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View Full Version : What happened to flush door handles?



Crazed_Insanity
May 19th, 2015, 11:17 AM
Other than Model S's super flush handle, have you guys noticed that most new cars today seemed to have abandon flush door handles lately?

Heck, even Model S door handle doesn't look like the old fashion flush handle where you'd stick your fingers from underneath...

http://image.automobilemag.com/f/features/awards/1301_2013_automobile_of_the_year_tesla_model_s/44491374+w968/Tesla-Model-S-door-handle.jpg

Do you guys noticed this trend? And the reason why?

Do you know of any new cars that don't have door handles looking like this:
http://images.thecarconnection.com/lrg/2008-ford-focus-2-door-coupe-ses-door-handle_100288572_l.jpg

That type of handles above can't be more aerodynamic or cheaper to manufacture than something shown below:

http://www.s2ki.com/s2000/uploads/gallery/1125262248/gallery_38010_11661_1125365783.jpg

Right?

Is this just a trend?

Anyway, just something odd that I suddenly noticed this morning...

thesameguy
May 19th, 2015, 11:46 AM
The problem with the second type of doorhandle is that women break their nails on them.

Kchrpm
May 19th, 2015, 11:50 AM
Hmmm, I haven't been paying attention. The door handles I like are the ones with the electronic pad you press that pops them open a little bit, and you just swing it the rest of the way. No external moving part.

But maybe I just like it because that's what the Corvette has...

http://media.ed.edmunds-media.com/chevrolet/corvette/2014/lt/2014_chevrolet_corvette_det_lt_128142_600.jpg

Edit: I will say, though, that my vague memory of anecdotal evidence is that I've seen more of the old flush door handle broken off a car than I have the stick out ones. I have no numbers or data to go with it, so I may only be thinking that because you asked the question.

George
May 19th, 2015, 12:07 PM
That third type of door handle is what I had on my '94 Camry. Both of them broke off in very cold weather. For a while I had to open the drivers' door with a little stub of sharp plastic, until that broke off too. Then I started going in through the passenger door. Yup, that one broke too, in very cold weather. I finally bought a pair of door handles in the right color on eBay so I could get in the damn car other than through the back doors!

It was a common problem with Toyotas of that era based on how many others I saw with the same problem. It wasn't hard to find an example on Google just now, either.

http://bermangraphics.com/images/500-toyota-door-handle-1.jpg

As for me, I prefer a nice chromed metal handle that won't break into pieces through normal usage. And a keyhole on both sides of the car, and the trunk, too!

http://image.vwtrendsweb.com/f/features/8562725+w799+h499+cr1+ar0/0109vwt_02zoom%2B1963_volkswagen_beetle%2Bdriver_s ide_door_handle.jpg

I sure wish stuff was made to last these days, instead of everything being made of plastic.

thesameguy
May 19th, 2015, 12:39 PM
Plastic isn't all bad. The metal door handles and locks on my Falcon are so thin and brittle I am afraid to use them. Hell, the metal door handles on the '99 Suburban are worse. Totally shattered, and it affects all the GMT400 and some of the GMT800 trucks.

Crazed_Insanity
May 19th, 2015, 12:53 PM
Gee, didn't realize those old fashion flush door handles could break off so easily! Good thing I don't drive my S2000 in cold weather too much! :p

So for sure the newer sticking out handles probably won't break as easily. Plus, I'd bet women not chipping their nails probably was a main reason for the design change. :up:

George
May 19th, 2015, 01:02 PM
Hopefully your S2000 is safe. My handles broke in Colorado cold, not Southern California cold.

Kchrpm
May 19th, 2015, 01:24 PM
shattered
Shadooby.

George
May 19th, 2015, 01:26 PM
Heh.

But TSG doesn't like the Stones. :thppt:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjRT-J8dPSA

Dicknose
May 19th, 2015, 02:45 PM
The 3rd style only works with "palm up" and I guess that annoys some people.

Crazed_Insanity
May 19th, 2015, 02:59 PM
The Palm up version is really rare these days. Can you recall any new cars with such door handles?

So it's not just some people, guess it annoys lots of folks... that's why they're seemingly extincted?

SkylineObsession
May 19th, 2015, 07:42 PM
To be honest it's not something i've noticed. ;) All three of our Skylines have the reach in and lift up handles (like the second pic you posted) and the van has a similar one too.

Wifeys motorbike doesn't have door handles though for some weird reason. :erm:

KillerB
May 19th, 2015, 07:58 PM
Challenger still has the pull up style, though to be fair, starting in 2011 they're no longer flush.

I will say my 2010 with the flush style feels a little flimsy to the touch.

Random
May 19th, 2015, 09:15 PM
What do the OG Miata handles qualify as? (Besides nail-breakers. :P )

CudaMan
May 19th, 2015, 09:18 PM
I like flush door handles, too. Stylish and aerodynamic.

The vertical handles of the 350Z are interesting. Not flush, but feel good to operate once you get used to it.

The Tesla implementation is pretty sweet. GT-R's door handles are a lower-tech solution that works well IMO.

http://image.motortrend.com/f/9319553+w750/112_0803_22z+2009_nissan_GT-R+door_handle.jpg

Rare White Ape
May 20th, 2015, 12:00 AM
Like hoverboards, missing are the great futuristic ideas for vehicular ingress/egress, such as handleless automatic doors, as well as force fields which make the 'door' disappear from the body as the occupant approaches their flying car.

speedpimp
May 20th, 2015, 06:43 AM
I liked the "beer tap" door handles on the Chevy Beretta.

shakes
May 25th, 2015, 07:42 AM
I always thought it had something to do with crash safety. Lets say you've just been in a big enough accident to twist the unibody slightly and your doors are stuck...the first responders would be able to pull harder on the newer style grab handles than they'd be able to pull on the older flush-mount style.

neanderthal
May 25th, 2015, 11:03 PM
What happens with those pop up flush ones when the car is out of juice?

