By on August 23, 2012

Consumer Reports published a scathing critique of the MyFord Touch infotainment system, saying it “stinks” and even worse, is prompting competitors to come out with their own versions of the system.

CR’s critiques of the system largely focus on ergonomics and ease of use. Without physical buttons, MyFord Touch is difficult to use while driving, says the publication – and there are a few TTAC staffers (myself included) who would be inclined to agree. Consumer Reports best summed up the problems behind MyFord Touch with this analogy

Ever consider why video games still use separate controllers with physical buttons, knobs, and joysticks? You never have to take your eyes off the screen, where the bad guys could appear suddenly and shoot you. The same should be true for the view of the road out the windshield while driving. Studies have shown that crashes escalate dramatically the longer drivers take their eyes off the road. We think MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch require far too many glances away from traffic to operate even common functions. And the voice command system is awkward enough that for simple adjustments, most of our drivers don’t use it instead.

While Ford has updated the software to enhance its operation, the lack of any tactile sensation is something that many people have trouble adapting to. Having a car for a week at a time many not be enough for most reviewers, but with CR purchasing their cars outright, and ostensibly spending significant amounts of time behind the wheel, they may have a better-founded grievance.

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68 Comments on “Consumer Reports Slams MyFord Touch...”


  • avatar
    Signal11

    I rented a 2012 (2013?) Ford Edge a few months ago with the MyFord Touch system.

    The lack of haptic feedback on touch screen is an issue. I even bought a separate inline IOS AUX remote specifically for when I’m driving cars without iPod integration so I won’t have to take my eyes off the road. This was less of an issue when I had clickwheel iPods, but with modern touchscreens, this becomes an issue.

    While I agree with CR that the controls are unnecessarily complicated, I don’t think they’re as bad as CR makes them out to be. For the most part, the only two system that I access while driving are the music/iPod/iPhone integrated controls, which can be done off the steering wheel through the dash display and the climate controls. The climate controls are a bit of a pain to toggle, but driving around with the windows open in the Pac NW, I didn’t mind so much.

    • 0 avatar

      Have you tried the Chrysler Uconnect 8.4n in the new 300, Charger or Dart?

      Without a doubt, it the best infotainment system available in ANY car on the market. I’ve tried Audi’s in the A8/A7, BMW’s in the 5/7 and of course Mercedes Command…

      The German cars don’t have touch screens while the new American cars are all touch screen and plasti-touch panel.

      Honda, Hyundai’s in the Azera and nothing Toyota has even compare.

      Try it and tell me what you think!

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        Haven’t tried to Chrysler system and won’t have a chance to in the near future.

        What I have noticed about the German systems are that once you get used to them, they’re safer. By putting the controls on a knob, you only glance down to see where the menu is going and not look to hit targets on a screen.

        I’ve driven the new Azera, don’t know if it’s on the market yet in the states, but in terms of usability, they’re a mixed bag.

      • 0 avatar

        But of course, after all, you have a S550. Is there a jar of Grey Poupon mustard in the glove box?

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        100% agreed.

        The Chrysler system is pretty much the best on the market. There are limitations to the system, but it’s stupid simple to use. People say “read the owners manual”, except when you have it as a loaner or rental and don’t have time to sit down to figure out to turn on the damn heat when it’s -5 outside

        Chrysler hasn’t been known lately to hit a home run on anything, but the Uconnect system is certainly one of them.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        Not only is the UConnect system great, it’s probably THE most responsive of any of the systems you can get on the market today, AND CJD seems to include it in most of their vehicles, to boot.

        The Azera’s system is slick but seems dog slow compared to something like the UConnect.

        Want proof? Look at SaabKyle04′s video of the Azera, then look at the video of the Charger. Night and day.

      • 0 avatar

        The only thing that pisses me off about my S550 is the lack of a touchscreen. Granted, the car is more than 5 years old and touchscreens didn’t really get big till the first SYNC, but the pics of the replacement S class as well as the other German cars don’t have touchscreens either.

        (I’ll entertain an argument about that)

        A Touchscreen needs to have system redundancy with hard buttons. There should be buttons on the steering wheel for the radio/nav/voice activation, and there should be hard knobs or buttons under the screen on the console. Chrysler nailed it.

        the only thing that bothers me is the lack of SEAT CONTROLS on the seats. Why do I have to use the touchscreen to activate the heated steering wheel, heated seats or cooled seats??? I’d give Uconnect touch a 9/10 and that’s the highest score I think any infotainment system deserves at present.

