Why You Might Want To Hold Off On Buying A New Ford For A Bit

Illustration for article titled Why You Might Want To Hold Off On Buying A New Ford For A Bit

If you visit your friendly neighborhood Ford dealer right now, you can get your hands on any number of fun cars, like the 2015 Ford Mustang or the 2015 Ford Fiesta ST. (They have SUVs and stuff too if you lost that argument with your spouse.) What you won’t get is Sync 3, the long-awaited replacement for the hated MyFordTouch infotainment system, until later this summer.

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Sync3 won’t arrive until the 2016 model year vehicles start hitting dealer lots, which is expected to happen with the Edge and other nameplates in the coming months. The entire Ford lineup won’t fully switch to Sync3 until the end of next year. And no, you can’t upgrade to it if you bought a car with MyFordTouch.

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So should you hold off a while if you’re in the market for a new Ford? That’s the gist of this Automotive News story. If you wait, you’ll be paying the same price for what is said to be a much better infotainment system:

“It’s going to be a big change that makes the car considerably less frustrating,” said Tom Mutchler, a senior automotive engineer with Consumer Reports, which has long criticized MyFord Touch. “If more consumers knew the improvement that Sync 3 was going to provide, they would wait a few months.”

It’s an awkward situation sure to become more common as automakers rush to pack their instrument panels full of the latest technology. Waiting to make updates at the next natural break in a product’s life cycle risks losing sales to competitors, but adding features as soon as possible means existing vehicles become dated faster.

It’s true that MyFordTouch got better over its run. Newer versions of the system were quicker, more responsive and better at pairing with users’ smartphones. But it was still clunky in terms of layout, and prone to problems.

Just recently in a 2015 Expedition (reminder: Ford still makes the Expedition) I tried to bring up a list of satellite radio stations only to have the system hang until I switched off the engine. It’s a piece of engineering nobody will miss, least of all Ford, which took a huge hit to their reliability rankings over the system.

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If you’re looking to buy a new Ford, odds are you’ll be stuck with it for at least a few years, maybe much longer. Why not wait and get what has to be a better infotainment system? I haven’t used Sync3 yet, but anything’s an improvement over MyFordTouch. Hold off on your purchase until the new system is installed, and better yet, proven.

And if you’re stuck with MyFordTouch, sorry. Them’s the breaks.


Contact the author at patrick@jalopnik.com.

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DISCUSSION

eddiebrannan
Eddie Brannan

I have, as of Saturday, whatever version of this was in the 2013 Ford Flex Limited. It synced to my iPhone and my wife’s too with the greatest of ease, and since that is precisely all I wanted to do with it I was plenty happy, the more so since my previous car was a 1999 Audi where such things were unheard-of (I’d actually updated the head unit to a Bluetooth-equipped model so I’m exaggerating somewhat).

Just as an experiment though I tried to use the navigation once because I just wanted to see how it stacked up. Turns out it has this infuriating thing where when you’re typing in an address it greys out the letter options it doesn’t think you’ll need and it doesn’t let you override this, so for instance if you had typed in HIGHW all but A would be grayed out. Thing is it doesn’t always get it right and you’ve laboriously typed in STATE RO on a non-QWERTY keyboard and the goddam U is grayed out!! At this point I’d already separately entered state [hit enter], street number [hit enter] so I was on the third screen in at this point. Picked up my iPhone, launched Google Maps, started typing in the business name, and by the fourth letter it was prompting the correct location. That nav will never ever get used again.

Now all I use that screen for is to scroll through to Bluetooth iPhone and for the back-up cam. All you need in this day and age.