Benchmark Results: Boot, Bluetooth, And Navigation
So much of what we do centers on benchmark results. As such, we've developed a test suite that covers some of the tasks and processes that are important to a driver using his car's technology package. The tasks that we're measuring include: boot-up time, time to connect to a paired phone, the time it takes to start music playback after booting the infotainment system, route computation, and lastly, how long it takes to actually add a phone to the system. We chose these measurements because they affect everyday use of the system.
We perform the tests by recording video of each action and reviewing the footage in an editor to establish the exact point the system was turned on, and when the tasks are completed. The result is accurate; these aren't stop watch-timed tests. Since the 2012 Ford Focus Titanium is our first test car, we’re establishing a baseline with a personal vehicle, a 2011 Volkswagen Routan SE with the mainstream Chrysler 430N (RHB radio code with Garmin navigation) system and UConnect Bluetooth connectivity. This is a system Chrysler currently sells with new vehicles.
SYNC with MyFord Touch boots pretty quickly. We measured 17 seconds before you see the home screen. The Chrysler 430N system is technically quicker, but both systems start booting as soon as you open the door, so they're able to turn on almost instantly once you're sitting down with the engine running.
Music playback actually begins before the system finishes booting on Ford's SYNC, which is quite nice. Compared to Chrysler's 430N, Sync with MyFord Touch is faster, but not by much.
Both SYNC with MyFord Touch and Chrysler’s 430N systems automatically connect to phones on boot-up. The Chrysler 430N has a four-second advantage here, but both solutions end up below 30 seconds (a tolerable wait time).
The time it takes to pair a Bluetooth device to an infotainment system varies greatly. SYNC with MyFord Touch, however, offers the fastest and most pleasant experience we’ve had with in-car Bluetooth. Getting the system into discovery mode does not involve a ton of sub-menus or rely on voice prompts exclusively like it does on our Chrysler 430N. There's simply a button on the screen. You press it and search for SYNC using your phone. That's it.
Chrysler's 430N takes the lead with its Garmin navigation software. But SYNC with MyFord Touch isn't far behind.
This is shockingly bad code quality for an embedded system. I may get a Ford vehicle in the future but it won't have SYNC in it. I'll epoxy a tablet to the dash if I need entertainment that bad.
P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?
What is the world coming to?
However, there are little things here and there that show the system has tremendous potential, but lacks polish you expect when it's in your automobile. I own a reasonably new Ford (2006 Freestyle.) It's been an exceptional, sturdy, and reliable car for several years now with no mechanical issues to date. My dad owns an old Lincoln Navigator with over 370,000 miles on it, still with the original engine running. Fords have been pretty good to me and my family over the years. You put in the key, turn it, and the thing runs. You push the buttons on the door and the windows go up or down. Flip a switch and the heater comes on.
You expect your automobiles to be like this. Ford Sync does not yet feel like this. "Do I push this button this way or that way?" "What word order do I need to use for this command?" "Why do I have to re-command Sync to start playing my phone's music via bluetooth every time I start my car rather than it just start automatically?" "Why does the system hang once in a while for no apparent reason?"
It just doesn't yet feel like it's reliable and responsive. I was intrigued and impressed by Sync, but it needs more polish, fluidity, refinement, and most of all consistency and reliability for it to please the masses day after day, and THIS is why Sync is the single worst factor in Ford's otherwise good reliability ratings being lowered, as mentioned above.
I don't think that anybody would buy a new car just for this technology, at least I hope not. But new cars also come with stability, traction, ABS, EBD and panic brake help which is nice.
My next car will be electric, maybe a 3-wheeled Zaptera. That's a reason to upgrade!
We touch on that in the conclusion. V2.0 of the software fixed a lot of the crashes and issues. We did not experience any crashes during the week we had the car.
That sounds fancy, my daily is a '90 Miata with no power steering, manual windows, no side door guard beams and a first generation airbag. Its a ton of fun though.
HDMI input would be nice. I think Honda is the only one that has HDMI input on the Honda Odyssey, but only on the $45k Elite model.