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Ford technology gets overhaul

By Tara Baukus Mello · Bankrate.com
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

Car shoppers who've been hesitant about buying a new car from Ford or Lincoln due to the reports of the less-than-user-friendly MyFord Touch "infotainment" system (not to mention the new owners who've been grumbling) will be happy to hear Ford has announced that an improved system which is simpler to use will be arriving early next year.

MyFord Touch (called MyLincoln Touch in Lincoln vehicles), and the related Sync system are how the driver operates the car's climate control and audio systems as well as connects his or her personal cell phone to allow hands-free use. The system is operated by an 8-inch touch screen or voice commands.

In general, consumers are fans of these technologies, since they improve connectivity and reduce driver distraction, but Ford has been blasted with negative feedback about the system in consumer forums online as well as complaints to dealers.

In addition, earlier this year, it lost a Consumer Reports recommendation for the Ford Edge and the Lincoln MKX because of the low test scores that were a result of the new technology. The brand overall dropped dramatically in the reliability studies conducted by both J.D. Power and Associates and Consumer Reports specifically because of the MyFord Touch system as well as its new automatic transmissions.

Ford and Lincoln owners who have cars equipped with the system will receive a flash drive to upgrade MyFord Touch to the new version themselves. They can also visit a dealer for the free upgrade. The upgraded system includes redesigned touch screens to make them more intuitive and changes to both the voice recognition and virtual "buttons," making them respond more quickly.

Fords and Lincolns equipped with the system will automatically get the new-and-improved version for the 2013 model year. Dealers will upgrade the systems in 2012 model year cars that have not yet been sold.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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