rainy conditions or otherwise wet roads, the splashing water hitting the lower part of the door really resonates up into the cabin. On a very wet highway, it gets very noisy in the CX-9.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Owning a truck with a 2 inch lift and 33" tires I have run into "curbs" in downtown KC that very lightly scrape the plastic air dam of the bumper when I pull in. Still at least I have enough sidewall not to destroy my wheels.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Owning a truck with a 2 inch lift and 33" tires I have run into "curbs" in downtown KC that very lightly scrape the plastic air dam of the bumper when I pull in. Still at least I have enough sidewall not to destroy my wheels.

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