        I’ve driven the new MKS/SHO SYNC; the Cadillac XTS CUE system and the AUDI MMI. Of all of them, MMI was the worst in the A8. The finger draw panel is so stupid it’s remarkable that it ever made it past concept. Thee MKS/SHO and CUE are plagued by slow response and plastic panels that don’t readily activate. What really grinds my gears in the Caddy is how you have to press ABOVE the visual “button” looking thing. SOMEONE NEEDS TO BE FIRED.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Agree with you 100%, bigtruckseriesreview. My company car has the UConnect 8.4. It’s terrific. But, my wife drives a 2008 Mercedes ML. I dread driving her truck, just because that Mercedes stereo is so bad. The ergonomics of the thing are just totally counterintuitive. And don’t get me started on the steering wheel controls…

      • 0 avatar
        abhi

        I have to agree it’s one thing that they are miles ahead of I would say most or almost all manufacturers on this.

    • 0 avatar
      indyb6

      I also rented a 2012 (2013?) Ford Edge recently. After 3 days with the system, I had enough. The touch screen was incredibly laggy, but I could get used to that. The temperature controls were OK, but nothing to call home about. It did have physical touch buttons for temperature, volume and power on/off, but there was no haptic feedback (maybe that can be turned on in the complex menu settings?)

      My major issues with the system were:
      ONE. It would not pair a Bluetooth device while the vehicle was in motion. I can see how this can be “safe”, but it was really, really annoying that you have to ask the driver to take an exit and stop, just so one/all of the passengers can pair their phones to the Sync system.
      TWO. The system randomly crashed and the screen became unresponsive. It would not respond to any inputs. Thankfully, this happened 3 hours before I returned the vehicle and thankfully I could at least turn the volume down using the wheel controls. I was stuck on some heavy metal station on sat radio, and I COULD NOT POWER THE UNIT DOWN. I took an exit, pulled over at a gas station, turned the car off, came back 10 minutes later, turned the car back on and the radio turned right back on and was as unresponsive as before. Since it was a rental and since it was almost time to return the vehicle, I did not pull the negative terminal of the battery. But, I am not sure if that would have solved the issue.

      Honestly, why would Ford release such a buggy product? Maybe I had a bad unit, but it did leave a very bad impression. I like the direction Ford is taking. I like the Focus and the new baby Aston Martin (Fusion). I would seriously think about buying them when I am ready to buy another car, but they will have to improve this system tenfolds or give me an alternate.

      On the other hand, I rented a Dodge Caliber last year and it had the basic UConnect System without Nav (I think it was still UConnect). That was the fastest/most responsive touch screen car interface I had dealt with and it was very easy to use.

  • avatar
    tresmonos

    There’s a fantastic feature called ‘Sync’ that really helps the user perform all functions of MFT while they keep their eyes on the road.

    Maybe CR forgot to open the Owner’s Manual.

    They’re archaic logic will be addressed by the 2013MY F series. Their gloved hands can be removed from the 3 ‘o’ clock position so they can find their favorite “A Tribe Called Quest” songs about pagers on their Microsoft Zune or their iPAQ via the Atari joystick located on the Center Finish Panel.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “Climate!” Pause. “Increase fan speed!”

      “Climate!” Pause. “Panel!”

      “Climate!” Pause. “Temperature Low!”

      And after it’s cooled off,

      “Climate!” Pause. “Floor Panel!”

      “Climate!” Pause. “Decrease fan speed!”

      “Climate!” Pause. “Temperature 65!”

      Sync is great for moderately complex inputs like finding a song.

      Sync is every bit as comically bad as the touchscreen for simple inputs that used to be handled with the HVAC knobs.

      • 0 avatar
        Off a Cliff

        Agreed, if you could naturally string a command together, it would be great, such as: “decrease temperature to 71 degrees”

        sync supposedly does this, but 60% of the time I’ve tried (also with MyLincoln) it doesn’t register, even with even, well-ennunciated speech

      • 0 avatar
        tresmonos

        I guess when you do it enough, it is as second nature as reaching for a knob. Without your hands leaving the steering wheel, of course.

        I still stand by it’s capability. I haven’t experienced any competitor’s voice command software that has as much repeatability and accuracy as Sync. However, I do realize I am biased.

      • 0 avatar
        sco

        As the owner of a manual transmission 2006 Scion Xb, all I can say is “How much am I paying for all this unnecesary nonsense”

      • 0 avatar
        redav

        100% agreed.

