Originally published in April 2011
A new 8-inch touch screen is the heart of the MyFord Touch system – the next generation of the highly rated SYNC system which offers new voice activation capabilities.
Using two five-way controllers mounted on either side of the steering wheel, this system has two smaller LCD displays on the dash display. Plus, there is an 8-inch touch screen display in the center stack. Now there are voice commands and a few “old school” touch buttons.
The MyFord Touch 8-inch display has four color-coded corners with touch buttons and on-screen lists and icons that control phone, navigation, entertainment and climate. Each quadrant can be expanded to access more features.
The 2011 Edge, the 2011 Explorer and 2012 Focus were the first models with this technology. This new technology is way ahead of other vehicles. The screen to the left of the speedometer (controlled by the five-way controller on the left of the steering wheel), handles the mechanical features of the vehicle. You can access miles per gallon readings, miles to empty, trip odometers and even set features like the MyKey.
The screen on the right gives you a quick glance of “infotainment” – the four main areas also found on the 8-inch screen are phone, navigation, entertainment and climate. With the five-way controller on the right side of the steering wheel you can scroll into different levels and handle a multitude of functions.
The 8-inch touch screen is command central
The 8-inch screen on the center stack has buttons that are easy enough to see and touch. There’s a lot of get used to and that’s where the voice activated controls help. The Ford Sync voice recognition understands about 10,000 words. So, push the voice button, say “Climate. Set temperature 74 degrees,” and the system handles the rest. Or, you could push the voice button and say, “Entertainment, FM 97.5.”
Ford prefers you speak commands to perform all of the functions. If you forget the commands, you can say “What can I say?” and a list appears on the display.
One thing to remember, this is not “voice recognition” software. The system isn’t really learning the way you speak your commands. Actually, the system is awaiting the correct sequence of words. This system prefers clearly stated phrases.
To help out, below the center stack display there are more than a dozen non-moving backlit touch buttons. These buttons adjust those audio and climate settings, including fan speed, defroster and temperature. There is even one large knob to tune the radio and adjust the volume.
The system has two USB slots, an SD card slot, even video inputs. With an Air Card or a 3G/4G phone plugged into a USB port you can set up a Wi-Fi network to handle up to five devices in the vehicle.
The MyFord Touch system has got to be one of the most powerful and advanced systems on the road. Best of all, the complex interface is something that anyone can learn. Due to the large number of features, it may take someone a few hours of study and some “homework” to practice all of the controls. Visit YouTube to see more MyFord Touch tutorials.
Ford offers owner’s manual and a DVD to assist in the learning. For real help, ask your Ford dealers for assistance or visit the website support.ford.com to register your vehicle and Sync equipment. Visit this site to check for software updates.
The MyFord Touch advances may create a new learning curve for some vehicle owners. But it offers immense satisfaction once someone has mastered driving a vehicle with really cool technology.
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