CARS.COM — From in-car vacuum cleaners to systems that will parallel park for you, there’s no shortage of available convenience features in new cars. One relatively new one is the hands-free liftgate, which automatically opens when the key fob is detected to make loading luggage easier when your hands are full.
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It’s a practical idea that’s been implemented a few different ways. On Hyundai and Kia models with the feature, the liftgate will automatically open when the key fob has been detected for a few seconds. On Ford models, however, you must make a kicking motion under the rear bumper for the liftgate to open.
Our long-term 2016 Volvo XC90 has a standard hands-free liftgate that follows the Ford approach. While getting the XC90’s liftgate to consistently open was harder than I thought it’d be, once I figured out where the sensor was — and the proper kicking motion — it worked well.
It’s not evident where or how you’re supposed to kick your foot to get the liftgate to open, so I spent some time with the XC90’s Quick Start guide looking for answers. The guide says to swing your foot under the left side of the bumper while the key fob is in range, but that’s as specific as it gets. I tried a few different spots — just left of the rear bumper’s center as well as near the left rear tire — without success until the liftgate suddenly started opening. I finally determined that the foot sensor is between the left exhaust tip and the rear parking sensor immediately to the right.