Owner file

Hyundai and Kia file a patent for a sliding tailgate for future SUVs

More and more SUVs are available with a power tailgate that opens automatically when you press a button or put your feet under the rear bumper. Some even let you adjust the height of the tailgate in the open position, which can be useful in tight spaces, including parking garages.

Taking inspiration from minivans with their sliding side doors, Hyundai and Kia have filed a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for a sliding tailgate for SUVs.

Instead of swinging up using a set of hinges, the tailgate would ride on rails and slide across the roof to open. Obviously, this represents an ideal space-saving solution in tight spaces. Plus, you wouldn’t have to walk away from the vehicle to open or close the tailgate, nor would you risk hitting your head.

Photo: Hyundai

However, a sliding tailgate would likely not be compatible with crossbars or any other roof rack system. It can also be difficult in the winter, with all the snow and ice piling up on top of the vehicle.

From a design and engineering perspective, it’s safe to assume that a sliding tailgate would be more difficult to fit into the structure and likely more prone to problems than a conventional tailgate. As you can see from the diagrams, the rear of the vehicle would also need to have a rounder profile, which would inevitably affect cargo capacity.

Photo: Hyundai

Incidentally, it is not clear based on this patent filing whether the tailgate would be fully motorized or not.

How serious are Hyundai and Kia about bringing their idea to market? Time will tell us. If you want to see what each company’s future SUVs could look like, be sure to check out our stories on the SEVEN and EV9 concepts that were showcased at the 2021 Los Angeles Auto Show.