        Also, try using Sync with other people in the car. Either you get leered at by your date who is irked because you are talking to your car instead of her, or other people talk while you try to give commands which completely screws up the system.

        Systems like Sync are useful if they reduce the number of operations performed, such as changing a setting that is deep inside a menu tree. But 1) there should be no items in menus that you need to change when driving, and 2) odds are that if you actually used it, it wouldn’t be in a menu tree.

        I also challenge the notion that keeping both hands on the wheel is such a primary factor for safety. Most accidents are caused by cognitive mistakes (that includes being impared, being distracted, and just plain making bad decisions). For example, manual shifting isn’t a problem unless the driver has to divert focus from driving to do it. A voice system that prolongs the operation or requires cognitive interation (e.g., by including command confirmation) will be more dangerous than manual controls even if both hands never leave the wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        WildcatMatt

        “Tea. Earl Grey. Hot.”

  • avatar
    gmichaelj

    As much as I am rooting for Detroit to do well – and I hate to hear that CR rips them on this. Hopefully, Ford will reconsider their approach. I believe that what Ford wants to do is keep the cost down. No buttons = less expensive to make and probably less likely to break in the future. I don’t own a car with infotainment anymore, but buttons absolutely make systems easier to work. I wonder how much it would cost to add them, and how many sales they will loose because of not having them.

    • 0 avatar
      tuffjuff

      It’s not “less buttons = lower cost,” it’s “less buttons = bigger screen.”

      The entire stock dash is replaced almost entirely by the Sony head-unit Ford uses in the MFT/Sony sound system package, taking away most phyiscal buttons with it. The stock dash has a screen that’s maybe 3 or 3.5″ in size, and the Sony unit has to be 10″+.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      I think it depends on the demographics of your target market. The older your target market for a given car the less important touch screens are. And quite possibly in a lot of cases they can actually become a huge negative. Personally, at age 50, I like high tech everywhere except my automobile. I want knobs, I don’t want to have to silence the radio so I can tell the car to turn down the a/c fan. “turn fan down.” “lower” “lower” “lower” Yeah I can live without that.

      I like to do as much of my own repairs as possible and I keep my cars well past the warranty, both of which make an all-in-one electronic dash poison to me. When it does go NOBODY can fix it, they just swap out one $1500 head unit for another one. And don’t kid yourself that there are less parts. A computerized dash can’t do anything without a bunch of solenoids, relays and stepper motors.

      We’re reaching the point that these “mainstream” cars will be too expensive to own outside of the warranty period. Just like a BMW is now, in another 5 years nobody will want a Ford family sedan after the warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        This “no one wants a BMW out of warranty” meme is all over this site, yet BMW is always near the top if not THE top in resale value for any given age of car in thier class. Hmmm, how can that be??

        Dashes have been all-in-one packages for a decade or more. Whether it is a touchscreen or a bunch of buttons makes no real difference. Touchscreens might even be cheaper to replace.

        Personally, I want my car to be an entertaining drive, not an entertainment box on wheels, and I ordered it reflecting that. But I can see the appeal of all of this sort of stuff for someone who commutes in heavy traffic every day.

        Do people serious fiddle with thier AUTOMATIC climate controls all the time?? I never touch the main controls on my BMW. It is set at 70F, and manages hot or cold perfectly. It does not blow gales of hot or cold air, and always sends the air to the appropriate vent location. I occasionally vary the dash vent temp with the little seperate control wheel up there. My sundry Saabs with automatic climate control worked very well too. But maybe a properly working climate control system is one of the benefits of buying a premium car?

        I do agree with the poster who commented that these systems are in thier infancy – they are all very much Gen 1 systems, and will get MUCH better over time.

    • 0 avatar
      hecep

      You posted: “I believe that what Ford wants to do is keep the cost down. No buttons = less expensive to make and probably less likely to break in the future.” I agree with the first part about Ford wanting to keep costs down, but for themselves – not for the consumer. Little to no button infotainment systems allow makers to add a premium since consumers perceive these systems as being more desireable than otherwise and therefore worthy of the ADDITIONAL cost that Ford and others tack on. And I really have to disagree with the second part of your post. When was the last time anyone has heard of climate/radio/CD/nav buttons failing? Virtually never. And if the goal of Ford and others is to provide systems that are “less likely to break in the future”, then their ongoing effort to pimp their buttonless systems takes everyone in the wrong direction. If these systems are better, then why are they such a problem?

