By on March 9, 2012

Ford’s revised F-Series Super Duty was announced today, and aside from the giant chrome grille, the big news here is a revamped MyFord Touch system – now available with knobs and buttons in addition to the touch screen.

Gone are the haptic controls used on Ford passenger cars with MyFord Touch, replaced by the stack of buttons mounted just below the LCD screen. Ford says that truck owners often wear their work gloves while using the car’s stereo or HVAC controls, and the physical pieces were a necessity. Anyone with a touchscreen smartphone knows that texting with gloves on is generally a non-starter, and the same goes for MyFord Touch. Automotive News reports that only the Super Duty will get physical controls. No other Ford vehicle, not even the F-150, will be available with both MyFord Touch and non-haptic controls.

We’re pretty positive that Ford owners and potential customers who don’t wear work gloves would really like to do away with the current iteration of MyFord Touch and adopt the one used in the Super Duty. Ford has endured a number of complaints from both customers and outlets like Consumer Reports and J.D. Power, who measure vehicle quality and reliability. If anything, the sheer annoyance of using the system would be enough to deter me from getting a higher trim level Ford – and it would be hard to imagine truck buyers getting to enthusiastic about a complicated touch interface when the current setup works just fine.

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52 Comments on “2013 Ford F-Series Super Duty Gets MyFord Touch With Physical Controls...”


  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Touchscreens in cars should simply be banned. They just have no place as an input device on anything that is moving at 75mph.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    “Ford says that truck owners often wear their work gloves while using the car’s stereo or HVAC controls”

    And since this is the luxurious Platinum trim, the owners are either wearing their work gloves (for work) or their white dress gloves (for going out on the town!)

  • avatar
    redav

    Any larger, more detailed images of the new controls? I’ve yet to hear anything positive about the touch slider controls.

    I’m pretty outspoke about not liking touch controls in cars, but I’m especially confused why you’d put them in a truck. Not only is there the glove issue, there’s the simple fact that touch screens get nasty enough from fingerprints, and frequently dirty hands would just make it that much worse.

  • avatar
    redliner

    I like Lexus solution… just have a small joystick mouse thingy.

    • 0 avatar

      Lexus actually went much further than joystick, like the one found in Mini. Most importantly, Lexus included a force feedback. The result is that although the pointer is completely free-pointing, like on a PC, it is possible to navigate the UI without looking at it.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The idea with the touch screen is that once you are familiar with the system it is easy to just hit an area of the screen and know what will happen with hardly more than a glance needed to hit the right spot, or, as has been mentioned above, just use the voice commands and don’t take your eyes off of the road at all. I’ve never found the mouse/joystick/scrollwheel systems easy to use at all – there’s no way to know where you are on the screen without looking at it.

        Part of the major software update for MFT is a redesign of the button layout. The original was cluttered in certain areas, but the new version is cleaner, with larger targets, and more common features available on the main screen without having to go into a sub-menu, thus minimizing distraction.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        NulloModo, while I agree that’s the idea, I don’t believe it works.

        People with physical controls still have to operate by feel. Even though every button & control never moves, people’s memory motor tuning is not up to the task of operating a system without at least some feedback.

        While I have not had the chance to play with the new MFT, I don’t believe they’ve got it to the point that anyone could use it without looking at it.

        It’s very simple: if the goal really is to have a system that can be used without looking at, then they need to implement the tools that allow that to happen. That means physical buttons with tactile feedback like bumps & ridges. Thus, I conclude that MFT isn’t about providing a system that’s best for drivers, but one that is neat and cool that appeals to people who always buy the latest cell phone.

        As for voice controls, I have nothing against them; I just don’t see the point:

        (pull voice command paddle)
        Bling – Say a command.
        “Temperature. 70 degrees.”
        Did you say 70 degrees?
        “Yes”
        (Temperature changes to 70 degrees.)

        compared to:
        (turn knob)

  • avatar
    icemilkcoffee

    Not being a good ole God-fearing hard-workin Middle ‘Murican… I have to ask: Do people really drive with their work gloves on?

    • 0 avatar
      srogers

      Living where I do in Canada, there are days where if you don’t wear gloves, you’re not coming home with all your fingers. Due to the frost bite, not moose bites.

    • 0 avatar
      drylbrg

      Sometimes, if you’re hopping in and out constantly while doing some work, though you wouldn’t really need to adjust the radio in that scenario. More often when it’s cold out and the steering wheel feels like it’s made out of solid ice.

    • 0 avatar
      Robert.Walter

      Assuming it wasn’t just left running unlocked, how does one deal with keys and gloves?

      Generally, I would think near field tech for keyless and fobless entry and push button starting would be more useful.

      Regarding the US interface to the MFT, things seem to be slipping backwards, whatever became of voice command?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        It’s not uncommon to for people doing quick jobs site to site to leave the vehicle running and unlocked while doing the work. Around here all of the lawn services tend to pull up, leave the truck running while the crew jumps out and mows/trims/whacks/blows with the average lot taking about 10-15 minutes, then jump back in and on to the next house. Of course, most of them are also driving more utilitarian trim level vehicles.

