LAS VEGAS -- Ford’s MyFord Touch infotainment system earned the automaker the ire of consumers and reviewers alike. The company aims to fix that with the newest iteration of the system, dubbed “SYNC 3.” We had a few minutes to test the new platform at the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and can report that Ford’s decision to dump Microsoft as its platform provider in favor of BlackBerry’s QNX just might pay off.
SYNC 3 is much faster than its predecessor, sporting a simplified user interface. Ford dropped the quadrant look in favor of a one-image approach; whatever main task you choose dominates screen space, with a small assortment of hotkeys at the bottom -- this way, you can jump back and forth between main menus quickly.
Ford’s smartphone linking system (dubbed “AppLink,”) lets users connect some of their phone’s apps. Currently, the library is around 70, so only the most popular ones (e.g., Spotify and AccuWeather) are supported for now. More will be added later, but what’s already there works well. Future software updates will be available over Wi-Fi or your phone’s data plan -- Ford’s taking a page from Tesla and eliminating the need for updates at dealers (or mailing individual flash drives to consumers). It’s also planning to further integrate Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, though no dates are available yet.
The new system runs on a capacitive touch screen, much like the ones in the past. But thanks to SYNC 3's speed boost, the touch functions finally feel rewardingly responsive. Previous versions were choppy and lethargic.
SYNC 3 will first be available on late 2015 models, including the popular Mustang and F-150 pickup. Buying a new Ford is the only way consumers can get their hands on SYNC 3 -- the automaker says older vehicles can't be upgraded.
Ford still plans to support MyFord Touch, but the new SYNC 3 is definitely something that the automaker will be pushing as a selling point for its newest models, including the 2015 Fusion.