  • avatar
    seabrjim

    Did you see how many pages are dedicated to it when you did open the owners manual? Overly complicated even if I had it in my living room, let alone trying to drive a car. And we worry about teens texting? I would be just as worried about the adult running a red light while screwing with this Arent we supposed to be driving when we are behind the wheel? This could have ben invented by BMW.

  • avatar
    parabellum2000

    I remember reading car mags in the late ’90s and early ’00s complaining about the number of buttons on BMWs and Acuras. I think they were still complaining about the current model TL. Now they have too few buttons.

    Aesthetically a clean dashboard, with few buttons, and big bright screen is appealing. Functionally, its a nightmare.

    A well laid out button arrangement, with different textures and sizes can be learned in a matter of a couple days. A touchscreen with menus and sub-menus that is being constantly updated will never be mastered by most users.

    Another complaint I have, is that as convertible driver, most of these screens are completely washed out in sunlight. I would hate to own a new mustang convertible and not be able to change the radio station or the HVAC controls because I have the top down and the sun is shining.

    • 0 avatar
      abhi

      My wife has an MDX and the number of buttons on that dash is astronomical but she’s used to it and does it with out looking. When I have to drive her car I do button hunt.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Bring back buttons! Maybe we could start an online movement like save the manuals. This touch screen madness needs to end.

    I made the mistake of buying a button less, menu driven Pioneer radio for my truck – and I hate it! I got an old school looking Alpine (CDA-117) full of buttons in my Z and love it… I can change channels, tracks and volume all without taking my eyes off the most important thing – the freaking ROAD in front on me!

    Until the voice recognition in these systems works perfectly 100% of the time I think they are worthless. What happens with the windows down, radio up (loud), while talking to my passengers? Will the car still understand my directions to turn the A/C to 72 and direct the flow to my feet?

    • 0 avatar
      Trend-Shifter

      I made the same mistake by purchasing a Kenwood audio system with a menu driven system.

      It takes two screens to get to my pre-sets, then I have to scroll through and click on the one one I want.

      It is terrible to change radio channels safely when negotiating any traffic other than the straight open road. Even then it’s not safe.

      I will be shopping for a replacement with buttons after I determine what sub-woofer system I want to add.

      • 0 avatar
        nrd515

        I know what you mean. I had a fantastic sounding high end JVC head unit in my old Ram, and it was a nightmare, in two ways. The first was it was incredibly sensitive to voltage spikes. It would lock up, and have to have a hard reset, and you had to reset everything like it came out of the box. The dealer replaced it with another unit, and it did the same thing. I suggested adding a big capacitor to solve it, and the dealer seemed to think I was nuts. Of course, that would prove to be the solution, but I had sold it off after a few months. The other thing it had that annoyed me was the short time it gave you to do anything when you were going through the endless menus before it would exit and go back to the main screen. Trying to do anything while moving was dicey at best. I finally replaced it with a much cheaper Panasonic head unit. Not as good sounding, but bulletproof, and even though it had many of the same features, simple to use.

  • avatar
    George B

    It’s not just Ford. Drive a 2010 or 2011 Toyota Camry SE from Hertz and the tactile feedback from big knob HVAC controls, somewhat upgraded hydraulic power steering, etc. is pretty good for a rental car. Easy to drive even when you’re tired and have never driven the car before. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/04/review-2011-toyota-camry-le/
    In contrast, the 2012 Toyota Camry SE has a more annoying user interface that forces you to take your eyes off the road to look at LCD screen and poorly implemented electric power steering that pretty much removes the somewhat limited feedback the old SE had.

    • 0 avatar
      C170guy

      I haven’t tried electric steering yet, but I have heard all the horror stories. I want to see it for myself someday, and will probably do then when I have the time later this year. I understand that it is at least possible to get it halfway good.

      • 0 avatar
        parabellum2000

        I had electric power steering my RX-8. I never felt like I was missing feedback. It certainly felt better than my mustang with hydraulic power steering does. I think the problem is that most systems are over-boosted.

      • 0 avatar
        Russycle

        Mini Cooper has electric steering too. Never bothered me. But like most things, it’s all in the implementation. As for Sync, no thanks. I like buttons, and the classic 3 HVAC knobs. There’s no need for auto-climate control when adjusting the temperature requires moving your hand all of 6 inches.

        Call me a Luddite, but, unlike the last car I had with auto-temp, my temperature sensor never goes on the fritz.

      • 0 avatar
        Boff

        The RX-8 uses an electric motor to power the hydraulic power steering pump. In most EPAS systems, the electric motor IS the power steering pump. Big difference.

