2014 Ford Fusion: We test its Stand-Out MyFord Touch vs Camry, Sonata, Accord & Mazda6
When the Ford SYNC multimedia first debuted over six years ago, it was a huge step forward for in-car tech in general, even if it did have its bugs. We weren’t too keen on using it either, but Ford has improved on it over the years. SYNC is now part of an all-encompassing system called MyFord Touch, and we’re going to see if it’s still at the forefront of in-car infotainment, as we pitch the all-new 2014 Ford Fusion against rivals such as the Toyota Camry, the Hyundai Sonata, the Honda Accord and the Mazda 6.
The MyFord Touch system boasts a large 8-inch LCD touchscreen that sits in the middle of the dashboard. Two smaller 4.2-inch LCD screens flank the central speedometer in the gauge cluster, controlled by a pair of five-way button-pads on either side of the steering wheel. All three screens are bright and colourful, with sharp fonts and clean graphics.
Numerous other dashboard and additional steering-wheel buttons also control various aspects of the system. And within the central armrest are two USB ports, an SD card slot, an AUX port, and a set of composite audio/video jacks.
To put it in perspective, let’s take a look at rival offerings. The Toyota Camry has a factory-fitted 6.1-inch or 7-inch touchscreen, depending on model, with basic graphics and very little colour, even though it’s a capable decent-resolution display, and we like the shortcut buttons along the sides. The top-spec Hyundai Sonata’s system is a mish-mash of ideas from other manufacturers, using a simplistic colour palette similar to Toyota and control-buttons below it similar to Nissan. The Honda Accord has a unique two-screen system, where an 8-inch touchscreen on top is controlled by a smaller touchscreen below as well as a rotary-dial controller below that, all a very good idea, but can be a bit confusing in actual use, as you wonder which screen holds which controls, made even more annoying by slow response times. And the Mazda 6 has a small 5.8-inch touchscreen, with small fonts, basic colours and sluggish response.
All the cars have Bluetooth phone and streaming audio functionality to go with their CD/MP3 stereos. However, only the Fusion can display album covers from your iPod on the car’s screen, aside from a whole barrage of other things that Ford’s SYNC can do via voice commands that the other cars can’t do.
Ford has listened to criticism regarding previous iterations of SYNC and has upgraded the system significantly. It’s most obvious in the user interface, which now features larger fonts, clearer icons and streamlined menus. Getting around the MyFord Touch interface is now more intuitive, once you figure out that the main screen is divided into four colour-coded quadrants, offering quick access to basic entertainment and climate-control features without having to switch screens. And you can customise the main screen any way you like, with different wallpapers even.
The full-colour dual screens in the gauge cluster are customisable as well. Using the steering buttons, you can swap out the digital tachometer on the left LCD for a variety of other gauges, such as trip computer functions, aside from other settings. On the right LCD, you can switch through settings for the audio, climate control and several other functions, all without the hands leaving the wheel. Even more expensive cars don’t have this level of fingertip control. And to top it all, the language can be changed to Arabic as well, although this is only available for the gauge-cluster screens.
There is a very basic navigation system installed in the Fusion, unrelated to the SYNC system although it uses the same central touchscreen.
Of course, SYNC’s most hyped feature has always been its voice controls. Early versions never worked right, but we were surprised how well it understood our accents this time around, much better than the rudimentary voice-command features offered by the above-mentioned rivals. You can control the selection of music tracks, artists, albums and even genres on a USB player, a radio station, the volume level, phone-dialling commands, contact names and even the a/c temperature via voice commands. A list of commands appears on the screen, but once you get to know the common commands, you won’t need to read them off the screen any more. Anyway, when you don’t know what command to use while driving, you just say “what can I say?” and the system will read to you the commands that are available for a particular function.
Also, depending on your phone’s capabilities, SYNC can read SMS text messages out loud, and you can reply with generic messages using voice recognition, such as “I’m driving” or “I’ll call you later” among others.
The Ford Fusion truly has one of the most advanced in-car infotainment systems around, better than what is offered in most luxury cars. Features such as three customisable screens and extensive voice control in an affordable midsize sedan make the Ford Fusion a stand-out in its segment.
I dont see it selling like old model….It was launched back in March, till now, I have seen only 1 vehicle on road, that too only once….
Is it due to high price ford has set for fusion or people are not liking it??