By on February 10, 2012

As lifetime President of the “Auxillary Cable Fan Club”, it saddens me to see that Ford’s annoying system will be standard on the 2013 Flex and 2013 Gamechanger Fusion, with Ford boasting that over 4 million vehicles have had SYNC installed since 2007.

My latest annoyance with SYNC came yesterday with the 2012 Lincoln Navigator (yes, it still exists). SYNC did not allow my passenger to pair their phone while the vehicle was in motion – ostensibly this is to cut down on driver distraction and any potential liabilities, but pulling over to a stop in rush hour is not possible, especially with “no standing” by-laws that prohibit idling in curb lanes. Pairing phones at traffic lights wasn’t an option either, was the system took longer to pair than the length of a red line, and as soon as the vehicle is rolling, SYNC automatically cancels the pairing. Oh yeah, the iPod integration sucks too.

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27 Comments on “2013 Ford Fusion, Ford Flex To Get SYNC As Standard...”

  • avatar
    Alex L. Dykes

    iPod integration sucks? My dear Derek, I must disagree,my loins burn for some SYNC iPod love.

    • 0 avatar

      I’ve had a string of press vehicles which were downright annoying when trying to SYNC my 30 GB iPod classic. The full library didn’t copy, the navigation was clumsy or the menus were difficult to operate. It’s far less buggy, but I’ve been burned one too many times.

  • avatar

    Even with Sync (trademark) doesn’t it still come with the aux cable port?

    If not, that would be a bummer. I am with you Derek. Even with the safety limitations aside, why the need to have all that bluetooth BS flying around in all its error prone glory, where you could instead have a simple 100.0% reliable wire. At least for audio playback.

    Don’t get me started on the glovebox iPod integration. I just don’t get it. Yeah, I’d love to stuff my phone in the glovebox. Or I’d love to buy a separate ipod just to have in the glovebox.

  • avatar

    GM does not allow rolling pairing of Bluetooth devices either. You have to be at a stand still in order to do it. The reasons are pretty obvious.

    I’m with Alex on this one, I would kill for some Ford Sync love in any of my vehicles. Now Ford MyTouch…that’s a different story. THAT you can keep.

    The Sync and MyTouch vehicles I’ve been in all have had 1/8″ (3.55mm) stereo female inputs as a potential input source along with USB port. Additionally the MyTouch vehicles I’ve been in have had RCA video and left/right audio female inputs along with USB port and the 1/8″ (3.55mm) plug.

    When I had a Ford Edge rental with a hopelessly malfunctioning MyTouch system for a week I gave up on USB and just went to the 1/8″ plug. Wasn’t happy about it and wrote a blistering review of MyTouch but at least the option was there.

  • avatar

    There are two different versions of Sync. Sync w/o MyFord or MyLincoln touch still comes with the aux port. Sync with My* Touch comes with 2 USB, 1 SD card slot, and red/yellow/white A/V input jacks but no mini analog aux port.

    I have yet to find any system that does as good a job as Sync with Bluetooth, IPod control, and voice recognition. Some may be simpler to set up, but are not as full featured.

    I recently had a chance to play with a beta version of the My* Touch v2 software that will be shipping with 2013 models (and that all current owners will get as a free upgrade) and it is much faster, more intuitively laid out, and stable.

    • 0 avatar

      Yes, I guess DK has confused (it happens in almost every site I read at least once) lumping ‘Sync w/ MFT’ with ‘Sync’. Two different systems with unfortunately similar names.

  • avatar

    No no, what truly sucks is trying to show my 60-something auntie how to use the damned thing. She “just wants the old fashioned knobs back…”

    Ford and indeed all these makers are making a huge blunder by forcing people with this touch screen crap. At least until the baby boomers die off they needs to keep the “old fashioned knobs” as an option.

    • 0 avatar

      Please don’t speak for all Baby Boomers, as this one has Bluetooth, touchscreens and iPod integration in all of his vehicles.

      And I’m not afraid to use any of it, you little whippersnapper!

