Ford’s MyFord Touch system started out with great promise, but became a headache for customers, contributing to a drop in Ford’s rankings in customer satisfaction surveys. The system controls music, navigation, and climate control through voice commands and a touch screen. Ford may have finally corrected the problem with MyFord Touch 2.0, which rolls out today.
Ford and Lincoln customers with a current system will receive a flash drive with software upgrades in the mail; owners can install the new software themselves or have the dealer do it. The process takes about an hour. Ford spokesman Alan Hall said this is the largest update of its kind the company has ever done.
In addition to upgrading existing vehicles, MyFord Touch 2.0 and the fancier-sounding MyLincoln Touch 2.0 will be installed in most of Dearborn’s 2013 models, including the Ford Escape, Edge, and Taurus, and the Lincoln MKS and MKT.
Consumer Reports called the original MyFord Touch “a complicated distraction while driving,” and said that it was counter-intuitive for first-time users. Motor Trend said the system was fine for certain functions, but that adjusting the volume with a knob would have been easier than the series of voice commands required to do that task hands-free.
The new system was tested by 1,000 Ford employees in their personal vehicles and features some significant changes. The touch screen’s fonts are larger and easier to read, and the “buttons” have a 3D effect that Ford says will make them look more like actual controls.
The screen layout has also changed. The home screen has a larger clock and prioritizes important information. The audio screen has preset buttons, like on a regular radio. The navigation screen’s maps have more contrast, which should make them easier to read, and now include 3D landmarks.
Ford also improved the responsiveness of the touch screen, one of the main criticisms of the old system. It claims the new screen responds twice as quickly, which should eliminate the delay between pressing a button and getting a response that plagued MyFord Touch 1.0.
MyFord Touch 2.0’s voice recognition system will be able to follow simpler commands like “Find directions to…” which should make conversations with the soccer mom version of KITT shorter and less irritating.
Ford claims that, despite the negative reviews, orders for MyFord Touch-equipped cars are increasing. Orders for the Edge and Explorer have increased by five percent going into the new model year and, according to Automotive News, 72 percent of Edges and 79 percent of Explorers are ordered with MyFord Touch. If my MyFord Touch 2.0 can address the faults of the original, there is no reason why the number of orders won’t continue to rise.