        No idea why the latter form of EPAS is the way things are going…although it does allow gimmickry like changing the level of assist by pushbutton.

      • 0 avatar
        George B

        My theory is that steering column mounted EPAS filters out more feedback than rack mounted EPAS, but it costs less and protects the electric motor from the weather and engine heat. Mazda’s electric motor driving hydraulic power steering feels much better, but probably costs more.

        Side-by-side on the used car lot, the 2012 Camry looks better than the 2010, but the SE version lost some of the good stuff that made it drive like a Honda with good sound insulation and an extra gear in the automatic.

  • avatar
    C170guy

    Cars.com kicking tires blog has a similar article about it dated August 22. 3,500 miles of a Flex vacation road trip.
    Something has gotta give.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    The Nissan version of “My Touch” will get top marks, I’m sure…

    Yeah, yeah, just a joke from yesterday…don’t get excited!

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    If they thought the system itself was bad, try using it while driving at lower speeds in any Ford having the hilariously named “PowerShift” transmission.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    Although with Chrysler’s Uconnect 8.4 you lack some Sync features, it’s much easier to use….frankly it’s about the best in the business.

    • 0 avatar
      tresmonos

      Totally agree. I think it’s the best multimedia interface for any OEM. All in-house development to boot. They did have a good reference for ‘lessons learned’ prior to it’s release. Ronnie touched on this a bit, below.

  • avatar
    raph

    Sweet, gonna win the lawsuit lottery! Thanks CR for your hyperbole. Just need to get something with MyTouch now…

    Now on a more serious note, why didn’t Ford implement greater haptic feedback?

  • avatar
    jmo

    I have a 300 Limited for a rental this week and I can’t understand all the comments about using the screen to control the car. I haven’t really noticed that it’s any harder to use than any other vehicle.

    The radio you control with the steering wheel buttons and the climate control is set it and forget it.

    What is all the angst about?

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    These cars are inherently unsafe and the Feds are sleeping at the wheel here by failing to ban them. Simple as that. Let the plaintiff’s trial bar do their job and whack Ford and others when their drivers cause pile up accidents because they were trying to adjust the AC on the fourth level menu.

    • 0 avatar
      01 ZX3

      Cuz there isn’t voice control, redundant controls on the steering wheel, and redundant controls on the center stack right?

    • 0 avatar
      Ion

      Pretty much every vehicle I have ever driven with a Nav system (and even my TomTom) make you agree to a liability waiver before you can even operate the system everytime you turn the car on.

      Hell, Toyota/Lexus’ systems make me agree that I won’t sue them atleast 3 times before they let me reset the maintenance notifications in customer’s cars.

  • avatar

    I had AVIS rental in Philidelphia last week, took it north to Shamoakin Dam and then Scranton, has the car for 5 days it was 2012 Ford Edge with MyTouch. I was very entertained by the system and wanted to like it. I liked that I could change many simple functions from the steering wheel such as Air temp and fan speed, I liked that I could cycle through the XM/Sirius presets, although I wish I could browse all channels using those same buttons. My best XM experience having had several cars with built in units remains my first XM experience which was a XM add on. Why is it that no built in XM receiver will let you browse other channels/show you what is playing on other channels before you switch?
    Bake to the MyTouch. The most negative aspect of the MyTouch is the lack of tactile button feel. I punched at the screen many times just slightly missing the mark for temperature changes, or fan speed changes. This applies not only to the touch screen,but also the touch sensitive controls below the screen.

    My least favorite part of this system is the touch buttons below the screen and on the Volume/tuning Knob itself. For some reason the large Volume/tuning knob has what looks like buttons for tune up/tune down, but they are in fact touch sensitive, and it took a odd amount of touch to activate them. Sometimes I would push like it was a button and other times it would change if I just came near it.This was very frustrating and I wished that it was just a regular button, preferably a larger button.

    The other issue with the volume knob is that it is a incremented knob, meaning you feel each click, which would be a plus except for the on screen weirdness that was the volume display which showed only a indication for every two clicks, but when it showed them, it added two lines to the volume indicator. I can’t imagine why they would have programmed it that way, but it struck me as dumb. one clikc should equal one visual display line of change.

    Also because the touch thing was so senstivie on the volume/tune knob, you had to brace your hand somewhere to apply the right amount of pressure. Guess what happens when you try and brace your hand somewhere? You accidentally push other buttons causing the fan to jump up in speed or accidentaly turn on the defrost mode.

