Ford will officially debut the next-generation Escape at the Los Angeles Auto Show later this month, but ahead of the crossover's official debut, we're getting our first look at one of the vehicle's new features: a hands-free power liftgate. How does it work? Simply kick your foot under the Escape's rear bumper (as long as the key fob is in your pocket) and the liftgate will open. When you're done, wave your foot under the bumper again, and the hatch automatically closes.

It's a neat-o-nifty feature, no doubt, but this isn't the first time we've seen this technology. In fact, Ford first showed it to us on the now-dead seven-passenger C-Max, and the folks at BMW debuted this feature on the European-only 5 Series wagon. Regardless, it's a bit of added convenience that other vehicles in the segment don't yet offer. Click past the jump to see a video demonstration of the hands-free liftgate, and be sure to check out our latest batch of Escape spy shots if you missed them earlier this week.



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

· 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

DEARBORN, Mich., Nov. 1, 2011 – 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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 66 Comments
      Ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      That is, actually, a pretty useful feature, and one that I've long wondered why SUVs/Vans/Wagons didn't have... some way to open the liftgate without using the remote.
      IBx27
      • 3 Years Ago
      Glad they kept this from the C-Max. It's a very cool idea and if I'm not mistaken, Ford's the only company that has it.
      Dean Hammond
      • 3 Years Ago
      neat little feature that may become as expected and copied as fold flat third row seats..........
      newbski
      • 3 Years Ago
      Elaine Benes approves
      space
      • 3 Years Ago
      looks awesome, but watch those shins people!
      woolleycpa
      • 3 Years Ago
      This is a convenient feature, especially with the new start/stop buttons becoming more common. They should add it to the new Focus models not yet out- namely the Focus ST and the Focus EV.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      founerra
      • 3 Years Ago
      OMG, Ford just made technology that actually works!
      AcidTonic
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Escape I own still has problems with the basic locking concept part of the rear door. Sometimes it refuses to unlock and has to be taken apart from the inside to open. It's a total POS and I hate that truck. Worst purchase I ever made. That's a common problem too from what I hear.... Sounds like they aren't ready since they haven't mastered even the basic concepts. Loved my Cobra.... Hate my Escape. Sorry but true.
      • 3 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        xspeedy
        • 3 Years Ago
        You haven't driven the right Ford lately! Ford of Europe is known for driving dynamics and that isn't going to be an issue. Interior quality is quite alright as well for the class. If you think the Asians have great interior quality, search for 2012 Honda Civic Interior.
          Devonblue4u
          • 3 Years Ago
          @xspeedy
          + xspeedy. Add Toyota driving dynamics and Nissan reliability (with similar hard plastic interiors) to the list. The American brands are competing very well with the Asians, and the numbers are showing it. It's the Europeans now giving us a run for the money. Go USA!
        stickshiftn69
        • 3 Years Ago
        first sell your '93 civic
        Jim
        • 3 Years Ago
        My 2005 Ford Escape has been trouble free for 110,000 miles. Couldn't say that about the Honda Accord before that.
        ryan
        • 3 Years Ago
        der broken recored. Do u having anything new to say
        Dean Hammond
        • 3 Years Ago
        Asian standards....hmmm, ever sat in a Versa?......Rolls Royce could take a lesson from that car...
      Paul P.
      • 3 Years Ago
      The only thing I don't like about these automatic tailgate doors is that they are painfully slow. I can open a manual door, put my stuff inside, and close the door before an automatic door even gets fully open. I wish you could adjust the speed on them or something.
        jessesrq
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        Can't you just operate it manually if you want to open/close faster? I can on my TSX wagon without damaging the motor. And while I thought it was a rather frivolous feature at first, I really appreciate it with time.
        Autoblogist
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        "painfully slow" Really? What are you, the getaway driver for a bank robbery ?
          Paul P.
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Autoblogist
          No, but I am someone who doesn't want to have to wait out in the cold any longer than I have to.
          Autoblogist
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Autoblogist
          Yeah it was a tremendous amount of time in those 8 secs, you would've opened the door, buckled yourself in ,started the car and been on your way by then. Or if you had a handful of stuff you would've put it all down to manually open the latch, pick your things up and close it again much faster. You may have saved a whole a second or 2. :)
        Cornel001
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Paul P.
        If its oppening too fast, it may hit hard some hapless owner who didnt keep the distance.
      ryan
      • 3 Years Ago
      Are we really this lazy? i can just put my stuff down and then open the gate with my hands.
        IBx27
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ryan
        Feel free to put your stuff down in the snow, in the mud, in the road sludge, etc. This is a nice trick if your hands are completely full but you can balance on one foot and stick the other under the car quick.
          Famsert
          • 3 Years Ago
          @IBx27
          Yup. Now feel free to stand on one leg with your arms full of groceries and kick under the car. Perfect when it's snowing and icy.
        Autoblogist
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ryan
        It's all relative, I bet your wouldn't consider yourself lazy because you have remote unlocking doors, or power side mirrors, or power seats, or power windows because those things certainly can be worked with your hands. But, you're such a big man because you can open your hatch with your hands.
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