        The voice commands are still there, and in fact have been improved with the new software. Some people just seem dead set against using voice commands, easier and safer though they may be.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        “Some people just seem dead set against using voice commands, easier and safer though they may be.”

        Include me in that statement. I want a car I talk to about as much as I want a talking toaster.

        Maybe kids that are about 8 or 9 years old NOW will accept voice commands with their appliances, but not the majority of the population. I’m sure there was a similar resistance, with certain age groups, when the telephone first arrived.

      • 0 avatar
        Marko

        @ Dynasty

        Voice commands aren’t suited for everything, but they can be useful for accessing functions buried in menus (though voice commands shouldn’t be the only possible way to access something).

    • 0 avatar
      Broo

      I do not have a F series truck, rather a small Ranger. However, often when I load something dirty and drive for a short distance, I don’t take them off since I’ll have to put them on again in a short while.

      When working with gloves, I’d rather not take them off before the job is complete, as I tend to lose them.

      • 0 avatar
        FuzzyPlushroom

        When I needed gloves for work, I’d leave ‘em on to drive five minutes into town or take ‘em off if I was going farther… but in a 21-year-old Volvo, you can throw your gloves on the cracked dashboard or the passenger seat with its permanent gangsta lean. Not sure I’d do that in a brand-new high-trim-level anything, even a Ford one-ton.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      @icemilkcoffee: “Not being a good ole God-fearing hard-workin Middle ‘Murican… I have to ask: Do people really drive with their work gloves on?”

      I live in middle America, I have a good job, and I can’t afford a $40k vehicle. As guy “struggling” to get by on a five-figure white-collar salary, I have to wonder if people who actually work for a living can afford to pay $40k+ for a truck.

      Looking at the luxury trucks I see in my town, my guess is that they’re being driven by well-off RVers who feel like they belong to a rural culture, even though they live in town and make 6 figures… Whereas the guys who actually wear gloves to work drive whatever used truck (or used car) they can afford…

    • 0 avatar
      Steve65

      Or perhaps we could just be offered cars which don’t HAVE “functions buried in menus”. I can’t imagine anything I’d ever want a car to do that couldn’t be controlled by a couple of buttons or switches.

  • avatar
    Spartan

    I gave up my Focus titanium hatch for a Taurus SHO, and myFord touch was one of the reasons. Tactile buttons are much better than this touch screen stuff. I know the novelty wore off quick for me and the wife. The system used in the Taurus/F-150 prior to MFT is far superior and bug/lag free.

    • 0 avatar
      johnhowington

      uh thanks ‘merican, i guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Why not just replace the MFT with an aftermarket NAV unit that doesn’t suck?

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The Nav in the MFT never sucked – the system was just prone to instability. The main unit also controlled climate however, as well as certain other vehicle functions, so it isn’t easy to replace it.

        With the new software update though the instability is gone, and the system already does a lot more than any aftermarket nav system, so there is no reason to want to replace it.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        Because the MFT is a several hundred dollar item that most people don’t want to replace with another several hundred dollar item.

        Plus, some custom fitting work might need to be done, which might turn out good, or it could be a hack job. Plus plus, most aftermarket stuff I’ve seen is touchscreen as well.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        The way Ford set up MFT, just about every system in the car runs through it. I don’t have the skills necessary to replace it and expect everything else to still work, and I don’t want to deal with a custom installer who either doesn’t care or costs to much.

        Is MFT so bad as to warrant a different car? It’s extreme, but I can understand it. There are so many things about the Focus I love, and I was on the verge of buying one, but decided not to because all the stereo systems (reg + MFT) are so horrendous & non-replaceable that I’ve written them off unless Ford fixes them.

    • 0 avatar
      racer-esq.

      Wow, the infotainment interface was so bad you traded in an almost brand new car?

      • 0 avatar
        Tosh

        I think the deeper issue is that Mr and Mrs Spartan’s ability to assess and prioritize utility and ergonomics is seriously flawed, leading to impulsive, emotional buying decisions. (And to top it off, then actually complaining in public about it, as if it’s a hidden defect not apparent in the showroom….?)

  • avatar
    JMII

    I just put a new radio in my Z, unfortunately the aftermarket has the same problem: everything these days is a worthless touchscreen. So I specifically went out of my way to find a radio that still has good old buttons (Alpine CDA-117). I understand why touchscreens are popular: its easy to add or change features via software. This works find for something like a cell phone or iPad but is terrible for a car where your EYES need to be on the road and not the device. Now if someone would put this stuff into a HUD (heads up display) that was controlled via a joystick that might work.

    • 0 avatar
      burgersandbeer

      Isn’t that basically i-drive? Obviously not something that’s within most people’s means, but it is out there.

    • 0 avatar
      NulloModo

      A lot of the features are available that way. There are two small screens on either side of the speedometer that are controlled by 5-way buttons on either side of the steering wheel (up/down/left/right and enter). You can use those to change the temperature, make a call, change the radio station, see your next turn on the nav system, and use any of the trip computer features.

      • 0 avatar
        Dynasty

        I think the fact that the manufacturers have to “sell us” on how much better touchscreen or voice control is, it probably isn’t.