    Another problem on the small display to the left of the speedometer is that a litte TACHOMETER is available as one of the 3 possible displays there. The tach is a computer generated graphic which suffers from lag. Meaning you are constantly reminded how inferior it is to a regular tach disply. Whenever you accelerate it always seems to be 1/2 second behind actual RPM.

    Another point, why have this display if you don’t allow more screens or better looking screens?

    Another thing I didn’t like about the MyToch XM/Sirious radio display, was that if you try and program the 3 banks of sat radio channels, you can’t stay where you are in the channel line up when you switch from say SAT1 to SAT2, meaning if you are programming the stations in order like i prefer, you are doing fine until you finish with SAT1 and when you hit SAT2 it starts the tuner back off somewhere different.

    Very quiet, comfortable car. Great Air Conditioning, Great sound system. Great visibility. I just wished that the MyTouch was more fun and easy to use.

  • avatar
    SV

    I’m a Consumer Reports subscriber so I saw this post yesterday on their site. I also saw updated road tests of the Taurus, Flex and MKS that reflect the addition of MyFordTouch. All 3 dropped massively in their road test scores, out of proportion to what the dashboard controls should influence – so I get the sense CR arbitrarily dropped the scores for shock value out of sheer disgust with that one feature. I’d understand if they withheld recommendation from MFT-equpped models like they do cars with poor reliability, or something like that, but to see that they can play around with their road-test scores in such an arbitrary manner, when until now it looked like they were arrived at in a largely quantitative matter, is disconcerting.

    I also wonder if this is just targeting Ford more aggressively to get them to change, or trying to stir up some controversy for attention’s sake. Probably a bit of both…

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      Did you read their review of the new Ford Edge, which they lambasted for its poor ride quality and noisy interior?

      • 0 avatar
        SV

        Did I mention the Edge? It has never performed well in CR tests. The Flex, Taurus and MKS on the other hand had good scores before MFT was implemented. After the updates, huge drops in their road-test scores across the board because of ONE new feature, albeit an important one. If controls consistently accounted for a set fraction of overall road-test scores MyFordTouch shouldn’t have caused an impact beyond maybe 5 points, forget 10 or 20 – the discrepancy there points to a highly arbitrary scoring system that I might expect from Motor Trend but never Consumer Reports. Heck, even Car & Driver has a standardized scoring system in their comparos.

    • 0 avatar
      mikedt

      Considering how much CR dinged VW years back for having a single turn turn signal indicator (they had one flashing light on the dash instead of one for left and one for right) I’m not surprised that they’d hit a car so bad for what basically amounts to the entire user interface of the car.

  • avatar
    200k-min

    This is the iPhone generation, isn’t it? RIM/Blackberry is dying because they continue to use querty keyboards with small screens. Damn those touchscreen phones with no buttons look cool. That’s what Ford is doing and I applaud them for it. This is the future, like it or not. Now getting the software right is the trick.

    I’ve had MFT in a few rental cars and didn’t find them any worse than any other unfamiliar vehicle. My daily driver doesn’t have some fancy touchscreen but I’ve driven the thing for over 190,000 miles and could literally do anything inside there blindfolded. Same goes for my phone. I can touchscreen my way into email,text, phone numbers nearly blindfolded because I just know it that well.

    Sure, there’s a learning curve to anything and you can’t help idots. Wasn’t there an outcry that putting radios in vehicles would be distracting and cause crashes? This is no different. People will adapt and adjust. It just takes time.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “This is the future, like it or not.”

      You could get a car with a fully computerized dash and touch screen controls (with hands free cell phone intergration!) in like 1988.

      And, the exact same complaints about those systems were given by the press back then as they are now.

  • avatar

    The Chrysler 300 that I recently reviewed is hopefully an example of how things will improve as we go forward. Controls that are accessed frequently have knobs, buttons and switches, either in the center stack or on the steering wheel. More detailed stuff is handled by the U-Connect screen. I think Ford’s problem is that they were way out ahead of everyone else. Sometimes companies that introduce a general technology don’t quite have it developed the way that consumers will embrace it. Competitors make improvements on the concept and ultimately the consumer wins. Also, ultimately Ford’s system relies on Microsoft and that company has never been great at making intuitive software.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      What you describe is a failure of their design process. The first and most important step of universal design is a need analysis–what *must* the design do?

