When shopping around for a new car, you'll find that vehicle manufacturers often highlight the performance and fuel efficiency aspects of the vehicle. Although not as 'sexy' to most buyers, the car's safety is also an important aspect to think about. Safety primarily comes from the design of the vehicle's body, including the car pillars supporting and strengthening it.
Most cars on the market will have at least three pillars: the A-pillar at the front, the B-pillar in the middle, and the C-pillar at the back. Longer vehicles will also have a D-pillar at the rear, which provides additional support to the body.
Can Cars Be Designed without a B-Pillar?
Yes, there are plenty of cars that do not have a B-pillar. Three of the most popular among the newer models are Mazda MX30, 2021 Renault Kangoo, and the Mercedes Benz E-Class coupe. Pillarless cars are safe and have been around for decades. Older models like the pillarless Mercedes-Benz 300CE have stood the test of time. Aside from its popularity, it’s also an incredibly safe vehicle.
In this article, we’re going to answer a few crucial questions about the car B-pillar, how important it is, why some car designs don’t include them, and whether or not a vehicle is safe without them. Lastly, we’ll present our take on the four most popular pillarless cars.
Let’s get to it.
Is the B-Pillar Important in a Car?
Yes, the B-pillar is essential in a car’s structure, just like all of the other pillars that the vehicle has in its design. Think of them as the pillars in your home or an office building. Car pillars support the roof's weight while also providing strength for the rest of the structure around it.
But B-pillars aren’t just crucial for the structural integrity of a car. Positioned at the centre on both sides, the B-pillar is also critical in absorbing any impact coming from the side of a vehicle. So, if a car is hit on one of its sides, the B-pillar provides additional protection to the occupants inside.
If your car’s B-pillar gets damaged, you should have it repaired or replaced immediately. Here’s an article about B-pillar repair or replacement.
Why Are there Cars without B-Pillars?
So, if the B-pillar plays a crucial role in a car’s integrity and safety, why do auto manufacturers do away with them on some models?
Here are some reasons for going pillarless:
- Better visibility: Without the B-pillar in the way, drivers will have improved visibility all around. That means you can do a shoulder-check before switching lanes, and you’ll be able to see a lot more than you would in other types of cars.
- More sun and air: With two fewer pillars (one B pillar on each side), a lot more natural light can flow into the cabin. Roll down the windows, and you’ll have plenty more natural air coming through, as well.
- Luxurious feel: Some auto makers also believe that an absent B-pillar would help make the vehicle look more luxurious overall. On higher-end vehicles with sleek designs, this is undoubtedly true.
Are Pillarless Cars Safe?
Yes, pillarless cars are still safe, although you need to be aware of some trade-offs. Firstly, the designs for cars without B-pillars make up for the absent support that would have otherwise been there. For instance, the roof is made more rigid, and the other pillars (A-pillar and C-pillar) would also compensate.
However, there’s no denying that a pillarless car will suffer more damage from sideways impact than a pillared model.
Most Popular Cars without B-Pillars
There are plenty of cars without B-pillars on the market today, as there have been for decades. Here’s our pick for four of the most popular ones you should know about.
Pillarless All-Electric: Mazda MX-30
The Mazda MX-30 is a hybrid SUV with an all-electric version coming out soon. One of the most notable features of this car is the lack of a B-pillar. Seeing as how this is a pillarless vehicle, the rear door is hinged towards the car’s back, giving it a suicide-door styling.
Despite the lack of a B-pillar, the Mazda MX-30 is recognised for sustaining significant side impact.
Pillarless Utility Vehicle: Renault Kangoo
Undoubtedly one of the most recognisable utility vehicles you’ll ever see around town, the Renault Kangoo also went pillarless in the 2021 model year.
In Renault’s own words, the Kangoo has an ‘Open Sesame’ pillarless sliding door system that can be added to both sides of the car. That makes it easy to enter and exit the vehicle or loading/unloading cargo.
Pillarless Luxury: Mercedes E-Class Coupe
The pillarless design also exists on plenty of luxury vehicles, and the Mercedes E-Class coupe is definitely one of the most notable ones these days. The coupe is the only pillarless model offered by Mercedes for the E-Class.
Pillarless Classic: Holden Monaro
As mentioned earlier, pillarless designs have been around for several decades. Some of the most impressive ones came out around the '60s and '70s. Our parents and grandparents are likely to remember the Holden Monaro, one of the coolest classics that happens to be a two-door pillarless hardtop.
The Holden Monaro might've been the best pillarless car during that time, but it certainly wasn't the only one. Australia was going through a coupe craze during that time, so there were plenty of pillarless hardtops in that era.
Learn More about Cars and Your Car!
To learn more about car pillars and auto parts (and even a bit of history here and there), check out our blog at Carpart.com.au. The site is updated daily with informative articles about what’s going on in the automotive world in Australia and beyond.
By Ray Hasbollah