Ford’s SYNC/MyFord Touch system has been a bit of a bust, as there have been numerous complaints about it being finicky, and in some cases, not working at all. Well, that may soon come to an end, as Ford has announced that its new Sync 3 will debut in the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta.

As the proud owner of a Ford Focus ST3, my car has Sync/MyFord Touch, and I can say many of the issues reported are very much true. Sure, it broke the mold when it debuted in 2007, but the growing complaints are deafening. Some of my main complaints include the counterintuitive button placement on the touchscreen, the touchscreen sometimes doesn’t pick up your input, it’s slow to respond, and it’s downright buggy. However, the voice control is actually fairly decent, all things considered.

The new Sync 3 promises to deliver where the existing system failed, and build upon some of its better points. Some of the new features include a simpler voice-command structure, improved AppLink to automatically detect smartphones and their apps, Siri Eyes-Free integration with the iPhone, an all-new, quicker-responding captive touchscreen, response to smartphone gestures, tile-like icons with a quick-access tray on the bottom, and updates via Wi-Fi (no more flash drives for updates, yay!).

You can see a preview of the new and improved Sync 3 in the video above. I must say, it looks like a dramatic upgrade over the current system, but the current Sync system looked great at first too. Only time will tell if Ford has actually improved up on the existing system or just slathered a little lipstick on that pig.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

As much as I complain about the Sync/MyFord Touch system in my Focus ST, it is useful once you have had plenty of time to learn all of its idiosyncrasies. You learn to plan things ahead of time, you deal with memorizing all the voice commands so as not to deal with the touchscreen, and you live with some of its bugs. However, no one should have to learn to live with this type of feature. It should just work. I can only hope that Ford took its time to thoroughly test the Sync 3 system before releasing it.

Ford Fiesta

2014 Ford Fiesta High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review here.

Ford Escape

2014 Ford Escape High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review here.

Press Release

Ford announced today its all-new SYNC® 3 technology debuts this summer in North America on the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta. The new communications and entertainment system is faster and easier to use with enhanced response to driver commands.

Sync 3 Will Debut in the 2016 Ford Fiesta and Escape Interior
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With the debut of SYNC 3 for Escape and Fiesta, Ford is launching its newest in-car connectivity technology as an option in one of its highest-volume vehicles, Escape, and in its most affordable car, Fiesta.

“SYNC always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel,” said Mark LaNeve, Ford Motor Company vice president, U.S. Marketing, Sales and Service. “Customers continue to tell us they want this technology, and they want it to be fast and easy to use – like a smartphone. SYNC 3 delivers on that request.”

SYNC 3 features all-new hardware and software, building on the capability of the industry-leading technology that launched in 2007. Ford SYNC is now in more than 12 million vehicles on the road globally. Click here to see SYNC 3 in action.

Sync 3 Will Debut in the 2016 Ford Fiesta and Escape Interior
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Easy-to-use voice recognition brings more capability

Ford SYNC – the industry’s first system to widely and most affordably offer voice-activated technology to control smartphones – is becoming more capable by minimizing the number of steps needed to carry out commands. Selecting music, making a call or searching for a destination is easier than ever, thanks to SYNC 3’s simpler command structure.

Ford was first to bring voice control to in-vehicle apps with AppLink™, and the experience is further improved with SYNC 3.

AppLink allows customers to connect their smartphone to their vehicle and control compatible apps using voice commands or buttons on the vehicle display screen.

AppLink automatically discovers smartphone apps including Spotify, Pandora, Glympse, NPR One and iHeart Auto (iHeartRadio’s automotive app), and displays each app’s unique graphics and branding. Music and news apps are automatically displayed along with other media sources – just like AM/FM or SiriusXM.

Additionally, when connected to an Apple iPhone, SYNC 3 offers seamless integration of Siri Eyes-Free capability. Drivers can seek Siri’s help by holding down SYNC’s Push to Talk steering wheel button – much as they would on an iPhone to initiate a Siri session.

Sync 3 Will Debut in the 2016 Ford Fiesta and Escape Interior
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Intuitive interface

SYNC 3 is optimized for hands-free use. Plus, the all-new capacitive touch screen technology offers an experience similar to a smartphone or tablet. Quicker response to touch, as well as voice commands and smartphone-like gestures including pinch-to-zoom and swipe are central to SYNC 3 – along with crisp, modern graphics.

On-screen complexity is reduced and control options used most are prioritized. The home screen features three zones – Navigation, Audio and Phone. Tile-like icons dominate, with a quick access function tray along the bottom making for a more straightforward user experience.

Phone contacts are searchable via a simple swipe of the finger to scroll through the alphabet. With One Box Search, users can look up points of interest or enter addresses in much the same way they use an Internet search engine.

Additional features, including subscription-free 911 Assist

As with earlier generations of the technology, SYNC 3 provides subscription-free emergency service 911 Assist®.

Sync 3 Will Debut in the 2016 Ford Fiesta and Escape Interior
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The customer’s Bluetooth-connected phone is used to dial 911 in the event of a significant accident – alerting first responders with vehicle location. With SYNC 3, the car relays additional information – including if airbags deploy, whether the crash is front, side, rear or rollover, and the number of safety belts detected in use – to help emergency call-takers dispatch appropriate resources to the scene.

SYNC 3 now also features the ability to update software via Wi-Fi. Once a vehicle is set up with credentials for a home Wi-Fi network accessible in a customer’s driveway or garage, it can automatically download updates.

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