Hands-On With Ford’s New Sync 3 Infotainment System

A complete redesign, for the better.

Customers and critics alike have long moaned about one downfall in modern Ford vehicles: The frustrating and balky Sync and MyFord Touch infotainment systems. After Ford's ratings fell in customer quality surveys over concerns about the system, Ford rolled out various updates to the infotainment software, before finally wholly rethinking the interface with a new version called Sync 3. With Sync 3, Ford has not just simply redesigned the Sync system, but created a responsive and useable infotainment interface that eliminates nearly all woes that plagued the older systems.

Sync 3 is considerably easier to use than the old MyFord touch interface thanks to a totally revised interface. A new black-on-white color scheme makes it easier to read and find menus, while a baby-blue background is softer on the eyes. Gone is the four-corner layout of buttons to select from the system's various modes. Now, a single bar at the bottom of the screen allows users to jump to the Audio, Climate, Phone, Nav, Apps, and Settings functions. The home screen is refreshingly simple and readable as well, with a three-panel layout. On the right, a top panel displays current audio information, while the bottom panel is a quick-access button for the phone, which has icons for pertinent notifications and data, including battery life, signal strength, and message notifications. A single, large panel on the left displays the current navigation route and map.

One press of the screen, and I noticed the immediate improvement in response. Switching between the audio and the navigation screen is no longer a hair-pulling experience when you need to display the instructions for an upcoming exit or turn in your route. Gone are the slow, jumpy transitions between display modes, as Sync 3 now switches between functions nearly instantly.

The new app support is slick as well. Ford has forged partnerships with a multitude of app developers with its new AppLink integraton, including Spotify, iHeartRadio, and AccuWeather. Data is pulled a smartphone plugged into the USB port, allowing for seamless, on-screen operation of music apps on your phone. Spotify playlists and stations are easily accessible through the on-screen controls, for instance. Ford wants to ensure drivers pay attention to the road, so when apps are used through Sync, the phone doesn't allow owners to use the app on the phone itself.

Interested in Sync 3? Right now, the 2016 Ford Edge is the only vehicle in the lineup, but Sync 3 will be available for other Ford vehicles, including the Fiesta and Escape.

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