      Now out of my way, before I beat you with my cane and whip you up and down with an HDMI cable…

    • 0 avatar

      I agree, jeanpierresarti. Touch screens are no different than the automatic seat belts of the ’90s–a terrible idea that needs to be burned in the scrap heap of history. I don’t mind the Sync-only system much. I have no use for it, but at least it won’t interfere with my normal use of the car.

      I’m very concerned with the rumors I hear of Ford completely doing away with all physical buttons/knobs, even the volume knob, and going to MFT only. If they do that (and I can’t say that’s what they are actually planning), they deserve to be punished.

  • avatar

    I don’t have much good data on this, but I know GM vehicles don’t allow you to pair while in motion. What vehicles allow you to do this? Just curious to see different manufactures takes on this.

  • avatar

    I wish Ford would provide some pictures of the Fusion’s interior without the MyTouch, but it’ll probably have the weird “button pods” of the base Explorer and Edge.

  • avatar

    Was it not possible for the passenger just phone the normal way since it was such an emergency that it couldn’t wait until the vehicle was stopped?

    We have 2 paired phones, a paired iPod and a 16GB stick of music in our Sync car without a wire in sight. Works perfectly. Our non sync vehicle is a tangle of wires, headsets and adapters. I know which I prefer.

  • avatar

    I don’t usually do the editing by comment thing- but this sentence was a puzzle challenging me to decipher it:

    “Pairing phones at traffic lights wasn’t an option either, was the system took longer to pair than the length of a red line…”

    “Pairing phones at traffic lights wasn’t an option either, AS the system took longer to pair than the length of a red LIGHT…” Maybe?

    I don’t mind this tech stuff so much if it’s in my car- I’m willing to put a little bit of time when I’m the owner. But we have some company cars at work that I only drive for longish road-trips every so often and it just frustrates me. I immediately just look for the auxiliary jack to bypass the system.

    Don’t get me started on the following distance cruise control that wouldn’t engage because I guess some snow/ice was covering the sensor. Once it did melt I couldn’t figure out how to adjust the following distance out of the “automatic-tailgating” range- and had to pull into a gas station and look at the manual. I wish there was an option for standard cruise… but I probably wouldn’t be able to figure out how to switch the two. (I’m in my early 30s and I have no problem programming my home entertainment system for what it’s worth. )

    • 0 avatar

      Don’t get me started on someone using cruiser control when there is snow/ice on the road (or even vehicle).

      • 0 avatar

        Laughable snarky reply.

        It’s not my car. I cleaned off the snow from all windows, lights etc… I don’t know where that sensor is and honestly didn’t even know the car had it until I tried to turn cruise control on half an hour later cruising down the bone dry basically car free highway in the sunny 40 degree weather.

        If by your name I can assume you live in Texas where people freak out when there’s a mm of snowfall on the road I’ll give you a pass.

  • avatar

    I’m baffled by the glowing reviews of Ford Sync in the motoring press. My 2009 Ford Flex came with Sync and I struggle to find sufficiently negative words. The interface is incomprehensible. From the start I was indifferent to its very existence, since the dealership didn’t try to explain it, and my own early experiments ended quickly in frustration. After about a year I sat in a parking lot somewhere with the instruction manual and managed to get my late-model phone connected via Bluetooth. The phone began to act as if infected by a virus. It worked for one or two awkward, noisy phone calls, then Ford Sync seemed to forget about the phone and it never worked again. Strike 1.

    iPod connection? Near as I can tell, it works by loading THE ENTIRE CONTENTS of your iPod into its memory—each and every time you connect it. This takes a long time even with a small iPod. If you have 60gb+ device, there is a tedious wait followed by an error message. Should you manage to connect with a smaller iPod, you find the famously intuitive interface of your iPod replaced by an interface that is unusable. Select music with voice commands? A time-wasting joke. Try to find something on your iPod using the dash display? Wreck your car. Strike 2.

