Cars with suicide doors

Fancy an unusual door setup for your next car that makes getting kids into the back easier? Check out the best cars with rear-opening doors

James Wilson
Aug 3, 2022

Cars with 'suicide' doors are pretty rare but they can be perfect for some drivers - thanks to their backwards-opening rear doors - offering a dash of style and additional practicality in some cases. Suicide doors aren’t all style with no substance, though, as there can be a number of benefits. Below are five cars that come with suicide doors, ranging from an affordable people carrier to some of the most expensive and luxurious cars in the world.

A suicide door is defined as one which is hinged at the back rather than the front - which is the opposite to 99% of cars on the road. There are a number of stories as to where the ‘suicide’ part of the name comes from, but the general consensus is that it derives from old stagecoach doors, which were prone to fly open on bumpy tracks. If a passenger tried to grab the handle to keep it closed they would often get flung out to their doom as the wind whipped the door open.

Happily, things have changed a lot since horse-drawn carriages and suicide doors can now be considered perfectly practical. The biggest bonus is that they provide much better access to the rear seats. For older people and those with young kids, this can mean the difference between awkwardly clambering in and out of a car or effortlessly stepping into place. Suicide doors also add more panache to arriving as they open to reveal a person in all their glory rather than hiding them behind a door.

Nothing is perfect though, and there are some drawbacks to suicide doors. A big one that does not apply to all cars with suicide doors (but does apply to the BMW i3 and Mazda MX-30 mentioned below) is that you might have to open the front doors first before you can open the rear ones. This can be a pain but on the flip side, it does mean that kids in the back cannot physically open the door unless an adult opens the front one first.

Cars with suicide doors

1. BMW i3

Our pick BMW i3 120Ah
Used deals from £19,500
Monthly finance from £317*

Starting with the interior of the electric i3, its design is nothing short of unique. Yes, there are cars with bigger media screens or more exciting features, but the cabin in the i3 feels special, especially when compared to other small electric cars. What makes the i3 interior all the more impressive is that the vast majority of visible surfaces are made from recycled or renewable materials.

Then there is the outside styling, which is still very striking a decade on from the car's original launch date. Access to the front seats is via normal doors but getting into the back will require a suicide door to be used. Once open, entering the rear is a doddle as there is no metal pillar between the front and rear doors as with most other cars.

BMW has offered the i3 with a number of batteries and we’d suggest shopping for either of the biggest versions, unless you expect to only drive short trips in and around town. The largest battery is rated at 120Ah and the next one down comes in at 94Ah. ‘Ah’ is a unit to measure battery size - it is not all that common to see as most manufacturers use ‘kWh’ instead.

BMW I3 BUYERS' GUIDE

2. Vauxhall Meriva

Our pick Vauxhall Meriva 1.4i Tech Line
Used deals from £6,000
Monthly finance from £159*

The Vauxhall Meriva is incredibly practical, helped in part by the suicide doors. Unlike the BMW i3 above, the Meriva can have its rear doors opened without the front ones needing to be open first, making it much more suitable for those who tend to carry adults in the back. Once inside, the rear seats are very handy, too, as they can be slid forwards or backwards to alter the boot space to legroom ratio.

Driving or being driven in the Meriva promises to be comfortable as the suspension is supple enough to soak up the size of bumps that are common on UK roads. Of the engines available, the 134hp 1.6-litre diesel is the star of the show thanks to its mixture of power and good fuel economy. If you want to stay away from diesel, then the 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine is a good alternative.

We’d recommend looking for a Meriva in Exclusiv, Tech Line or SE trim, as these come with additional curtain airbags. These help protect people in the cabin in the event of an impact to the side of the car. For example, skidding into a tree or being crashed into from the side. If you have children to transport, there are Isofix points on the outer rear seats, so you can securely anchor child seats.

VAUXHALL MERIVA BUYERS' GUIDE

3. Mazda MX-30

Mazda MX-30 side view

Our pick Mazda MX-30 Sport Lux
Used deals from £23,490
Monthly finance from £327*

As electric SUVs go, the Mazda MX-30 is rather funky. There is much to like with the rest of the car but the elephant in the room is the range. From a full charge, Mazda claims that only 124 miles are possible. This may seem tiny but really it means that the Mazda is targeting a specific type of driver - those who only do town driving or short trips. These types of motorists include people who live in the city or people who need a second car for running the kids to and from school.

Moving away from range, the MX-30 scored very highly in its official crash tests - it achieved a maximum five-star rating. As for the driving experience, the MX-30 is a delight - it is definitely up there with the best-handling small electric SUVs, feeling agile and fun to drive.

Now we come to the interior. Crack open the doors and inside there is an upmarket cabin with a smattering of unusual materials. For example, part of the console between the front seats is covered in cork, for a distinctive look and feel. Overall the parts that you see, touch and feel are a cut above your average small SUV, meaning that anyone looking to move from a petrol or diesel BMW or Mercedes to the electric Mazda should not feel short-changed.

The small rear doors, however, mean that if you regularly carry passengers in the rear seats or have bulky child seats to put in and out, this may not be the best option for you.

MAZDA MX-30 BUYERS' GUIDE

4. Rolls-Royce

Rolls-Royce deals from £224,950
Monthly finance from £0*

Rolls-Royce is the biggest advocate for suicide doors as its entire range features them. Why? Simple - presence. Those who are wealthy enough to spend more than £250,000 on a Rolls-Royce - all of which are large and less than subtle - are likely to want to be noticed. And would you want to arrive at an exclusive event only and have to climb out, hidden by the door? Instead, a suicide door allows you to effortlessly step out of the cabin.

Depending on your needs, you can choose from a range of suicide-doored Rolls-Royce models. There's the Dawn for people after a super-luxurious convertible and the Wraith for those who prefer a hardtop model. Both of these models have one large suicide door on each side which is used to access the front and rear seats.

Then there is the Cullinan for luxury SUV lovers, the Ghost for people who want a more traditional high-end saloon and, sat at the top of the Rolls-Royce range is the Phantom. These last three Rolls-Royce models all come with regular front doors and suicide rear doors. With Rolls Royces, you even get electronically assisted doors to enable you to enjoy the full suicide door experience. 

5. LEVC TX

If you needed proof that suicide doors make getting in and out of a car easier, then the fact that this is the preferred format for the London Taxi is good evidence. Officially named the LEVC (London Electric Vehicle Company) TX, the latest version of this British icon is bang up to date. A major part of this is that the TX is powered by a battery pack and an electric motor. There is a small petrol-powered generator on board to help boost range, but compared to older diesel black cabs, the TX is much cleaner in exhaust emissions terms.

Although the TX is built as a taxi, the general public can still buy them. With seating for seven - including the driver - and lots of equipment, such as a touchscreen media system, a panoramic roof and optional front and rear parking sensors, it's definitely an appealing alternative family car.

If you need a car that has wheelchair access, then the TX could be a great fit, as this is standard on all models. In addition, every TX comes with an automatic gearbox and a very tight turning circle. This means that even though it is quite a large car, manoeuvring around tight and busy urban streets is no trouble at all.

*Representative PCP finance - Ford Fiesta:

48 monthly payments of £192
Deposit: £0
Mileage limit: 8,000 per year
Optional final payment to buy car: £2,923
Total amount payable to buy car: £11,926
Total cost of credit: £2,426
Amount borrowed: £9,500
APR: 9.9%

BuyaCar is a credit broker, not a lender. Our rates start from 6.9% APR. The rate you are offered will depend on your individual circumstances.

 

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