      Two examples how Ford’s radios fail:
      1. Need = minimize the diverting of the driver’s attention. How does it fail? Menus. To switch between continuous and random play, you have to go into a menu, select CD play mode, then cycle through the options, and then select the one you want. To do this, I had to find the menu button, then read the menu & toggle a button to find the option I wanted, then read the text on the screen to see what option it is that I wanted. A “shuffle” button like my 11 yr old car that cycles through continuous/shuffle all/shuffle folder would have been functionally superior, but my guess is that Ford put aesthetics above function in their need analysis.
      2. Need = make the most common functions the easiest to perform. How does it fail? The buttons included/not included. In MFT, there are two buttons beside the volume knob: source & sound. Source switches between radio, satellite, CD, Aux, etc. Okay, that’s not too bad. Not great, but not failure, either. The other button, “sound,” is baffling. How often does a person mess with the treble & fade? A couple times a year (at most)? I suspect many people set it once and never if ever do it again. That’s exactly the type of function that should be in a menu. So why does it get its own button? I suspect that it is again aesthetics. They wanted the console to be symmetric, and it really didn’t matter what the button did.

  • avatar
    Charliej

    Personally, I have a car with a radio and CD player. It is all that I need. For navigation, I use an after market nav system. Built in systems go obsolete very fast. A system with buttons can’t be upgraded with software as easily as a system with a touch screen. I don’t know if this was Fords reasoning, but it would be something I would be in favor of. There has already been a major upgrade to the system, will there be more.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I for one like MyFord Touch. There were issues with it last year. However, once we recieved the USB update, MFT has been flawless. My wife uses it daily for work. The navigation has been more reliable than her 4G smartphone. She doesn’t want a car without MFT anymore.

    I would perfer a car that I could just plug an Android tablet or iPad into. Running HVAC, Nav, and anything else through that would allow for better flexibility in technology going forward.

  • avatar
    86SN2001

    This is what happens when you introduce technology for the sake of technology.

    So not only did Ford do ZERO product testing with this extremely flawed system, they went ahead and released it anyway thinking they would be ok.

    Talk about arrogance.

    And the absolute worst part about MyFord Touchy isn’t the fact that it’s complete garbage, its the fact that you cannot get a loaded Ford without it. Ford forces it down your throat.

    The absolute best part though, is the Ford apologists think the CONSUMERS are being unreasonable when they balk at having to pull fuses to fix MyFord Touchy.

    Hopefully Ford will pay dearly for this boondoggle. NOt only does it not work, when it does, it makes driving FAR more dangerous.

    Ford should study Chrysler on how to make a proper, working in-car electronic system.

  • avatar
    carve

    This could be an even bigger issue on the Tesla, but it’s more forgivable since that isn’t a mass-market car.

    I think it’ll always be useful to have dials for, at the very least, volume and temperature. Volume is usually on the wheel so that’s OK

  • avatar
    azmtbkr81

    On a side note what is with companies adding the cloying and irritating prefix “my” to every new product these days? It seems like “my” has become the new “e” only less relevant to the actual function of the device or service.

    We’ve come a long ways from the days of the simple, sturdy 1979 F150 featured yesterday and I’m not always sure it is for the best.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      Probably for the same reason one particular company calls every product I-something…

      As far as the old F-150 and simplicity goes – I’m expecting a release any day now for a rotary-dial cell phone and a Zenith TV!

      • 0 avatar
        azmtbkr81

        I’m a helpless curmudgeon at the age of 30, what can I say.

        I get it with Apple, the “i” has been an integral part of their branding forever – same with McDonalds and the McNugget but for Ford to start using the “my” out of the blue after it had already become somewhat of a cliche makes no sense. I’d like to be a fly on the wall during the marketing meeting where this was decided upon.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        How about Mazda with that stupid SkyActiv term? I could see that name being used for new jet technology, a frequent flyer plan, or something to do with wireless technology, but an engine? Please…

  • avatar
    Chaser

    Where is the resident Ford salesman/apologist to assure us that every flaw with MFT is fixed in the latest software update and that next year’s version adds the ability to cure cancer AND free tibet with just the push of a virtual button?

  • avatar
    redav

    I agree with CR. Carmakers miss the boat regarding what systems actually need to do.

    CR has a great video about the poor design of recent infotainment systems. They demonstrate how many steps one must perform to complete simple tasks (some systems need 6 or 7 sequential ‘touches’ to manually tune the radio–a process that should be as simple as turning a knob). This is also a flaw of Sync: Should I hit a paddle, give a command, wait, confirm the command, and then have the AC change; or should I simply turn a knob and complete the change? To me, the answer is obvious.

