Hands-Free and Easy: Power Liftgate on All-New Ford Escape Opens and Closes with a Gentle Kick

DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ —

  • All-new Ford Escape debuting this month at Los Angeles Auto Show
  • Segment-first hands-free liftgate offered for first time; gentle kicking motion opens and closes liftgate without the need to fumble for a key
  • Motion-sensing technology is gesture-based and similar to technology used in interactive video games


Ford this month is introducing its all-new Escape SUV featuring a segment-first hands-free power liftgate that opens with a simple kicking gesture under the rear bumper and without the need to fumble for a key.

The new Escape, which makes its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show on Nov. 16, will be the first SUV to use gesture-based technology – similar to that found in video games – to open the rear liftgate. A gentle kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper activates the system and raises the liftgate. The same kicking motion closes the liftgate as well.

“The hands-free power liftgate is yet another innovative Ford technology that makes customers’ lives easier,” said Jason Sprawka, Escape brand manager. “New Escape owners will be able to load their vehicle without ever having to set packages or gear down.”

The hands-free liftgate builds on Ford’s Intelligent Access push-button start. It allows customers to unlock and start their vehicles without having to take the key out of their pocket or purse.

The hands-free liftgate uses two sensors in the rear bumper to detect a person’s shin and kicking motion. The system safeguards against accidental opening by being programmed to open with leg motions – not when an animal runs under the car or when the vehicle hits a bump on the road.

The liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet specific customer needs.

About the Escape

The all-new Escape goes on sale next spring, building on the success of Ford’s highly popular small SUV. First introduced in 2000, nearly 2 million Escapes have been sold.

The new Escape is another of Ford’s global vehicles, based on the company’s C-sized platform, which is being used as the basis for more than 2 million Ford vehicles around the world.

In addition to being a technological leader, the new Escape will be a fuel economy leader, too. The vehicle will be offered with three fuel-efficient four-cylinder engines, including 1.6- and 2.0-liter versions of Ford’s popular EcoBoost® engines.

The new 1.6-liter EcoBoost engine is expected to deliver better fuel economy than competitors’ larger four-cylinder engines. The 2.0-liter EcoBoost is expected to offer better fuel economy than competitors’ V6 engines, while delivering unsurpassed performance compared to those larger six-cylinder powertrains.

The Escape will be built at Ford’s Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky, where the company has invested $600 million to retool the facility and is in the process of adding 3,100 jobs to launch two new shifts of Escape production by the end of next year.

To see how the hands-free liftgate works, click here.

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