George
May 26th, 2015, 11:56 AM
^ exactly!

Was it Nissan who came up with a "proximity key" (probably not their name for it)? I remember someone telling me all he had to do was have the key in his pocket and his car doors would unlock as he approached. Then he would just press a Start button in the car and never have to remove the key from his pocket.

How are you going to get in the car and pop the hood when with a dead battery?

Car companies: just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Kchrpm
May 26th, 2015, 01:03 PM
Typically when you have a dead battery it's just not enough to start the car, not so dead that absolutely nothing works. Even then, there is typically a mechanical backup to unlock the car from the inside or outside. The day-to-day functionality and convenience is improved, in exchange for having to remember what the mechanical workaround is when something goes wrong once in a while.

It does make me shake my head, though, when people think they are permanently stuck inside their cars because they won't read the instruction manual, even if it's in the car they're currently stuck in, to figure out there's a simple lever to pull to unlock or open the door.

Nissan didn't originate it AFAIK, but they were one of the first to put it in inexpensive cars.

Edit: it looks like the pop out flush door handles on the Tesla Model S are actually mechanical, you press them in a little and then they pop out for you to pull on them. The automatic pop out is an option you can order and turn on as part of a tech package.

Crazed_Insanity
May 27th, 2015, 10:46 AM
I always thought it had something to do with crash safety. Lets say you've just been in a big enough accident to twist the unibody slightly and your doors are stuck...the first responders would be able to pull harder on the newer style grab handles than they'd be able to pull on the older flush-mount style.

Sounds reasonable, but they also have the jaws of life that can just cut up a car! I kinda doubt rescuers need to rely on door handles to open things... plus, if it were really a safety issue, wouldn't this change happen much sooner? As far as I can tell, Honda Fit just switched door handles with its current generation. Fit is a relatively new car, right? So if safety is really an issue, why do they stick with flush door handles in their previous 2 generations?

Anyway, something is driving this design change. Flush door handles are nearly extinct in pretty much all car models.

Crazed_Insanity
May 27th, 2015, 10:55 AM
Was it Nissan who came up with a "proximity key" (probably not their name for it)? I remember someone telling me all he had to do was have the key in his pocket and his car doors would unlock as he approached. Then he would just press a Start button in the car and never have to remove the key from his pocket.

How are you going to get in the car and pop the hood when with a dead battery?

Car companies: just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Not sure about other makes and models, but wife's '14 Santa Fe Sport has a hidden key inside the 'remote'. So it can be used to unlock doors. Under normal circumstances, the 'remote' doesn't need to leave our pocket or purse. As we approach, it wouldn't automatically unlock unless we push a button on the door handle. I guess it could be made to unlock automatically, it's just that Hyundai didn't want to do it that way? I say this because there are LED lights in the door handle that will illuminate as you approach. So the car knows you're near by... but Hyundai leaves the decision to lock or unlock by the use of a button on the external door handle. So users have the choice.

Anyway, regardless how each automaker makes it, I'm sure they won't so dumb that a dead battery would render a car completely irretrievable! :p

Kchrpm
May 27th, 2015, 12:17 PM
Sounds reasonable, but they also have the jaws of life that can just cut up a car!
Do ambulances have those? I always figured they were only on fire trucks or the like, so it took longer to get them to an accident scene.

I have no real knowledge, though, I'm just going by their cursory use in movies and television :)

George
May 27th, 2015, 01:30 PM
LED lights in the door handle? :eek:

:smh:

Needless tomfoolery.

thesameguy
May 27th, 2015, 02:42 PM
My '79 Cougar had lit door handles & locks. It was amazing. Just lift the handle and the whole thing would illuminate. Back in the day when we put keys into locks it was a huge convenience. Today, I'm baffled as to why they *don't* put an LED in the fobs. Who can tell one button from another in the dark?

21Kid
May 29th, 2015, 07:28 AM
Today, I'm baffled as to why they *don't* put an LED in the fobs. Who can tell one button from another in the dark?
Indeed. Or on the steering wheel controls. I've had a few rentals that didn't illuminate the steering wheel controls. How the hell am I supposed to know what does what in the dark!?! Especially when some of them are to change the speed on cruise control.

Crazed_Insanity
May 29th, 2015, 10:54 AM
I rarely mess with cruise control on rentals because I'm just not familiar enough with it and don't want to take my eyes off the road for too long..., but I thought most newer models have them illuminated. At least our '14 Santa Fe has it. I don't think our '07 TSX has it nor does the S2000. But I think that's because they're early 2000 model vehicles so steering controls are probably like after thoughts or add-ons.

Regarding lighting up the remote, I suppose it's just to save juice. Com'on, if you don't know your remote by now, you ain't never ever know it... oooooooooo

I never bother looking at my S2000 remote when I use it. Plus, when should your remote light up? When you press the light on button? Gee, how will you find it in the dark? ;) If light turns on whenever you press a button, like I said, I don't usually need to look at it to know which button to press. Further, buttons could continuously get pressed accidentally in pockets... so personally I think current remote design with no light and with longer battery life makes more sense.

But what do I know, I also think flush door handles make more sense for aerodynamic reasons.