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The Fiesta's new MyFord Touch implementation
New system gets better software and a larger touchscreen

Ford hasn't had the best of luck implementing infotainment systems in its automotive lineup. Specifically, the automaker's MyFord Touch continues to hurt the company's customer satisfaction ratings due to the complexity of the system and the difficult-to-use nature of the design while driving.

In October, Consumer Reports Reliability Survey Ford ranked 27 out of 28 with much of the blame for the significant drop in rank attributed to the MyFord Touch system.
Ford has now announced that the 2014 Fiesta will get an improved MyFord Touch system. Improvements in the system will bring more natural voice recognition, better navigation, improved Bluetooth pairing, and a 6.5” touchscreen according to Ford (the display used in current Fiesta vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch measures 4”).

“Technology features are important to all of our customers including small car buyers, and MyFord Touch continues to drive up purchase consideration of our vehicles,” says Michelle Moody, Ford cross-vehicle marketing manager. “MyFord Touch is appealing to customers, as it consistently ranks among the top 10 purchase considerations with new owners. We’re excited to bring it to the small car segment, where it will really help Fiesta stand out from the crowd.”

Some of the improved voice commands for the Sync system include better natural voice-recognition allowing drivers to simply say "Play Jazz" rather than "Play genre jazz" as was required in the past. Overall voice-recognition performance is improved by upgrading the system to the latest version of nuances speech software called VoCon 3200.

2014 Ford Fiesta

Voice commands have also been flattened to remove some words required to control the audio system. Drivers will be able to tune into station such as Sirius Hits 1 by saying "Hits 1" rather than having to say "Sirius" then "Hits 1". The navigation system has also been improved to make it easier to enter addresses among other things.

“We are seeing strong brand lift from MyFord Touch amongst in-market shoppers, with 65 percent of those intending to purchase a vehicle reporting SYNC definitely plays a role in their purchase consideration,” says Moody. “Take rates for MyFord Touch on new vehicle orders, such as the 2013 Escape and Fusion, continue to outpace our internal projections. We expect the same trend for Fiesta.”

Source: Ford

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Available without?
By Flunk on 11/26/2012 10:09:57 AM , Rating: -1
I hope this car is still available without this junk. They're going to lose a lot of sales otherwise. People do not want to be messing around with touchscreens while driving.

RE: Available without?
By tayb on 11/26/2012 10:26:53 AM , Rating: 2
Customer satisfaction surveys from the blowhards at CR don't seem to have hurt Ford's reputation or sales thus far. There is probably an age gap problem more than anything where older drivers are far more likely to complain.

The MyFord Touch system is optional on almost every single vehicle sold. Even the brand new 2013 Fusion with the luxury package does not come with MyFord Touch Standard. There is no way this $2,800 luxury option is standard on the low end Fiesta. I'm surprised it's even an option, actually.

RE: Available without?
By alpha754293 on 11/26/2012 10:44:23 AM , Rating: 2
I test drove the 2013 Fusion with MyTouch SYNC and it doesn't always really quite work, especially when trying to make a call to someone on my iPhone contacts list.

And there's also so much gadgetry right now in cars (such as this) that if you've ever spent like a few minutes to half an hour driving around while trying to work the system, it'd be a freakin' miracle if you don't hit SOMETHING or SOMEONE along the way.

And it isn't an age gap thing either. (Some of it might be), but if it was more "natural", rather than catering your speech to the system (instead of you teaching the system to understand natural language, the system is really teaching you how to talk like a robot), the system would definitely be easier to operate.

RE: Available without?
By Dr of crap on 11/26/2012 10:50:09 AM , Rating: 2
You won't have to try and find things now.
The screen size increased to 6" making it easier to use!

< That was sarcasm by the way. >

RE: Available without?
By KC7SWH on 11/26/2012 1:33:28 PM , Rating: 3
But that extra 2.5" in size is sure to make the wife happy. :)

RE: Available without?
By name99 on 11/26/2012 1:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I thought this was a ridiculous response.

(a) The CONSTANT complaint against the system is the fact that it's a touchscreen. So they change a bunch of other things but leave the touchscreen in place?

(b) What's the software upgrade path for users with older cars? Nothing? So basically they'll be treated like Windows Phone 7 users? Ahh, MS, good luck with your strategy of screwing over every person who ever comes in contact with your software...
(And you'll notice that after MS announced the mythical WP7.8 they never said a word about it again. Windows 8 is here, but no WP7.8 date has even been floated.)

RE: Available without?
By JediJeb on 11/26/2012 1:41:11 PM , Rating: 1
Interesting how not long ago most auto makers were moving the audio controls to the steering wheel to prevent distraction from reaching for them on the dash, now we are putting a non-tactile interface in the place of the remaining controls that will pull even more attention away from driving.

If you get frustrated when the voice recognition fails and begin looking to the touch screen to adjust the audio or heat/AC how would that be reducing distracted driving? We are failing at keeping people from being distracted while talking on their phones, now we will have them arguing with their cars too.

" What are you doing Dave?"
" I can not allow you to do that Dave."
Dave mumbles something about idiot cars as he yanks the touchscreen out of the dash.

RE: Available without?
By Dr of crap on 11/27/2012 8:56:19 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, your correct.
But the car makers will not even mention or respond to that.

Make it easy and a one time try to get things done, instead of a mulitple try at getting something to respond, but your not hitting the screen in the right place!

That's a step forward - huh!

RE: Available without?
By cyberguyz on 11/27/2012 7:01:27 AM , Rating: 2
While I am driving a 2013 Focus Titanium rather than the Fiesta for a couple months now and can share some of my insights with you regarding MFT/Sync:

First some upsides:

1. I have the huge 8" touchscreen. But I don't have to use it for most things. Most common controls (radio, hvac, etc) are available as buttons either on the steering wheel or the console.

2. Ford emphasizes to NOT use the touchscreen while driving. in fact some things are locked out unless the car is stopped and in park (which can be annoying to those with passengers who could do that). Instead they emphasize that you use voice commands whenever you drive to keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel.

3. Having two decent sized LCD screens on my compact car appeals to my inner geek.

Now for the downsides:

1. The touch screen is almost impossible to use when wearing gloves. Its sensitivity sucks. You find yourself having to poke at a hotspot several times to get the 'touch' to register. Not sure this can be fixed with some calibration, but it is annoying.

2. Understanding of voice commands pretty much sucks hard. Microsoft's speech recognition in sync is pretty shoddy. In the commercials, the girl in the car says "I'm hungry" and the car takes her to the nearest restaurant. Reality is that the car has no idea what "I'm hungry" means! It definitely does not work as advertised. But I can say "Sirius Howard 100" to turn on the radio and get to Howard Stearne's satellite channel. I have yet to get temperature control working.

3. That big ol' touchscreen sure is distracting.

Ford has some good ideas here. But they need a LOT more refinement to be useful.

"This week I got an iPhone. This weekend I got four chargers so I can keep it charged everywhere I go and a land line so I can actually make phone calls." -- Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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