By on June 2, 2015

Ford Sync 3

Coming to the Ford Fiesta and Escape this summer is the automaker’s Sync 3 connected-vehicle system, where it will be listed as an option on the order form.

The Sync 3 system is based upon BlackBerry’s QNX operating system, Detroit Free Press reports, and replaces the MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch technology supplied by partner Microsoft. The Redmond, Wash. tech giant will supply over-the-air updates to Ford’s new system via its Azure cloud-based global network, allowing the vehicle to update its system once parked at home.

New Fiesta and Escape owners who opt for Sync 3 will be able to connect their smartphones via AppLink, allowing for control of compatible apps from the system’s touchscreen. Apple iPhone users, meanwhile, will have an additional function available in the form Siri Eyes-Free, giving drivers the ability to call up Siri for information by holding down the push-to-talk button on their steering wheel.

The touchscreen uses a new capacitive-touch technology capable of delivering an experience similar to a given smartphone or tablet, including the ability to swipe and pinch-to-zoom. Voice and touch actions are claimed to be quicker, as well, while the overall system is optimized for hands-free use with reduced complexity on-screen.

Sync 3 is expected to be on over half of all Ford and Lincoln models by the end of 2015, with all U.S. models onboard by the end of 2016, and in all models sold globally by 2018.

[Photo credit: Ford]

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45 Comments on “Ford Fiesta, Escape First With Sync 3 System Starting This Summer...”


  • avatar
    turf3

    Will there be a delete option, or do I have to add these models to the list of cars I won’t buy due to having been ruined by overapplication of insta-fail whizbangerie?

    • 0 avatar
      stevelyon

      Tell ’em to get off yer lawn while you’re at it.

      • 0 avatar
        turf3

        Yes, of course, anyone who points out inappropriate use of technology must be mocked.

        By the way, how’s the quality of driving going to be while you fiddle with “swiping” and “pinching-to-zoom” on that touchscreen located over in the middle of the car? How is this different from just propping a book up on the steering wheel and reading away while you merrily weave down the road?

        • 0 avatar
          energetik9

          The “Get off my lawn” comment is just an inside TTAC joke. usually self-depricating.

          Aside from that, I don’t see anything innapropriate at all. I find these a must have on all future purchases. I liked the old sync system and used it numerous times on rentals. Glad to see an improved system.

          Lastly, if you read the article above, you’d know there is no need for a “delete” as you stated. It’s on option.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            “Lastly, if you read the article above, you’d know there is no need for a “delete” as you stated. It’s on option.”

            So all these cars can be bought without computer screens on the dash? Or do they still come with the poorly integrated computer but icons that have no functions?

          • 0 avatar
            energetik9

            Well, good question. You are probably right in that there will still be a screen. I think they do that now with the current sync right?

          • 0 avatar
            Ion

            In response to your book question: the system does not fully operate while the vehicle is in motion. For example you can’t enter in an address whilst the vehicle is in motion using the touch screen (at least in a ford or benz). You can however use voice commands so I guess it’s like and ebook or as a more relevant reference a book on cassette.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Some vehicles will have Sync3, and some won’t. Exactly how MFT is now. Every Ford model comes without it, but nicer versions require you to have it. There is not a stand alone delete option.

    • 0 avatar

      I own a ’15 Fiesta S (crank windows, manual trans, sync). My version of sync only pairs for phone calls, reading text messages, and playing music. Frankly I like it quite a bit. I wouldn’t have paid more for it, but I’m glad it’s a standard feature. If I didn’t use it, it wouldn’t affect the functionality of the car at all.

      The fancier versions have touch screens, but they also are voice activated. Of course app use will vary based on programming, but I’ll be they will be more voice activated they many folks are assuming. These apps can make driving safer, it’s all in how you use them (like just about anything). Knowing my way to work is congested encourages me to take longer back roads, making my ride safer, and getting one less person off the highway during bad times. They can also warn of upcoming heavy traffic so folks may slow down ahead of time. You can know what lane is closed ahead, something impossible to know for sure since CB radios have gone out of vogue. Soon, Americans may learn to zipper for lane merging, allowing for faster passage for everyone.

  • avatar

    Uconnect makes all the rest of this stuff look like junk. Thank Goodness it’s available in even the low-end cars.

    • 0 avatar
      319583076

      “Uconnect makes all the rest of this stuff look like junk. Thank Goodness it’s available in even the low-end cars.”

      You mean it’s *exclusively* available in the low-end cars!

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      “Uconnect makes all the rest of this stuff look like junk. Thank Goodness it’s available in even the low-end cars.”

