Featured: Hands On with Ford SYNC 3



Written by: Calvin Chan

Photography by: Calvin Chan

 



In-car infotainment systems have always been a tricky feat. There are many systems like FCA’s UConnect system and BMW’s iDrive system that we highly praise and recommend to consumers, but then there are ones like Cadillac’s CUE system and Honda’s redundant dual-screen setup that drives us insane. And here comes Ford, introducing their all-new SYNC 3 system that promises to deliver a more ergonomically friendly experience with larger buttons and a reduced learning curve. We had a chance to go hands-on with their new SYNC 3 system inside a 2016 Ford Escape and search through all the nooks and crannies of this new interface.

 


My first impressions were good. It’s a welcome update and a big step up from the four-corner menu screen from SYNC 2. Ford’s main focus was making the interface not only understandable for technology-laden individuals around 20 to 30 years old, but also making it accessible for seniors alike. One of the biggest changes is the faster and more responsive touchscreen. Whereas SYNC 2 would take it’s time loading the menu and buttons, this new system proves to be quicker and more efficient. The menus are simpler, the buttons are much larger, and the colour contrasts are well done.


What also stood out was the enhanced voice recognition system. It works incredibly well and it recognized almost any word we shouted or muttered. No longer do you have to sit there and enter your friend’s address into the Navigation screen – now you can just hit the voice recognition button and read the entire line. It only takes a few seconds, and can be done in the midst of driving.

 


My personal favourite was the ability to link it up with your iPhone and use Siri with the SYNC 3 system. Simply hold the voice button on the steering wheel, and Siri will pop up for any questions you might have. Our Ford PR asked, “what was the score of the Blue Jays game last night?” and Siri took only a moment to oblige and fired away the stats through the car’s multiple speakers.


There were also a bundle of apps integrated into the SYNC 3 system, and while there was only a handful to choose from at the time of launch, we were able to access Sirius XM Radio, Spotify, Glympse, and also check the weather.

 


The main focus here was accessibility and usability. After three years of hard research and listening to customer feedback, I think Ford has finally hit the home run with this beautifully lit infotainment system. Our experience with the SYNC 3 system was short-lived, but with the new system currently rolling out on the 2016 Ford Escape, 2016 Ford Fiesta, and 2016 Lincoln MKC, I’m left with nothing but optimistic thoughts.  

 

 

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