Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates

Photo Credits: Nissan
Photo Credits: Nissan

You know what are nice? Tailgates. You know what’s not nice? That tailgates are all-but entirely restricted to trucks and SUVs. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Illustration for article titled Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates

I present to you the 1991 Nissan Cocoon L concept. It was a three-row six-seater wagon thing, designed to give a “cocoon-like” feel for each occupant. Everybody got their own little captain’s chair.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates

And everybody also got their own illuminating roof glow space. That’s one of my most critical features a car can have: glowing headliner. Important.

Illustration for article titled Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates

I’ll also note that the car got a cool HUD, because it was the Bubble Era, and Nissan had to come up with as many different techy options it could to help justify higher prices and higher profit margins.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates

In any case, the reason for pointing out this lovely concept was that it has a feature that should be common on all cars: a split folding tailgate.

Advertisement
Illustration for article titled Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates

Look at that.

Does your car have that?

Unless you have one of those lovely 1990s Civics, no, it does not.

Advertisement

Your car has a trunk which flips up at a rear-mounted hinge. It’s the easiest way for an automaker to give a car a big, low trunk opening, so that’s what automakers give you.

Illustration for article titled Here's A Simple Idea: Give All Cars Tailgates
Advertisement

But is the traditional trunk the best? No. No it is not. Tailgates are better.

Imagine yourself a Cocoon owner, coming back from a long and lovely hike. You walk back to your car at the trailhead and pop open that tailgate, relaxing for a moment, taking off your boots with ease, looking out on the wilderness laid out in front of you. It’s all there.

Advertisement

It’s for you to see, you, the tailgate car haver, not to those still stuck with flip-up trunks.

Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`

DISCUSSION

Loping_Camshaft
Loping Camshaft

Hot take: tailgates are trash.

A side swinging rear door (one piece or split) is far more practical. The problem is that when a tailgate is down, you have to lean over it to reach your cargo. It’s one of the best features of the Ridgeline, as well as old CR-Vs, among others. Large one-piece, top opening doors are also better than tailgates, but offer less functionality. They’re like a refrigerator where one door opens to the freezer and fridge sections at once. Wasteful when I only need one part open.

I suspect one reason side swinging doors aren’t more common is that it makes sense to have them swing away from the curb for easier loading, but that’s a hassle for cars that are built in LHD and RHD.

Hence, the indisputable king of all rear doors is the barn door.