      Do you mean the Jeep-Chrysler system? If you have it and like it, then great. I’ve been very dissapointed with it on the Jeeps and Chryslers I’ve driven. I hope it’s been updated, the 2013 system I used was a mess. I liked the old Ford system and look forward to the new version. The only version I found more frustrating than uconnect was the Cadillac Cue system.

      • 0 avatar
        APaGttH

        Aesthetically, I love MyFordTouch. However I found it an absolute mess in locking up and crashing. The last Ford Edge I had the system was a complete train wreck.

        The splitting of the screen into four discrete functions with voice command backup was highly intuitive. My biggest complaint was it didn’t work 10% of the time.

        The Microsoft platform it was built on, as well as their choice of processor, was never meant to do so much in the first place.

        Sync (the non touch screen systems for Bluetooth, phone and music integration) was simple enough for a grandmother to figure out, bulletproof, and fast. I love Sync, hate that it is integrated into Ford radio head units that have only been incrementally improved from a UI and display stand point since 1988.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          “I love Sync, hate that it is integrated into Ford radio head units that have only been incrementally improved from a UI and display stand point since 1988.”

          This is the problem with non MFT (now Sync3) equipped Ford vehicles. The center stack, especially in the crossovers, looks terrible without that touch screen. They designed the whole thing around the touchscreen and spent no money on the center stack design for anything else.

          • 0 avatar
            TMA1

            I remember when the Fiesta was coming to the US, Ford made a point of noting that the standard audio system was laid out just like a cell phone. A flip phone, specifically.

            This was what, 2010? The iPhone had been out for 3 years by then, and Ford was designing products to mimic a flip phone.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Well the 6th gen Fiesta was designed in the early to mid 00s and was released in Europe by 2008. It still looks like garbage, regardless of the inspiration.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        What problems did you have with uConnect?

        I have plenty of complaints about my 2014 Charger but I’ve found uConnect 8.4 to be flawless thus far and preferred its operation to what was offered by Ford, GM, and Hyundai.

  • avatar
    kkop

    The QNX-based system works very well in our Dodge and Ram. Ford apparently agreed, since it switched from Microsoft to this system.

    • 0 avatar

      The one in my Golf SportWagen is also QNX-based. I hate it.

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      It isn’t the platform.

      It is the implementation built on the platform.

    • 0 avatar
      johnny_5.0

      Microsoft did *not* build MFT. They built the original SYNC (non-touch) system which generally works well. MFT was outsourced by Ford to a third party. Other manufacturers built systems on top of Windows Embedded Automotive that didn’t suffer from all the problems that MFT did when it was first released. This has been misreported basically everywhere, from car blogs to gadget blogs.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Not sure about the Infinity-esque dial placement. Didn’t like it on the Infinity, but that wasn’t exactly a great system to start with. Just depends on how high and how far away it is.

    • 0 avatar

      While new to the Fiesta, this arrangement isn’t new to Ford. The C-Max, Focus and Escape have used it for some time.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      I rarely touch that dial on my C-Max. Any car that has Sync3 will be able to control almost everything related to the radio via the steering wheel.

      • 0 avatar
        Timothy

        I have a C-Max Energi as a loaner this week (Yep… the ST is back in the shop. Rust along the entire right rear wheel arch coming through the paint!!) and I find that stack arrangement to be… idiotic. It’s hard to read the buttons when the seat is set for my body.

        Why the hell would you want buttons pointed up and away from the driver? Makes no sense to me. The center stack should be slanted towards the driver (see Saab)

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          “Rust along the entire right rear wheel arch coming through the paint!!”

          That’s some bad news bears. Any idea where the problem is coming from?

          As far as the C-Max goes:

          I understand what you are saying, but I can’t remember the last time I touched any of those buttons. Granted, I have the SEL model that has bigger buttons on that hand rest thing. With expection to the HVAC controls, I haven’t used a none steering wheel or touch screen button on my C-Max in at least six months. I never use the seek because I have a bunch of presets. I can see where it would be a PITA if you don’t drive the car on a regular basis though.

          • 0 avatar
            Timothy

            No idea on the rust. It’s exceedingly rare to see that on a modern car let alone a car that is just over 2 years old with around 35K on it.

            The rental is actual the Energi model which only comes fully loaded. First time I have driven a hybrid and I have to say I don’t hate it nearly as much as I thought i would. I’ve nearly doubled my daily MPG on the commute from 22 to around 39.5 – 41.1

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      You must have been in a G then. In the M, the dial is actually a bit closer and lower down, since the car is larger and allows for a more voluminous center stack area.

      I find that I rarely need to use the dial, but when I do the combination of dial, dedicated buttons, and directional buttons on a single apparatus is very handy. The trick is to use all three in conjunction to get places quickly.

  • avatar

    As a UI designer, the particular use of gradients and colors actually makes this looks dated, like 2005-era for computers.

