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


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