If you have looked around on the internet, you may have seen a few pictures of various SUVs that appear to have sliding doors.
Unfortunately, these pictures are photoshopped, and as of now we know of no auto manufacturers who plan to create SUVs with sliding doors.
However, this does present an interesting question. Why don’t today’s modern SUVs have sliding doors? Here are a few reasons.
Why Don’t SUVs have Sliding Doors?
Since minivans and some cargo vans have been equipped with sliding doors for decades, you probably think the same concept could be applied to your favorite SUV.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case!
SUVs do not have sliding doors because they are manufactured using a conventional B-pillar, which itself is not compatible with sliding doors. B-pillars are designed to give the vehicle its sturdiness for off-roading and other activities.
As a result, if manufacturers wanted to create SUVs with sliding doors, they would need to completely change the vehicle’s body structure so that it would be reinforced well enough to keep passengers safe, especially in side-impact crashes.
Are Sliding Doors the Same as Removable Doors on an SUV?
On some SUVs, including the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler, removable doors are part of the package.
Initially, you may assume that if auto manufacturers can equip these SUVs with removable doors, they could give them sliding doors.
However, there is a big reason why there is such a difference between removable and sliding doors, and that has to do with the size of the doors.
When an SUV has removable doors, the doors as well as the door openings are not anywhere near as big as with sliding doors.
Also, since these doors are not equipped with a B-pillar, auto manufacturers must be careful to ensure the SUVs structure stays stiff enough to protect its occupants.
How Would Sliding Doors Look on an SUV?
Along with the practicality issues involving trying to place sliding doors on SUVs, most auto manufacturers have found that SUV buyers generally don’t want an SUV that closely resembles a minivan.
If sliding doors were added to SUVs, that is exactly what you would get.
In fact, even if sliding doors were able to be a practical option for SUVs, most surveys of potential buyers have found they do not want their SUV to resemble a minivan.
While buyers of course look at the practical benefits of whatever vehicle they are considering purchasing, you also know that how a vehicle looks plays a big role in its appeal.
With most SUVs, auto manufacturers know that no matter how much they try to disguise or conceal a sliding door, it will nevertheless make potential buyers think of a minivan upon first glance.
Ultimately, auto manufacturers believe they would lose too much money by trying to implement such a drastic change in body design, which is a big reason why it is highly unlikely you will be seeing sliding doors on SUVs anytime soon.
Do SUVs and Crossovers have the Same Body Frames?
No, which is part of the reason why neither of these types of vehicles has sliding doors.
SUVs have what is known as a body-on-frame platform, while crossovers have a car-based platform. In reality, this makes crossovers much more compatible for the sliding door option.
However, most auto manufacturers tend to market their crossover vehicles as SUVs, even though they actually are not part of this vehicle category.
If you have noticed, you tend to see crossovers being used mostly for regular types of driving, rather than off-roading.
While SUVs see plenty of city driving as well, many SUV enthusiasts also use their vehicles for off-roading in mountains and elsewhere.
Because of this, sliding doors cannot be added to SUVs due to the safety risks involved with making their frames unable to handle the stress placed on them during off-roading.
Would There be Practical Benefits to SUVs having Sliding Doors?
While the way an SUV would look with sliding doors likely would not appeal to most buyers, auto manufacturers agree there would be a variety of positive and practical benefits if this option was added.
First, a sliding door on an SUV would not open as wide as would a regular door. Thus, you would be able to park your SUV in a tight spot within a parking lot or elsewhere without worrying about hitting the vehicle nearest you.
An additional benefit is that the sliding door would have a larger opening, meaning it would be easier for passengers to exit the vehicle.
Will SUVs Ever Have Sliding Doors?
While it is likely design schemes could be created that would allow most types of SUVs to have sliding doors added to their frames, we highly doubt you will be seeing a Wagoneer, Bronco, or any other type of SUV adding sliding doors to its package anytime soon.
Though auto manufacturers make plenty of money selling minivans as well as SUVs, they also realize the buyers of these vehicles are drastically different.
Whereas a minivan is marketed to soccer moms as being an efficient, reliable, and practical vehicle to use in taking kids to school and getting groceries, most SUVs are marketed to buyers who want a coolness factor associated with their vehicle.
In reality, minivans and SUVs are very similar in terms of how they are built. Other than a few somewhat minor frame differences, they are essentially one and the same.
Yet despite this, if sliding doors on a vehicle are very important to you, chances are you will be purchasing a minivan or cargo van instead of an SUV.
While some people tend to believe minivans are only still around due to their sliding doors, this is a much too simple way to think when comparing minivans and SUVs.
Even though sliding doors are practical in many ways, if you factor in coolness and having the ability to take your vehicle off-road virtually anywhere you wish, you’ll be driving an SUV.