    • 0 avatar
      shaker

      There’s a name for that type of “look” to a computer interface (where buttons and display features have shading to make them look 3-dimensional) – but for the life of me, I can’t remember the term.

      The new “look” is “flat” (like the Win 8 Metro screen).

      Yes, that screen is too recessed, and it looks like that messing with that big knob will mean your hand is blocking some portion of the screen.

      • 0 avatar
        Ar-Pharazon

        skeuomorphic

        • 0 avatar

          That’s not skeumorphism. Skeumorphism is when necessary elements of real objects are simulated in an application where they are not necessary. Here’s an automotive example of Flat UI: some cars—like the Jaguar XJ—have LCD instrument panels. But those instrument panels are used to display simulated versions of analog gauges, complete with rings, increment marks and sweeping needles. Are those things actually necessary? No. It’s an LCD. They could just display a numerical readout of each instrument.

          This Sync 3 is neither skeumorphic nor an example of flat UI. It’s just bad design.

        • 0 avatar
          shaker

          Thanks – that’s the term.

          I’ve seen game software control panels that had simulated woodgrain surrounds, and flippable “toggle” switches (to keep in the game “world”) – to me, that’s skeumorphism.

          By “Flat”, I meant the lack of gradients/shadows on the “buttons” and onscreen elements; just pure color.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      It kind of looks like the UI on a Verizon RAZR.

  • avatar
    rockets

    Sync, Schmync. How ’bout a decent engine instead? Or do we have to wait for the 2019 re-do?

    • 0 avatar

      Which engine do you have issue with? Between Escape and Fiesta there are 5 engines available. I have the least powerful of the group and can’t complain.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t think a Ford diesel is necessary. I do like the EcoBoost engines (even the 1.0-liter).

        That said, I drive my friend’s 2015 Mustang EcoBoost Premium sometimes, and I was just getting used to MyFord Touch. Except for the rare glitch, it’s a polished, capable system that’s nowhere near as low-rent as the one in my new Golf. And it’s not hard to use either; I don’t understand why it’s being scrapped.

        • 0 avatar
          derekson

          Fortunately VW is finally entering this decade with decent infotainment on the 2016 models. Honestly I’d be pretty annoyed if I had just bought a 2015 model with the outdated system they have.

  • avatar
    mikedt

    I’m not a Luddite in that I like tech, i.e. fancy phones, high end audio, gps etc. But I do not like technology that changes at the drop of a hat baked in to an item I’m going to keep for years and years. All these fully integrated whiz-bang setups are great for people who lease. But 3 years down the road when something goes wrong in the head unit you’ll be looking at a replacement cost that will make a new engine seem inexpensive. Much further down the road, you’ll be lucky if you can get it fixed at all.

    Unfortunately many companies are making it hard to avoid this crap. Don’t want our $2000 fully integrated driver input device? Then you must want our base level punishment trim car.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “Then you must want our base level punishment trim car.”

      Just be over 55 and you’d never call any current trim level “punishment”. It’s a wonderful immunity come purchase time.

      You’ll be the same way… “Well, I like the price on this one and I don’t *need* a food synthesizer.”

  • avatar
    johnny_5.0

    I’ll just repost my comment from last February. And AppLink isn’t new, it’s even been on the basic SYNC versions of some models for years. The big news that isn’t even mentioned is that SYNC 3 brings Android Auto/Apple CarPlay integration. Both of them will likely take a collective dump on the poor software/UX that manufacturers have been foisting upon the buying public for years.

    ===
    Rabble rabble boo hiss Microsoft!!! I expected slightly better investigative work from TTAC. While the internet at large loves to dump on Microsoft, they _did not_ develop MyFordTouch. Microsoft developed Sync, and MFT is built on top of the Windows Embedded Automotive core, but the actual MFT layer was outsourced to a company called BSQUARE Corp with disastrous results. Other manufacturers successfully used all of the Microsoft bits to build non-buggy infotainment systems. You can do better TTAC.
    ===

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    I have a C-Max with second generation MyFordTouch. It was never too bad, but after the 2013 software update, problems with MFT have been infrequent and easily solved. I appreciate the functionality and am glad I have it, but I don’t think my 78 year-old mother would get along with it too well. What bothers me about infotainment systems in general, and not just MyFordTouch, is that when the rest of the car is going strong 10+ years from now, what will be the status of the computer system? If anyone out there is a would-be entrepreneur, I urge you to start a comprehensive aftermarket infotainment systems company, so I can replace my 2013 system in 2023 with something whiz-bang.

  • avatar
    MisterScott

    As a Ford fan with two of their most expensive trucks in my driveway it is a good thing they rolling this out on the Fiesta. Cue eye roll.

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