    Fortunately, my Flex has an “Aux In,” so I can still enjoy my iPod. Sync remains a menace, however because you can’t uninstall it. At random intervals, sometimes once a month, sometimes twice in one day, a jarring voice will bellow, “WOULD YOU LIKE TO RUN A VEHICLE REPORT?!!?” If you’ve been coasting along enjoying the Flex’s quiet ride, you are so startled that you almost crash. The odd intervals mean you never get used to the announcement, so it always scares you. If you’re listening to the radio when it starts in with the “vehicle report” nonsense, you miss the rest of the news story while you try to figure out how to shut up the loud voice and navigate back to the radio. I still don’t know what a “vehicle report” is and why I should care. Strike 3.

    I like my Ford Flex but would prefer that “Ford Sync” burn to death in a fire.

  • avatar

    Until they start covering this now standard high tech infotainment system with a 10yr/100k warranty they’ll be losing me as a customer. I keep my cars too long to risk a multi-grand replacement of radio/hvac/etc down the road.

  • avatar
    Amendment X

    From my interactions with Sync, I can say for sure that it is absolute garbage.

    Does Ford know this yet?

    There’s an old saying that goes:

    “Never use a computer you can’t throw out a window.” Advice worth heeding.

    Why MICROSOFT of all companies was chosen to create an in-car system I never will understand. I’m no Apple fanboy, but you know if Steve Jobs had gotten involved it would WORK, and WORK WELL.

  • avatar

    I honestly don’t understand all the hate for Sync. Sync w/My Ford Touch, sure I understand why, but just standard Sync I don’t understand one bit.

    I’ve had 4 Fords that had Sync and not one of them ever gave me any problems pairing my phone or my music. One thing I did discover, was that every time my old POS 1st gen iPhone would update the OS, the Sync system would take longer and longer to respond to my commands when using music commands. I think a lot of it is Apple not playing well with the MS software. It got so bad that I stopped updating my old phone just to avoid the Sync problems. I’ve since switched to a Droid, Droid X and Droid Inc2 and none of them have had any problems pairing, keeping the connection after the vehicle is shut off and left overnight, or playing music through the bluetooth.

    One thing I don’t think a lot of people realize, is that you don’t need a media player to have the system play your music. All you need is a thumb drive. Also, when using a thumb drive, the command to response time is almost instantaneous. My old 30gb Zune works great too.

    As much as I enjoy driving my wife’s 11 Chrysler T&C, if you want to see a bad interface, Chrysler’s Uconnect has to take the cake.

  • avatar

    Got SYNC when I bought my 2012 Mustang last summer.

    I love it. Sometimes.

    When a call comes in, SYNC turns off the radio/CD whatever, I just press the phone button on the steering wheel to answer. When the call is over, SYNC turns on the radio. Works every time. But if I try to initiate a call by pressing the button and saying a name, even after SYNC transferred my phonebook, it never works.

    At first, I was using an old iPod touch First generation plugged in the USB port. Sometimes, it would connect, sometimes not. Then I got another touch, a Third generation. Now works almost all the time. Just don’t try to use the voice feature though, stick to fiddling with the buttons. Try not to swear too much, girlfriend/boyfriend/significant other may not like that.

    The worst is updating the software. I registered on the SYNC web site. Got a message that the SYNC software needed an update. Read the update procedure. Oh boy. First, download the software update to a USB key from a PC, not a Mac. Then, get in the car, start the engine (yeah, right), plug the USB key, follow the instructions. When it says Done, it’s not done! Wait for the second part of the installation! Don’t shut off the engine because of the battery saver function! The update may need more than 10 minutes.

    Then, you look down, below the radio. There’s a tiny plaque that says: SYNC by Microsoft. That. Explains. Everything.

    • 0 avatar

      I had SYNC in my 2011 Mustang. Your assessment pretty much matches mine. It worked with my 5th gen iPod all the time. Except when it didn’t and refused to recognize any devices, which happened about once a week. Then there was the half hour worth “indexing” required every time I added just one lousy song to the iPod. It also refused to ever download my phonebook for my iPhone 4, making handsfree calling virtually useless.

