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SYNC With MyFord Touch: Automotive Infotainment For All

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.