Top Vehicles with a Hands-free Power Liftgate

power liftgate remote switch

A hands-free power liftgate is one of the modern vehicle features that offer a new standard of convenience, whatever your lifestyle is. It is popular with SUVs, hatchbacks, and minivans, but it has become common in any type of vehicle, even sedans and trucks. If you are on the hunt for a vehicle with a hands-free power liftgate. Then you must read on to discover what the best ones are.

The Convenience of a Hands-free Power Liftgate

Imagine you are headed to your vehicle with at least two huge grocery bags occupying your arms, then it starts to rain. You would probably end up soaking wet while fumbling to get the grocery bags in the trunk or cargo area of your vehicle one by one. You would likely push, pull, or bend every body part in an attempt to get into a good position. Yet at some point, you’d have no choice but to grudgingly put some grocery bags on the damp ground to complete the task. By the time you are done, you are exhausted by the whole unnecessary ordeal.

A vehicle with a hands-free power liftgate is extremely helpful and convenient in these types of situations. All you need to do is stand behind the vehicle and/or wave your foot under the rear bumper. Some vehicle models’ hands-free power liftgate can even detect when the key fob is within close proximity and automatically opens within seconds.

Operating a Hands-free Power Liftgate

Different vehicle models have their own proprietary hands-free power liftgate system. However, in general, all of them follow the same principle. It is crucial to know the basics of operating a hands-free power liftgate.

First, you must always have the key fob with you if you plan to use the hands-free power liftgate feature. Then, make sure that you face the liftgate when you stand behind the vehicle.

Second, the sensor is usually at the center of the rear bumper. Neither make physical contact with the bumper nor hold your foot under it. The kicking motion you make must be under and away from the sensor. Ensure that you only do a swift, single kick without pause. Try to focus not to kick at an odd angle or sweep your foot from side to side.

Third, test whether your vehicle’s liftgate moves at a decent speed. This way, it would be unlikely for you to manually push or pull the liftgate while it is moving to open or close. Doing this will not only damage its mechanical components but also activate the obstacle detection feature which can suddenly reverse the direction of the movement or completely stop the operation. In addition, check if you can reach the liftgate’s close or close and lock buttons. There are vehicle models that come with a programmable height feature. So if you are taller or shorter than average, you can customize the height for added comfort. This is also a way to prevent damage in low-clearance spaces.

Lastly, any movement or physical action that is similar to a kicking motion can activate the liftgate. For example, vacuum hoses, trailer cairns, or splashing water. To be safe it is best to switch the power liftgate off via your vehicle settings or move the key fob away from the rear bumper sensor when these are likely to happen.

Top Sports Utility Vehicles with a Hands-free Power Liftgate


Sienna, Highlander, and Venza are the three 2021 Toyota models with hands-free rear power liftgate features at higher trim levels. The technology is pretty much the same for any of the three models. However, it is essential to keep the Toyota Smart Key fob with you to avoid any setbacks. If the hands-free feature is very important to you, you must know that the 2021 Toyota Sienna has the same hands-free system to open and close the vehicle’s side doors.


The 2021 Mazda CX-9 has a hands-free power liftgate at higher trims. It is a three-row SUV offering a premium experience with a 10.3-inch full-color display with Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™. In addition, this SUV has upgraded safety features such as the Smart City Brake Support-Reverse and a 360-degree view monitor.


One of the standard features of the 2021 Mercedes-Benz GLE 350 SUV is a hands-free power liftgate. A gentle kick under the vehicle’s rear bumper allows you to power-open or close the trunk, offering comfort and convenience. 


The latest Kia models like the Kia Telluride have their own brand of hands-free power liftgate, which they call Smart Liftgate. This cool feature allows the trunk to automatically open when you walk up to it.


The 2022 Subaru Outback can be purchased with a hands-free power liftgate, and it is distinct compared with other SUV models. This is because its sensor is actually the Subaru logo on the liftgate itself. You can just wave your hand and then quickly withdraw it in front of the Subaru logo and it will open with a beep.


The 2022 Equinox has a hands-free power liftgate as one of its standard features. They have also added a memory height function that allows you to program how high the gate opens. 


The popular Honda CR-V models are also equipped with a hands-free power liftgate, however, it is only available on specific trims, like the 2021 Honda CR-V Continuously Variable Hybrid Touring. Not only does it have a hands-free power tailgate, but it also comes with programmable height.

Other Vehicles with a Hands-free Power Liftgate

Although uncommon, there are sedan models with a hands-free power liftgate or trunklid. For example, the Kia Cadenza is a full-size executive sedan and luxury sedans like the Lincoln Continental and the BMW 5 Series. 

Other mainstream sedan models from Hyundai like Sonata, Elantra, and Accent, as well as Kia sedan models like Optima and Forte, provide a hands-free smart trunklid. As not fully powered, it can only open the trunklid when you are standing behind while holding the key fob. You would then have to close the lid manually.

It is worth mentioning that the Chevrolet Silverado High Country and LTZ is the only truck model with a power tailgate option. This has become possible because the tailgate is made with aluminum to offset the weight of the power-operated latches and motor.

Hands-free Power Liftgate Aftermarket

Many vehicle models have aftermarket hands-free power liftgate systems. Various companies offer kits that allow vehicles to be retrofitted with this feature. Some can even be self-installed if you are the DIY type. The convenience of having this helpful feature is definitely attractive to vehicle owners of every age.

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