Why Consumer Reports Loved Ford’s New Sync 3

16_FORD_ESP-SYNC3_03_HR

Source: Ford

Mention the term “MyFordTouch” around a late model Ford owner and, even in the most seasoned of actors, you’ll likely detect a slight wince. At worst, you may set off a ranting diatribe as that owner unloads on all that is wrong with the system. In short, it was bad.

MyFordTouch was Ford’s ambitious attempt at bringing most of the car’s dashboard within the confines of the touchscreen. It was convoluted, over-complicated, with menus that even Ernest Shackleton could spend months getting lost in. Though it was intended to help drivers keep their eyes more on the road and less on the center stack, the time and effort required to accomplish tasks ended up doing the opposite. It replaced the sensory satisfaction of buttons with the cold, emotionless haptic feedback of an LCD. It was slow, buggy, and its rollout was met with near-unanimous panning.

But it’s all OK now. Because Ford is rolling out Sync 3, the latest infotainment operating system for its tech-equipped vehicles. It’s simpler, more intuitive, and all around better. But don’t take our word for it, take it from Consumer Reports.

“There’s always a risk in being an industry leader. Arguably, Ford did more to push touch-screen-based infotainment systems into the mainstream with the 2011 introduction of MyFord Touch than any other company,” the publication said.

Ford ditched the Microsoft-based platform that supported MyFordTouch and rebuilt the program from the ground up. The buttons are big. The fonts are big, too. The screen is now uncluttered, easy to see and read, simple, and less flashy. Sync 3 is much better, and has a much better shot at competing with industry leaders like Chrysler UConnect and Volvo’s new Sensus (which we tried, and really, really liked).

16_FORD_ESP-SYNC3_04_HR

Source: Ford

Consumer Reports noted that MyFordTouch tried to cram every conceivable feature into the system. This left it bloated and menu-heavy. Comparatively, Sync 3 is a bare framework and just enough to cover the bolts — it’s slim and lightweight. As a result, it’s quick. A driver isn’t contending numerous unnecessary features that aren’t needed and in the way.

“Programming a destination is stripped to the bare necessities,” Consumer Reports said. “Much like Tesla’s class-leading navigation system, searching for points of interest by typing out the name is impressively quick. Arcane navigation settings are hidden unless you really need them.”

But the best part? The haptic-feedback touchscreen buttons are no more. Long live the analog knobs and buttons.

Longer-term reliability of the system has yet to be proven. The mass test of releasing unto the public might uncover bugs and issues that haven’t been appearing in quick, first-run tests. But if first impressions mean anything, impressing Consumer Reports — no small feat — is a damned good start.

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