Ford unveiled today an updated version of the MyFord Touch, which promises to show simpler graphics but will also be faster than the current version. Set to make its debut on the 2013 Ford Escape, Flex and Taurus, the new MyFord Touch will also be offered at no charge to existing MyFord Touch owners, offering support for tablet devices and Audible.com audiobooks, improved navigation maps and enhanced voice recognition interaction.
As you may know already, Consumer Reports refused to recommend the current MyFord Touch due to the fact that the system is too complicated and can distract drivers.
As a result, the new MyFord Touch shows simpler graphics with larger, bolder fonts, removing low-priority visual content. As we said, all the new goodies will be offered for the 2011 and 2012 models of Ford Explorer and Edge and the 2012 Focus. Owners of 2011 and 2012 Lincoln MKX crossovers will also receive the upgrade for their MyLincoln Touch systems.
“We’re seizing the opportunity to continuously improve the Ford ownership experience, and revolutionize what it means to own a car,” said Reitz. “Introducing new technology is only one step in our journey to become known as a technology company. Consistently improving it based on what our customers are telling us marks another milestone in that journey.”
Also, the software upgrade includes the following enhancements: • Improved voice recognition experience powered by Nuance • Quicker voice recognition upon startup and faster command prompt when the voice button is pushed • Voice commands used in conjunction with navigation are simplified through elimination of the need to provide street direction, e.g., “Main Street” instead of “North Main Street” • Music requests are simpler by removing the need to include the additional song, album or artist information often found at the end of a name in parenthesis or brackets • Customers can find their favorite sports team in action via new Sirius Game Finder simply by saying a command such as “Tune to Detroit Lions game” • Tablet device compatibility • Music and other media content from most popular tablet computers like the Apple iPad can now be accessed through a simple USB connection • Audible.com audiobook support • Listen to Audible.com content using voice commands or the easy-to-use touch-screen controls • Connected navigation powered by TeleNav features new map data by NAVTEQ • Updated map views are richer and feature more 3D landmarks • Views of freeway junctions and signs are enhanced through photorealistic screen images • Smart routing options are provided based on a database of historical traffic patterns • Phone compatibility • Automatic Bluetooth® connection upon vehicle entry has been improved • Noise and echo cancellation during phone calls has been improved to enhance call quality • Gracenote® album cover art database • Inclusion of the latest music metadata available enhancing the music playback experience • Improved voice recognition for music search allowing drivers to pinpoint artists with hard-to-pronounce names or nicknames.
With the Escape, Ford hopes that it will be able to meet customers’ expectations of an SUV that is versatile and offers the needed cargo capacity. It will even have a design that is sports-inspired, another requirement from most customers. That is not all as according to Global Craftsmanship Manager Peter Bejin, once customers get a closer look, they are sure to love it even more. Helping highlight the interior is the use of enhanced materials coupled with masterful execution. The door armrests for instance come wrapped, then padded, and finally stitched.
Its console armrests meanwhile have deep padding. The instrument panel offers a soft touch and the upper roll on the doors are soft as well. The once exposed fasteners on both the glove box as well as the sun visor pivots have been removed. Ford will be offering the sports seats to have leather trimming with piping on its bolster area and have contrast stitching.
Bejin added that the company’s designers managed to make a vehicle that was not only well-proportioned but looks excellent from even as far as 20 feet. He continued by saying that the company remained committed to delivering on its promise of showing craftsmanship on the design. The idea is once customers go near the new Escape, open the door, sit and then start to interact, they will feel the same whether they are 1 mm, an inch, or even 2 feet away, Bejin said. In terms of design, the new Escape is in line with the principle of function following form.
This is because the sleeker design results in this new model having cargo volume that is larger than the previous version. The space at the back of the first row for instance stands at 68.1 cubic feet with the ones behind its second row at 34.3 cubic feet. However the Kuga variant is longer compared to the present model which means there is extra space for the luggage.
Ford also reduced the weight of the seats and this enhances the convenience experienced by the customer. Overall, the structure of the seat had its weight lowered by as much as 3 pounds. In addition, more functionality has been put on the seats like the two-way power lumbar support and the two-way power recline. Of course, the six-way adjustability is still there. Ford will also be offering a sport seat which comes with its unique sew style and has higher bolsters. For the first time, the head restraint in the front seat will offer 4-way adjustability.
Its head restraints, as well as the rear seats, are composed of foam based on soy and improved in order to ensure easier folding. Design executive director of Europe, Asia Pacific and Africa Martin Smith shares that the sporty appearance of the Escape is no accident.
With the new Escape, he adds, the company wanted it to have the impression of an athlete similar to a swimmer or runner, all the way to the highly defined muscles that exhibit energy and movement. This new offering from Ford will be sold in North America as the Escape although it will be released as a Kuga in a number of other markets worldwide.