Ford introduces simplified Sync 3 infotainment system

By John Rettie

(December 27, 2014) DETROIT, Mich. —  Connectivity. It’s become the buzzword in the auto industry as all manufacturers strive to integrate our cars into our everyday connected lives. At Ford’s annual show’n’tell event for journalists earlier this month the company announced Sync 3. Ford promises that this all-new third-generation version offers a far better experience than its unpopular MyFord Touch system.

Sync 3 has a new screen that has clearer fonts, less cluttered menus with a touch screen with pinch to zoom as well as voice activation. In a demonstration Ford showed how it works more like a smart phone than earlier versions, making it simpler and more intuitive to owners.

For example, you can now type in an address in one line just as you can on your computer or smart phone, eliminating the need to go through each part of an address separately. If you wish to use voice search you can now say ten twenty-three instead of one zero two three for navigation help.

The subscription-free 911 Assist emergency service has been enhanced in Sync 3. A customer’s Bluetooth-connected phone is used to automatically dial 911 in the event of a serious accident. It will give the car’s location and relay additional information such as if the airbags were deployed, the number of seat-belts in use and the type of crash (front, side, rear or rollover). 

Ford has also opened up Sync 3’s underlying software, which no longer comes from Microsoft but from Blackberry, so that third party developers can also introduce apps, which can be downloaded adding further functionality. Talking of downloading, Sync 3 will automatically upgrade itself using its built-in Wi-Fi by connection to a home Wi-Fi network. If an owner does not have Wi-Fi or cannot get their car within range of a Wi-Fi signal, upgrades can be downloaded on a USB stick and then plugged into Sync 3 in the car.

Sync 3 will start showing up later next year when it will be offered as an option on 2016 model year cars. Ford was one of the leaders with an integrated infotainment system when it first introduced Sync in 2007, but overall its previous systems have not been well received. Ford says it has listened to its customers and conducted tons of research and hopes the new Sync 3 will garner much more acceptance.

Global Ford Performance

In other news, Ford announced that as part of its ongoing “One World” mission it is now bringing all of Ford’s worldwide performance divisions under one umbrella organization. As an example, this means we will see the Focus RS high performance hatch go on sale in the U.S. at much the same time as it does in Europe.

Ford says sales of its performance cars have increased by 70% this year in the USA. This is good news for all those owners who still desire to own a better performing car, either in handling or power.

To nobody’s surprise Ford says a majority of buyers of performance models don’t use them as their everyday cars but add them to their fleet of cars for occasional use when they want to have a fun drive.