Automotive technology has come a long way since the inception of vehicles. Not only has the outer style changed like the fluctuation of modern art, advancements in technology have allowed the interior to compliment the human body and provide the peak of comfort. Aesthetics and comfort are important, and luckily, consumers can enjoy these luxuries with the confidence that these vehicles will not be subject to theft, as security technology has made a great leap.
The invention of the transponder key made this possible. Having a chip in the key makes it near impossible to start the vehicle without it. Otherwise, the basic components of how cars operate has stayed generally the same (when it comes to engines that run, wheels that turn and doors that can be opened and closed).
How would car manufacturers set themselves apart from everyone else? Having doors that open in a way that is unexpected. There are now seven major door types—conventional, suicide, butterfly, scissor, gull-wing, sliding, and canopy.
Suicide doors are a little more normalized, and can be found on such cars as Opel Meriva. These doors open in the opposite direction (compared to standard doors), having the hinge on the back side. The name is a bit harsh and alludes to passengers who try to close the door while the vehicle is moving.
Butterfly doors serve the purpose of exotic aesthetics only, the design lacking much concern for how the owner gets in or out. These doors move outward and then up, affecting the interior space when closed but also improving the access. The Enzo Ferrari is a great example of the application of butterfly doors.
Scissor doors can be found on Lamborghini, but the opening mechanism is quite standard. These are hinged at the same spot as conventional doors, but utilize a vertical configuration to open upward, rather than a horizontal one that results in opening outward.
Gullwing doors get their name in a not so surprising way- seagulls. The hinges are located at the roof, making the doors open upward. Though seemingly frivolous, this style of door is actually very useful in crowded cities with not a lot of parking space and can be seen on the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG.
Mini vans employ another of the unique mechanisms, sliding doors. Manufacturers apply this method to passenger cars, in hope to help with the issue of tight parking spaces in larger cities. The doors are mounted on a track and slide horizontally.
Probably the least practical of all the doors is the canopy. Just as one would imagine, the door is raised from the top, similar to an aircraft. While it is not exactly practical, is does make it possible to park very close to another car and still be able to get in. This can be viewed in the Saab Aero-X concept.
When all is said and done, cars that have non-standard doors don’t differ much from the rest. Most of these cars are opened with a remote or with a transponder key, and it’s pretty much impossible to steal them without having a transponder key made and programmed correctly.
Conventional doors still remain the most popular type, but someone with a healthy wallet and little patience for parking in the city would be an ideal candidate for choosing a vehicle with almost any of these door types.