    I first learned the gospel that CR is preaching about 10 yr ago when I bought a touch screen universal remote control–the Philips Pronto. It only had a few physical buttons and everything else was on a touch screen. Their example to video game controllers is exactly correct. No matter how much I used that remote, I never was able to use it for much of anything without staring at it. I replaced it with a Logitec Harmony. Holy cow, what a difference! The Harmony has all the usual physical buttons, but uses a touch screen for the odd and rare commands. It is easier to learn and can be used instinctively by touch only. I relearned the doctrine when I had a touch screen phone. I made more errors dialing, typing, etc., with that than any device with physical buttons.

    Touch screens are useful when you have variable inputs that cannot be distilled down into set commands, such as selecting locations on a GPS map. However, infotainment commands are simple and consistent. Like remote controls, car infotainment systems are made worse with touch screens.

    I constantly hope the touch screen fad goes away, because I will not buy a car with one, and I don’t want to be forced into entry-level, stripped, POS cars because of it.

  • avatar
    Ion

    I’ve had only slight interactions with MFT but I found it to be no more cumbersome than the advance stereo and climate controls in my friends’ TSX or ES when those cars are equipped with Nav systems.

  • avatar
    nrd515

    I have two friends with Edges, and the system annoys the hell out of them both. Their wives liked it, at first, but after a few months have changed their opinion to “It sucks”, and “It annoys the shit out of me!”

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    How is barking commands at a voice recognition system, or fumbling with a touchscreen without tactile feedback better than turning a knob or pushing an up/down button?

    Is it “the future” and we just have to get used to it because all of the car’s controls being condensed into a tiny screen that fades out in bright light or becomes blinding on dark back highways and is distracting to use is somehow superior because focus groups and car companies INSIST on it?

    Or is it just simple ignorance that we need to continuously push high tech gadgets in cars because there’s an implied consumer demand to advance them technologically and turn them into rolling smart phones?

    When we went car shopping recently dealers kept insisting about getting the upgraded editions which had the “LCD panel” in the dash and how it’s ensuring that the car will have better resale value in the future when every new car has a clumsy dash interface.

    I’ve used MFT and Sync on rentals and haven’t been impressed, and found them clumsy and distracting.

  • avatar

    I’ve had two of the MyTouch systems freeze up (no ability to control volume, source…anything) and require rebooting…which required shutting off the ignition. After turning the car back on, one of those two took 9 minutes before the system was operational again.

    And just the week before last, I was in a ’13 Flex that would turn the radio back on seconds after I’d turned it off…every single time. I finally just dialed the sound all the way down.

  • avatar
    cpthaddock

    I feel lonely in this thread! I first met MFT last year in rental vehicles. I liked it and the more I used it, the more I liked it. I sampled the Chrysler systems in their (then) new model Chargers and Challengers and found it competent but found it limited in function and ambition. From what others have written I guess I should count myself lucky not to have experienced any problems in the 7 or 8 Ford Edge models I rented for a week at a time.

    Fast forward a year and my wife finally decided to part with her 2005 Acura MDX touring – a vehicle that also has extensive touch screen controls with zero feedback of any kind that never seemed to ignite the depths of Consumer Report’s wrath like MFT has done.

    Maybe it was being so familiar with the Acura system from ’05 that MFT didn’t seem to be such a massive change to her when we went shopping. My wife loved her Acura so much, she kept it 4 years longer than she normally would. Despite repeatedly looking at the newer MDX over the years, it was the seemingly timid pace of technology adoption at Acura which disappointed her every year.

    My wife swore off domestic autos after an early 80′s factory new GM experience but recalling how much I enjoyed MFT last year I suggested we take a look. To my surprise, she picked a Flex LTD Ecoboost – the final decision coming down to a 2012 without MFT and a 2013 with MFT.

    While it would be a lie to claim not a single issue with MFT in the 2013 we picked, the things that have not been 100% as they should has been trivial. One time I have started the car and had to set a new NAV destination in order to cancel it and override the previous destination’s persistence. One time the Sirius button’s logos didn’t show up. Compare that to the kind of problems I’ve experienced in DVD based navigation systems that decide they can’t quite read the disc that day … uh oh!

    We are fans of MFT. No haptic feedback – don’t notice. Complicated submenus (have you seen a BMW lately) … it’s called customization and control. LCD sub displays and steering wheel controls – truly awesome. Put a European or Japanese badge on the hood and I’d bet most people would just be moaning the lack of technological advances in domestic autos and holding MFT up as an example. Then again maybe that’s just me being lucky and not experiencing the problems that others have – but I haven’t and the vehicle rocks!


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