Suicide Doors: Still A Gimmick

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
suicide doors still a gimmick

As Europe moves towards ever more premium subcompact cars, Opel has sought to hop on the bandwagon by giving its Corsa-based Meriva Micro-MPV stylish suicide doors. And with Buick moving towards simple rebadges of Opel’s product, the suicide-doored Meriva seems almost certain to arrive stateside as the so-called “Baby Enclave” MPV, expected to debut in the US market in 2012. There’s little doubt of the suicide door concept’s gimmick value, and we’ve said before that this factor alone could get Americans excited about the first-ever Buick subcompact… but just how much of a difference do the rear-hinged doors make in real life? According to the first German-market comparison test (by Auto Motor und Sport print edition), the Meriva’s suicide doors are still just a gimmick.

With the “FlexDoor” door concept (as it’s known in marketing-speak), Opel promises easier installation of child seats. Theoretically, its advantage is in the ability to move the child seat in and out by moving forward rather than side to side. But then one must still squeeze it through the narrow door frames. Here the small opening and far-back-positioned bench annoy even more when the child seat should be resting against the child-seat-anchor or be belted in… even lifting a child into the Meriva is not noticeably more comfortable .

Thank the Meriva’s B-Pillars for the compromise, as safety and cost required the extra steel to make the suicide door concept work. And as could be expected, the design has also taken a toll on that perennial GM bugaboo, weight. With a 120 hp 1.4 liter engine, the Gamma II-platform (next-gen Aveo-based) Meriva weighs 3,064 lbs, making the Meriva the only car in the comparison over 3k lbs (it was tested against the Citroen C3 Picasso, the Kia Venga, the Renault Grand Modus and the Skoda Roomster). Gimmicks are good for business, but only if they don’t require huge sacrifices. With much hype over the Buick Meriva’s suicide doors likely in the years leading up to its US release, it’s nice to know that there’s nothing to get too excited about.

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  • Ford trucks Ford trucks on Aug 19, 2010

    The first of the suicide doors are how to section that how to swing them doors in reverse mode.After you stop jumping with joy just witnessed your door opening in suicide mode, can finish it with the hinge pocket to the cab or trucks,opening around hinge pocket is in rare case.handle file should be used to remove the extra metal.The manufacturer should used some good thick steel for the inner door skins won't have any problem.

  • I just recently installed a set of 300c suicide doors on my 2005 chrysler 300c. I have to disagree with what others have said about them being difficult in any way. I find them to be a dramatic improvement to regular doors. These suicide doors are wide open in the front so your legs have nothing restricting them when you sit down and turn into the vehicle. The same applied when you get out. They are much better than conventional doors that way. Now if the seats pointed toward the back of the vehicle, lol , then I would prefer conventional doors.

  • Jeff S I don't believe gm will die but that it will continue to shrink in product and market share and it will probably be acquired by a foreign manufacturer. I doubt gm lacks funds as it did in 2008 and that they have more than enough cash at hand but gm will not expand as it did in the past and the emphasis is more on profitability and cutting costs to the bone. Making gm a more attractive takeover target and cut costs at the expense of more desirable and reliable products. At the time of Farago's article I was in favor of the Government bailout more to save jobs and suppliers but today I would not be in favor of the bailout. My opinions on gm have changed since 2008 and 2009 and now I really don't care if gm survives or not.
  • Kwik_Shift I was a GM fan boy until it ended in 2013 when I traded in my Avalanche to go over to Nissan.
  • Stuart de Baker I didn't bother to read this article. I'll wait until a definitive headline comes out, and I'll be surprised if Tesla actually produces the Cybertruck. It certainly looks impractical for both snowy and hot sunny weather.
  • Stuart de Baker This is very interesting information. I was in no danger of buying a Tesla. I love my '08 Civic (stick), and it feels just as responsive as when I bought it 11 years ago with 35k on the clock (now 151k), and barring mishaps, I plan to keep it for the next 25 years or so, which would put me into my mid-90s, assuming I live that long. On your information, I will avoid renting Teslas.
  • RHD The only people who would buy this would be those convinced by a website that they are great, and order one sight-unseen. They would have to have be completely out of touch with every form of media for the last year. There might actually be a few of these people, but not very many. They would also have to be completely ignorant of the Hyundai Excel. (Vinfast seems to make the original Excel look like a Camry in comparison.)