Ford announced a party piece for the new Escape crossover SUV, a “kick-to-open” tailgate that uses a proximity sensor to trigger a powered rear tailgate. The option is proving popular, as a number of people ordering a new Escape have been electing for it.
Ford announced some time ago that the company was introducing a “Global Ford” approac. One of the first changes was that the Ford Escape was going to cease being produced in its boxy format and would re-appear as the Kuga, the crossover SUV built on the same platform that’s sold internationally.
The 2013 Kuga, and by extension the Escape, are getting a hands-free tailgate opening function, according to the Daily Mail. Cars have had remote-opening trunks for years, but now Ford has put a proximity sensor under the rear bumper. To operate it, one waves their foot under the bumper and the rear gate lifts. The system, according to the Daily Mail, requires the owners to have their keyfobs on them. The fob contains an RFID chip, which the car reads. Without the fob nearby, the kick-open feature doesn’t work.
Orders streaming in
Ford is receiving a number of orders for a 2013 Escape from customers in the U.S., and the kick-operated tailgate is a popular option, according to USA Today. It only comes standard on the most premium trim, Titanium, which starts at $30,370, according to Ford. The liftgate, in and of itself, is a an option on the SE and SEL trims of the 2013 Escape and that option will run buyers $495, according to Ford. It also comes in a technology package that costs $1,895 and includes MyFord Touch, a Sony Audio system, HD radio, remote start and reverse sensors.
Ford, according to USA Today, has received about 8,000 pre-orders for the new Escape. Roughly half of pre-order customers are adding the self-parking system and four-wheel drive, a $1,000 option. However, roughly three-quarters are adding the hands-free tailgate.
Ford introduced the option, according to MotorWard, on the 2011 C-Max, which is going on sale in the United States shortly.
The only other car maker offering a similar system is BMW. According to Car and Driver, the option has been made available on all trims of the 3 series and is currently available on some other models. A 5 series with the foot-operated power tailgate will cost about as much as two Ford Escapes.