      The SYNC site and the update process is the most pathetic thing I’ve ever dealt with in consumer electronics/software. I’ve seen government software update procedures for decades-old equipment that’s more user friendly.

      I sold my Mustang. SYNC is one of the reasons I don’t really miss it.

    • 0 avatar

      To make a call you have to press the button and then say ‘call’ and then the name. Depending on the model and year you might need to say ‘phone’ first, then after the second prompt say ‘call {whoever}’.

      The voice recognition works extremely well – you just have to use the syntax the system expects. If your phonebook entries are in all caps, it will think the names are acronyms and expect you to spell them, so you will have to re-enter them in either call lowercase or just capitalize the first letter of each name.

      Some phones have a security setting that you need to set to allow Sync to always connect without asking or to allow Sync to automatically download the phonebook without asking. Some phones store phonebooks in local memory and on the SIM card, but will only transfer off of bluetooth via one or the other, I’ve had customer with phones where I’ve had to copy all contact to the SIM then transfer to Sync, or others that forced the phonebook entries to me moved over manually. Keep in mind, these limitations would show up when hooking these phones up to any in-car hands free system, the problem is usually in the way that particular phone manufacturer decided to implement the bluetooth spec. Sync gets a lot of the negative press because it’s the most prevalent system on the market.

      I’ve never had a problem connecting any iPhone, from 3G to 4S. If you want to use an iDevice for music you need to use the Apple OEM cable though, the aftermarket ones seem to have trouble.

      It’s clear that some dealers need to do a better job delivering vehicles with Sync and making sure customers know how to use it. I’ve fixed problems and trouble-shot for plenty of customers who had Sync on the vehicle they are trading in and didn’t seem to care for it until I showed them how well it could work on the new one they were buying. Plenty of people also don’t seem to know about the three years of free turn by turn GPS based directions and other services they get with most Sync vehicles. The system is a great added value, it just has to be explained and demonstrated properly.

      For anyone that is still having trouble, Ford has posted a lot of Youtube videos featuring step by step guides, tutorials, and trouble shooting procedures to get it working right:

  • avatar

    I’ve never had any issues with Sync in any Ford I’ve driven except for ones with Sync and MyFord Touch. And the MyFord Touch systems were early ones before any updates I surmise.

    DK, what sense does it make to have your passenger’s phone paired? It’s the driver who benefits from, and has (and needs) the hands-free control of a paired phone when driving, not the passenger.

    There is, quite simply, no better system available in any other car, period!

  • avatar

    STYNC didn’t work with my iPod Touch because of an indexing problem. There is a patch you can install for Windows, but there is no patch for Mac (or at least when it wasn’t working with our Fiesta back last Fall). It also didn’t want to Bluetooth with my wife’s EVO 4G.

    Voice recognition didn’t work with the few commands it could recognize, assuming I said it in the correct syntax the system wanted me to say it in.

    The system is crap.

    But I digress. All of this garbage should be an option. Even an inexpensive one. Whether a car has intuitive pushbutton controls or some clunky touchscreen and voice command based nonsense is a deal breaker for me. If I have to navigate menus to change the AC fan speed, change radio stations, turn on the defroster, etc. I run.

    These systems don’t make owning a car easier, they put you at the mercy of some computer sourced from a third party vendor with one size fits all code that is prone to crashes at inopportune moments. Not mentioning that as technology advances, car manufacturers will be putting more and more of this crap into cars because they think people want it… not realizing that some of us will go to great lengths to avoid it.

    I think that making SYNC, and systems like it, standard sends a message that car manufacturers think that crashes in computers that control vital systems within a car from some tiny unresponsive touchscreen don’t really bother modern car buyers who seem to be more enamoured by the fact their cars have “voice recognition” and an LCD screen in the dash.

    …and people wonder why the last new car I bought was a work truck with rubber floors.

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