        Touchscreens in a vehicle should be no where near the driver. Having them is absolutely ridiculous.

        Its fine that those additional controls are there, but the main controls need to be simple knobs and buttons. I would much rather spend the additional $2.43 in manufacturing costs, and save the hundred or so dollars to not have the touch screen.

      • 0 avatar
        NulloModo

        The touch screens do make certain operations a lot easier, and it’s worth keeping in mind that not everything you do in the car is done while driving. Typing in an address for navigation using a scroll wheel or mouse is tedious, using a touch screen it’s fast and easy. Having a configurable touch screen makes setting up various vehicle preferences much easier as the menus can all be contextual, and since both navigation and back up cameras are becoming much more common the vehicle is going to have the big screen anyway, so you might as well make it interactive.

        Every vehicle with MFT still has physical controls for the volume and audio on/off as well as the temperature (whether on the 5 way steering wheel controls or an actual knob such as in the Focus or the upcoming Super Duty and Escape).

        I think a lot of people who don’t understand how the system works are imagining drivers careening down the road while playing the equivalent of an iPad game with the center screen, but that isn’t the case here. You use the screen to set up the defaults and preferences you want, and then a quick tap to change a radio preset, turn on/off the climate controlled seats, or bring up the map are all you are going to be doing while driving. Everything else is done by the physical controls or the voice commands.

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        NulloModo, Ford has already shown concepts where ALL physical controls are removed, even the volume knob. The simple fact that of the two real buttons they leave next to the volume knob one is “sound” (Seriously – how often does someone need to adjust “sound” that it deserves its own button?), that tells me the folks developing MFT don’t have a clue how to design it properly. (Well, that and actually talking to one of them who honestly didn’t have a clue.)

        We aren’t making up the idea of people being distracted by these touch screens. My boss & a few coworkers were nearly killed by exactly that phenomenon with a GPS device.

  • avatar
    Secret Hi5

    One can dream of a future where “buttons” and “knobs” have replaced primitive touchscreens.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    I agree, they should always offer redundant buttons like this, at least give the option.

    Knowing how modular electronics are, I would bet you could add those buttons to any car with the touchscreen MyFord Touch. Of course you would have to find the parts and find the space to put it… but it might be doable.

  • avatar
    mzr

    What? Resistive touchscreens weren’t good enough?

  • avatar
    johnhowington

    i can already see the municipal / state / federal fleets lining up for these monstrosities.

    • 0 avatar
      Patrickj

      The Federal vehicles I rode in about 5 years ago had roll-up windows. Touchscreens are a very long way off.

      The generals and admirals I’ve seen are hauled around in Dodge Caravans because they are the only large vehicles that will never be taken to be luxurious.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      Having driven state-owned university vehicles from time to time, these vehicles are pretty utilitarian. Fleet operators are cost-conscious, and generally only choose options that are in the organization’s interest.

      In other words, no luxury features (expensive with no practical benefit to the organization), and if you need a GPS, your boss should provide a portable unit out of *their* budget. Fire extinguishers (mandated by law for fleet vehicles) and good insurance were included with every vehicle, though, because those *do* serve the interest of the organization.

  • avatar
    ciddyguy

    Speaking of fleet vehicles, when my Dad bought them back in the 70′s and 80′s, the older ones from the 70′s, especially the US Gov’t GSA fleet cars were very basic, like no options other than heat/vent and that was it. The compacts were all fuel efficient inline 6′s with automatics. By the late 70′s, the interiors were upgraded to carpeting and some had at least an AM radio and a rear window defroster of some sort, but not much else (the ’78 Ford Fairmont my Dad bought from the GSA fleet in 1982 had them both and carpeting but was still the base model).

    By the 1980′s, Some cars even had AM/FM radios in some, the rest with AM radios and most had AC too but were still pretty basic. All had the base automatic with the exception of some Citations which actually were 4Cyl manuals and I think those had AC too, but not sure though (this being a whole fleet of 83 Citations that came to auction in ’87).

    My Dad bought a 1983 Citation with the 2800 V6, automatic, AM radio and AC and nothing else. By the late 80′s, the GSA cars were not as good a value as they once were as a result (then edging up in price) and his last GSA purchase was a base ’87 Plymouth Reliant 4 door sedan with radio but no AC though. It may have had the 2.2L 4 but had the automatic though.

    • 0 avatar
      Omnifan

      When I worked for the feds in the early 70s, we had GSA cars thst were propane powered Ford Falcons (nee Torino). Totally stripper cars with the added feature that you had to worry about range when the fuel needle went lower than 1/4. Fun.

  • avatar
    jz78817

    “Automotive News reports that only the Super Duty will get physical controls. No other Ford vehicle, not even the F-150, will be available with both MyFord Touch and non-haptic controls.”

    Automotive News must have forgotten about the Focus and the Escape…

    • 0 avatar
      pizzapants

      Exactly. My Focus has physical controls…

      Also, the touch screen is resistive. It works fine with gloves, or at least as fine as MFT could possibly be.
      (the upcoming VW is the first capacitive automotive head unit I’ve seen, though I could be wrong.)


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