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SYNC With MyFord Touch: Automotive Infotainment For All

SYNC: A Solid Infotainment System Available To The Masses

SYNC with MyFord Touch is a fantastic infotainment system, and Ford is doing an excellent job making it available to the masses by deploying it across the company's entire product portfolio. The way we see it, Ford integrated these new technologies, and is now telling everyone, "Hey, we have these cool new multimedia, networking, and driver-assist features, and you get them on everything from compact sedans to Lincoln luxury vehicles." That's a nice change from the typical segmentation that normally sees the best features enabled on the most expensive models and slowly extended down to more affordable products.

Frankly, we were bummed when it came time to return the 2012 Ford Focus Titanium. And although it took a couple of days to acclimate to SYNC with MyFord Touch, once we got the hang of the voice commands, the steering wheel's physical buttons, and the interface's overall layout, operating the car was easy.

Ford does a lot of things right with its SYNC system. The interface operates particularly smoothly, including fluid menu transitions and an intuitive menu layout. We are aware that there were complaints about crashes and poor responsiveness when the first software version of SYNC with MyFord Touch launched. These resulted in poor quality results form J.D. Power & Associates. But our test vehicle had v2.0 of the software installed, and we didn't encounter any problems (aside from the typical pitfalls of a resistive LCD touch-screen).

SYNC's capabilities tie together well, from the eight-inch LCD, the 4.2-inch auxiliary display, steering wheel controls, voice control, and the Media Hub. But despite our praises, there were a couple of aspects that left us puzzled, such as SYNC Destinations, which still dials your phone for connectivity, even though it can also connect to your wireless home network or share a 3G USB modem connection. The absence of SYNC AppLink support is also odd, especially since the previous generation of SYNC let you connect an iPhone to stream and control Pandora, iHeartRadio, Stitcher Radio, and a couple of other applications. That's a feature available on $100 aftermarket head units and the base SYNC system, but not on the most advanced SYNC with MyFord Touch.

Nevertheless, Ford’s asking price of $995 for this package is reasonable when you consider the features, capabilities, and level of integration with the car. In fact, that's actually more affordable than most high-end in-dash navigation systems (particularly if you don’t take DVD video playback into account).

As for Active Park Assist, it's also a very cool addition, and we're still amazed by how easy it is to use and how well it works. If you're simply not confident in your own parallel parking skills, paying $700 for guided help is almost assuredly less expensive than even one misjudged attempt (and subsequent fender bender).

Of course, our emphasis here isn't on the car itself. We didn't bother with 0-60 MPH, quarter-mile runs, or skidpad tests, but we did determine the 2012 Ford Focus Titanium to be quiet, nimble, and conducive to spirited driving. The car's electric-assisted steering rack is tuned to have variable levels of weight, depending on your speed, unlike some cars where steering is feather-light at all times. The interior materials are above average, featuring a lot of soft-touch surfaces.

Our test vehicle had Ford’s PowerShift automatic transmission. Despite the name, it has a dual-clutch gearbox, which is essentially an advanced manual with hydraulics strapped on so it can shift itself. We found that the transmission shifts smoothly, but stutters a bit when you're trying to creep forward in traffic, just like a car with a manual transmission. If you prefer to row your own gears, Ford offers the Titanium package: SYNC with MyFord Touch and Active Park Assist, along with a six-speed manual transmission. Or, more enthusiast-oriented drivers can look forward to the upcoming turbocharged Ford Focus ST, without Active Park Assist.

  • jhansonxi
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's . I've also met several people who have SYNC and they've all had problems with it freezing completely or controls getting stuck. These problems either require them to stop and turn off the engine (a reboot) or take the car to a dealer to get SYNC reset.

    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.
    Reply
  • jhansonxi
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's quality has dropped:
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/autos/ford_jd_power_initial_quality/index.htm

    P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?
    Reply
  • mayankleoboy1
    boot benchmarks for a car :O
    What is the world coming to?
    Reply
  • SteelCity1981
    never had a problem with my SYNC in my ford.
    Reply
  • TheZander
    Drove a brand new rental Ford with all the Sync options. It was nice to be able to play music straight from my phone without taking it out of my pocket or plugging anything in. It was also nice when a call came in and a simple button push switched seamlessly from my music to the call, with good voice quality I might add. The information provided is useful and placed in areas with a focus on keeping your eyes in safer directions than some layouts, and the steering wheel button placement makes sense and also works well (for the most part) once you get used to it.

    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.
    Reply
  • danwat1234
    I like my 1999 Honda Civic. Bullet proof reliable with 226K miles, simple and fast around corners (with an upgraded rear sway bar and good all season tires). It came with AM/FM radio and that's it. I have an FM transmitter to run anything else. All of this fancy technology ... my gaming laptop and my basic 10-key cell phone is enough. But it's great that this tech is available in inexpensive cars.
    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!
    Reply
  • tuanies
    9532860 said:
    SYNC is the reason that Ford's quality has dropped:
    http://money.cnn.com/2011/06/22/autos/ford_jd_power_initial_quality/index.htm

    P.S. What's up with the broken URL parsing?

    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.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    9532864 said:
    I like my 1999 Honda Civic. Bullet proof reliable with 226K miles, simple and fast around corners (with an upgraded rear sway bar and good all season tires). It came with AM/FM radio and that's it. I have an FM transmitter to run anything else. All of this fancy technology ... my gaming laptop and my basic 10-key cell phone is enough. But it's great that this tech is available in inexpensive cars.
    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!

    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.
    Reply
  • s3anister
    This is cool tech but I wish ford would have started doing this a year or two earlier than they did. I'd love to see an HDMI input instead of composite in and a higher-res screen for example.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    9532867 said:
    This is cool tech but I wish ford would have started doing this a year or two earlier than they did. I'd love to see an HDMI input instead of composite in and a higher-res screen for example.

    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.
    Reply