Ford Motor Co. engineers have taken the hands-free campaign a step further. They started with key fobs, which let drivers unlock doors with one click, and then came fobs that automatically unlocked the door, and started the car when drivers pushed a button on the instrument panel. Ford's engineers have solved the problem of how to open a vehicle's rear gate when your hands are full of groceries.
The gate opens when the driver, with key fob in a pocket, waves a foot under a sensor in the rear bumper.
Ford will launch the feature, which it calls as an industry first, on many of its vehicles worldwide, including its seven-seat small minivan, the C-Max.
C-Max shares a platform with the redesigned 2012 Ford Focus. The C-Max will be shown at the Detroit auto show in January 2011 and will go on sale in the United States late in 2011 or early 2012. A version of the minivan, which doesn’t have the rear-gate opener yet, is already on sale in Europe.
C-MAX marked Ford’s first use of the EcoBoost 1.6-liter I-4 engine for C-class vehicles in North America. The C-MAX delivered a responsive performance mixed in with improved fuel economy and lower CO2 emissions. The lightweight 1.6-liter all-aluminum Ford EcoBoost engine was developed for global applications.
The engine combines three important features: independent twin variable camshaft timing, low-inertia turbocharging, and high-pressure direct injection. This resulted in a fuel economy that was 20% better compared to gasoline-powered engines that provided similar power output.
The new engine thus was expected to provide the best highway fuel economy for a seven-passenger car. The C-MAX base engine is a 2.5-liter iVCT I-4. As such it was optimized for that small crossover application offering a lot of low-end torque. The two engines though are paired with the automatic six-speed transmission of the Ford 6F35.
It had a gear ratio span that allowed it to have a more responsive acceleration from rest but ensured that fuel efficiency was present when driving around town and steady cruising at speed. Derrick Kuzak, Ford Group Vice-President of Global Product Development, shared that the flexibility and scale of the C-vehicle platform allowed the company to develop unique vehicles like the C-MAX.
He added that for North America, it’s considered a ‘white space' vehicle. The company believes that buyers will not only appreciate the technology but also the functionality and convenience that the C-MAX offered, Kuzak related.