• Dec 20, 2010
2012 Ford C-Max shows off its hands-free liftgate – Click above to watch the video after the jump

Call us weird, but we're rather excited for the 2012 Ford C-Max to launch here in the United States. The majority of today's minivans are anything but, and as more people look to downsize and seek out the most efficient vehicles to fit their lifestyles, small MPVs have a real chance to succeed here in the U.S.

Ford is bringing the heat by fitting its C-Max with an innovative new hands-free power liftgate, which automatically opens when the driver waves their foot under the rear bumper. Yes, you need to have the vehicle's key fob within range, and we're honestly surprised that no one thought of this sooner (okay, so maybe BMW announced that it's coming to the 5 Series, but shouldn't the Honda Odyssey have this by now?) In any case, you can see how easy opening the 2012 C-Max's liftgate can be by watching the video after the jump.

[Source: Ford]

Show full PR text

- Ford introduces an industry-first hands-free liftgate that allows customers to quickly and easily unlock and open the rear hatch even when their hands are full

- With the key fob in the owner's possession, a gentle leg motion below the center of the rear bumper activates sensors that cue the system to unlock and raise the rear liftgate

- The hands-free liftgate will debut in the seven-passenger C-MAX crossover, being shown at the 2011 North American International Auto Show

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 20, 2010 – Gesture or motion technology employed in today's video game systems is coming to the new seven-passenger Ford C-MAX crossover, designed with families in mind.

"In the new C-MAX, customers no longer need to set their packages down or fumble to locate their keys to open the rear hatch, especially when their hands are full," said Derrick Kuzak, group vice president, Global Product Development. "The hands-free liftgate allows them to easily and quickly open the cargo area with one simple leg motion."

The hands-free liftgate debuts on the Ford C-MAX, which is being shown at the 2011 North American International Auto Show. The C-MAX can seat up to seven and is a popular model in Europe because of its clever combination of style, versatility and fuel efficiency.

Enabled by Intelligent Access with push-button start

The hands-free liftgate is enabled by Intelligent Access with push-button start. This technology allows customers to unlock and start their vehicles without ever having to take out the key. When the key fob is in their possession – kept in a pocket, coat, purse or briefcase – a simple pull on the door handle unlocks the vehicle. Once inside the vehicle, the driver simply holds down the brake pedal and presses the power button to start the vehicle.

In conjunction with the Intelligent Access system, there are two sensors located in the rear bumper. One detects the shin and the other detects the leg motion to enable the hands-free liftgate. The customer simply needs to possess the Intelligent Access key fob and gently wave his or her foot under the bumper to operate the feature.

Additionally, the liftgate height can be programmed or adjusted manually to meet specific customer needs.

"We recognize that the C-MAX customer usually has his or her hands full. Whether carrying packages while holding a young child's hand or carrying bags full of groceries, the hands-free liftgate will make their lives a whole lot easier," said Wendy King, C-MAX brand manager.

The combination of the system detecting the key fob and leg motion is necessary to unlock and open the liftgate and safeguards against any accidental opening.

"Animals running under the car, hitting a bump on the road or similar unintended gestures won't trigger the liftgate to open," said Michael Becker, systems engineer. "This is one smart feature."

As with other technology Ford has developed, the hands-free liftgate is a customer-focused solution, like SYNC® and EcoBoost™, which can be implemented in other vehicles around the globe.

"The arrival of the hands-free liftgate on the new C-MAX is just the beginning for this technology," said Kuzak. "Customers soon will see this same technology roll out across our broader portfolio of vehicles."

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm pretty sure high spec 2000-2007 Mercedes C-Class' had opening rear boots (trunks). Still a great feature that should of been more widely adapted sooner.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Who cares! That middle seat in the C-Max ROCKS! I don't drive minivans or whatever it is but that's freakin cool!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota Venza had this since it's introduction in 2009...
      • 4 Years Ago
      Actually it's not a Ford idea. They buy it from Brose, a German automotive supplier. It's a capacitive sensor that actuates the drive unit on the tailgate.

      I know that since I work for them :-)

      So, how\'s life?
      • 4 Years Ago
      If this is such a good idea (which personally I believe it is), then how come the similar Mazda 5 is reported to have been a flop?
      • 4 Years Ago
      VW already has this on their latest Passat.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Since i only have one leg, why is Ford not using the u-talk thecno for this?
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, that is an awesome idea!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Could I say, First On Research Development?...Lol.

      Pretty nifty feature.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well said!!!! Ford is applying technology better than any other car manufacturer and gaining significant competitive advantage... way to go Ford!!!!
      • 4 Years Ago
      Nice feature.

      cars with gull-wing doors could benefit from this sort of actuator tech, too.

      My question is, what happens when the bumper is a mess with salt and slush and crud? does the sensor still work?
        • 4 Years Ago
        I was wondering the same thing. There's probably a few inches of whathaveyou stuck to the underside of my car right now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Since we're covered in snow here in the DC area, that's a good question. I'd guess that the system works on some kind of sonic waves, like parking sensors, so hopefully that shouldn't be a problem.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does it only take the doors unlocked and the sensor hit? What if the cat goes under the car when parked? Door opens?
        • 4 Years Ago
        Somebody's trolling...
        • 4 Years Ago
        If the cat is carrying the remote fob, then yes, the liftgate will open.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I back up to the garage, unload kids/groceries out the side and the cat goes near the sensor... SMASH! Right?
      • 4 Years Ago
      I wonder what would happen if you were to drop something under the vehicle and try to reach it, would your head get bumped by the tailgate?
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you had the keyfob with you, it's possible.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'm not really sold on that idea. I'm pretty sure one day I'll get frustrated that it won't sense my foot I'll just end up kicking the rear bumper. I don't mind opening the rear by myself but I applaud them on innovation. I do like that trick middle seat though, thats just straight up crafty;)
        • 4 Years Ago
        Mazda5/Premacy has had that feature in Japan and other countries since it's inception in 2006.

        We didn't get it if I remember right because it didn't meet US crash regs.... or we're too fat to fit in the middle seat.

        Probably the latter.
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