Navigation And SiriusXM Travel Link
Ford offers two options for adding navigation to SYNC with MyFord Touch: SD card- or hard drive-based implementations. Our Ford Focus example includes an SD card loaded up with maps, while larger vehicles feature integrated hard drives with 10 GB of storage. Both solutions feature 3D maps from TeleNav.
The navigation software is pretty standard. It includes a great many points of interest, and can accept input via touch-screen or voice commands. Ford offers three different routing options when a destination is selected: shortest, fastest, and its Eco route. The Eco-Route mode directs you through what it determines to be the most environmentally-friendly path, meaning it gets you to your destination through the fewest number of stoplights, the least amount of traffic, and the most conservative speed limits.
The map package is fairly up-to-date, and we had no trouble finding our testing home base. It's a fairly new development that Google had a hard time with just 18 months ago, so we were certainly impressed with the Ford system's completeness.
SiriusXM Travel Link integrates with SYNC to display traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores, movie listings, and stock tickers directly on your screen. When SiriusXM Travel Link reports an accident or traffic, the navigation software is supposed to reroute you to get around the obstruction. Unfortunately, in our real-world testing, SiriusXM Travel Link wasn't particularly quick to update its traffic information, and we found ourselves staring at the root of the slow-down before it was even reported.
The weather, fuel prices, sports scores, movie listings, and stock report features are useful novelties more than anything. If you already carry around a smartphone, they end up being redundant, particularly since SiriusXM Travel Link requires a $5.99/month subscription with a minimum one-year contract (after the initial six-month trial expires, that is).
Strangely, the SYNC with MyFord Touch system still integrates SYNC Services, which calls out using your phone to provide drivers with a personal operator, custom traffic alerts and news, travel services, and the ability to download saved destinations from the Send to SYNC feature using a smartphone or MapQuest. If some of those capabilities sound redundant, that's because they are if you're already paying for SiriusXM Travel Link.
SYNC Services' only real useful ability is finding an address on your smartphone or MapQuest, and then sending it to your car. That seems as though it'd be a great feature. However, SYNC Services has to make a call using your Bluetooth-paired phone to download the information, and that takes a full minute before it's available. We're somewhat perplexed as why that's the case. The system is pretty advanced. It can connect to wireless networks, share 3G/4G data connections from a USB modem, and create an in-car wireless access point. Yet, it has to dial a number to download a quick map destination.
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.