What is a Power Liftgate?

Between commuting to work, dropping the kids off at school, running errands, and driving to new destinations with loved ones, busy people welcome any opportunity to make the daily routine a little easier and smoother. When it comes to the vehicles we spend so much of our lives in, simple features like a power liftgate can have a big impact, allowing you to make the most of your cargo space with minimal effort. 

A power liftgate is a convenient amenity available on many modern vehicles. Sometimes called a power tailgate, this feature offers users remote – even hands-free – control of their tailgate or rear hatch, allowing them to access the cargo area with just the touch of a button or by engaging a sensor.

How Does a Power Liftgate Work?

A combination of sensors, motors, and electronic controls make the power liftgate possible. In the most basic systems, users activate the liftgate by pressing a button on their key fob or on the driver’s control panel. When sensors detect that the driver is close to the vehicle, an internal motor engages to lift the rear hatch or liftgate smoothly and steadily until fully opened. Once they’ve unloaded their cargo, users can then press the same button to close the liftgate or guide the hatch shut manually. Many power liftgates are also equipped with a button on the interior that users can press when the liftgate is open to engage the motor and lower the door electronically.   

Many power liftgates include additional features to make them even more useful and convenient. For example, modern vehicles with power liftgates are often equipped with fully hands-free functionality. Drivers with the key fob on their person can simply wave their hands in front of a sensor in the hatch to initiate the opening sequence. 

Some systems use a pedal or foot sensor to activate opening the power liftgate. Others may be equipped with enhancements like obstacle detection to prevent the gate from closing if sensors detect an obstruction blocking its path, as well as customizable height settings that allows users to adjust how far the liftgate opens upward in garages or other low-clearance areas.

Benefits of a Power Liftgate


A power liftgate offers easier access to your vehicle’s cargo area in moments when you need it most – such as, when your arms are full of grocery bags or during inclement weather. Additional features like hands-free sensors and height customization only enhance the overall usability and convenience of your power liftgate. 

Here are a few more benefits power liftgates offer: 

  • Effortless operation: Open and close the hatch easily, without having to physically lift or lower it.
  • Convenience in all weather conditions:  Through rain or snow, extreme heat or cold, or in moments when your hands are full, a power liftgate gives you quick, easy access to your vehicle’s cargo area.
  • Enhanced safety: Systems with obstacle detection and memory height customization help reduce risk of accidents that could cause damage to your vehicle or cargo, or even injury. 
  • Customizable height settings: When included, the memory height feature makes the power liftgate accessible in low-clearance environments and to users of all heights.

Subaru Vehicles with Power Liftgate

The power liftgate feature in Subaru vehicles is called the Power Rear Gate. In all equipped models, the Subaru Power Rear Gate includes automatic close, height memory function, and a vehicle lock button built into the hatch interior. Hands-free functionality is also available on certain models and trims. 

The Power Rear Gate is available in the following Subaru SUV models: 

Using Your Subaru Power Rear Gate

Using the Power Rear Gate on your Subaru is meant to be intuitive and convenient. For example, the sensors in models equipped with fully hands-free operation have smart functionality that delays opening the hatch until you step aside, preventing the gate from hitting you as it lifts. Similarly, the lock button located just inside the liftgate on all models enables you to secure your Subaru with the hatch still open and then move along seamlessly with your day, never needing to fumble for your key fob. 

To use your Subaru Power Rear Gate, follow these simple steps:

  • For button-activated systems, make sure you have your key fob handy or are inside your vehicle with it unlocked.
  • If you have a fully hands-free power Gate, simply make sure your key fob is on your person and that the hands-free feature is not disabled.
  • To open the Power Rear Gate, press and hold the Power Rear Gate button on your fob, touch the control on the lower dash panel, tap the button on the underside trim above the license plate, or (on hands-free models) hover your hand, arm, or elbow in front of the Subaru emblem on the rear of your vehicle. Some Subaru models also allow you to wave your foot under a sensor on the rear bumper, giving you another option to open the power rear gate when your hands are full.
  • To pause opening your Power Rear Gate, press a physical button again at any time while the gate is opening. While paused at your desired height, you can set the memory height function using the dedicated dash button.
  • To close the Power Rear Gate, press the same button once more or use the interior vehicle lock button.


Experience the Convenience of a Power Liftgate with our range of Subaru Vehicles.

The Power Rear Gate feature is available in most of our SUV models, giving you even more ease and accessibility from your Subaru. Whether you’re loading and unloading groceries, taking your pets to the park, or stashing snacks and camping gear for your next on-the-road adventure, Subaru vehicles offer thoughtful features to make every outing more enjoyable. 

Explore our full vehicle lineup here!