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Ford's new Escape SUV, which is unveiled at the Los Angeles auto show this week, offers a range of IT features designed to show that the US carmaker is committed to spreading electronic innovation throughout its new models.

The Escape is an important car for Ford for two reasons. The SUV segment is crucial to the success of any competitor in the North American market. Ford says 60 pc of Americans shopping for a vehicle next year will look at either a midsize car or small SUV.

But the model is also critical to Ford because it is one of the first products of the carmaker's new global component- and platform-sharing strategy. Following its launch in North America, the Escape will be rolled out in Europe and China as the Kuga.

On the IT front, Ford says the Escape will feature new videogame-like hands-free technology for opening the car's rear door and an upgraded MyFord Touch infotainment system that the carmaker says will make it easier to connect with digital devices.

The Escape has "new technology that makes driving and living with the vehicle easier and more fun," Derrick Kuzak, Ford's global product development chief, said in a press release. "By being smarter, this utility vehicle will help customers around the globe find better, easier ways to connect with technology."

Ford's new liftgate technology, which lets a user open the rear door of the Escape with a gentle kicking motion under the center of the rear bumper, borrows from videogame motion technology.

The model's new Sync system has been upgraded with a new look to make it easier to access phone, navigation,entertainment and climate control.

The Escape also comes with active park assist and blind-spot detection, features that have been steadily making their way from the premium segments into mainstream car models.

In addition, the new Escape will be the first Ford SUV to offer curve control, a technology that automatically slows the car when it is cornering too fast.

Ford will offer the North American Escape with either a 2.0 liter EcoBoost or a 1.6-liter EcoBoost gasoline engine. The latter is making its American debut in the Escape.