2013 Ford Escape coming with a hands-free power liftgate

Article by Christian Andrei, on November 5, 2011

Ford will be launching an all-new Escape SUV on November 16 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The new vehicle features a hands-free power liftgate that opens by kicking under the rear bumper, without fumbling for a key. This gesture-based innovation is a first in the vehicle's segment. The innovation is similar to those in video games.

To close the liftgate, the same kicking gesture is done. Escape Brand Manager Jason Sprawka commented that the hands-free power liftgate is "yet another innovative Ford technology" that will make the lives of customers more convenient.

He added that owners of this Escape can load their automobile without having to set packages or gear down. The innovative liftgate is founded on the company's Intelligent Access push-button start, allowing vehicle owners to unlock and start their car without having to fumble for their keys.

Two sensors are installed in the rear bumper to detect a person’s shin and kicking movement. The system is programmed to open with leg motions in order to avoid accidental opening brought about by a small animal crawling under the vehicle or by a bump on the road. The height of the liftgate is programmable or manually adjusted to meet the specific needs of the owner.

Customers generally expect that their SUV should not only have ample cargo capacity and versatility, but it should also come with a design that is sports-inspired. With this in mind, they are sure not to get disappointed with the new Ford Escape. With this new offering, Ford has managed to outdo itself as it is a good example of function following form.

Since the design has been made smoother, this resulted in a cargo volume amounting to 68.1 cubic feet at the back of the first row and 34.3 cubic feet just behind its second row. Both of these figures are far higher compared to the outgoing version of the Escape. However with the Kuga expected to be a bit longer than the standard model, extra luggage space is likely.

Design executive director of Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa, Martin Smith shares that the athletic appearance of the Escape was no mistake. He adds that the company wanted the new model to have the impression of being an athlete, like a swimmer or runner, inside a new body. As such, it even has defined muscles that show energy and movement.

For the seats meanwhile, the brand manages to reduce its weight while ensuring that customer service is still there. The 6-way adjustability is still there but the total weight has been lowered by as much as 3 pounds. Even then, it has extra functionalities like the two-way power lumber support, and two-way power recline.

The brand though will be offering as an option the unique sport seat that has higher bolsters and comes with its own sew style. Unlike in previous models, the head restraint in the front will now allow for 4-way adjustability.

In addition, the head restraints and the rear seats are composed of soy-based foam and enhanced for folding to be easier. Bejin revealed that the design team has managed to make a vehicle that is well-proportioned and looks amazing even from as far as 20 feet. The company knew that it needed to meet the expectations on the design promise when it comes to craftsmanship, he continues.

He adds by saying that once customers see the Escape, sit inside and immediately interact, they are highly likely to feel that way no matter how far away they are. Though this new model will be sold in North America as a Ford Escape, it will be released to other markets worldwide while having the Kuga badge.

Under the North American market, one color choice being offered sn known as Ginger Ale. It has an earthy metallic tone and when compared to a ginger ale placed inside a clear glass, is slightly greener.

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