COLOGNE, Germany – Balancing bulky shopping bags while fumbling for keys to open the boot is a scenario familiar to most people – and one that is fast becoming just a memory for new Ford Kuga customers.
The new Kuga last year became the first medium-sized SUV in Europe to offer Hands-Free Tailgate
that enables drivers to open the boot without using their hands, but instead using a gentle kicking motion under the rear bumper.
More than 35,700 Ford Kuga customers – 48 per cent of customers – ordered the system in 2013, with 94 per cent of Dutch customers leading the way. Among Ford’s six biggest European markets the system is most popular in Italy, where it has been ordered by 60 per cent of customers, followed by Germany at 57 per cent.
“Everyone has found themselves standing next to their car with their hands full and wishing there was some magical way of opening the boot,” said Roelant de Waard, vice president Marketing Sales and Service, Ford of Europe. “The Hands-Free Tailgate offers technology our customers really embrace, an ingenious solution to make their everyday lives a little bit easier.”
The system employs two sensors in the rear bumper that register the driver’s leg and respond to the kicking motion. This ensures Hands-Free Tailgate cannot be accidentally activated, for example by an animal running under the car. Ford used volunteers to test prototype systems to perfect the kicking motion required.
The new Ford Kuga also features Active Park Assist
, Active City Stop
, and All-Wheel Drive
that pre-emptively reassesses conditions 20 times faster than it takes to blink an eye, readjusting the power split to give the driver the best blend of handling and traction.
The new Kuga spearheads Ford’s extending Smart Utility Vehicle range in Europe that also includes the small EcoSport SUV, on sale now, and later will include the upscale Edge – a larger SUV that is already a success in North America and other markets.