In 2007, Ford showed off a new way of connecting phones and music devices to its cars. Named Sync, the technology let drivers use voice commands to place calls and request specific music. Now, Ford comes out with a new generation of the technology, offering a fast, clean touchscreen interface with new app integrations.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
1
of 24

Ford will initially roll out Sync 3 in its 2016 Escape SUV and the compact Fiesta, with other models to follow as updates occur. Some models will get an 8-inch touchscreen while others will use a 6.5-inch touchscreen.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
2
of 24

Although Ford has not specified options and availability, CNET tested Sync 3 in an Escape Titanium, a high trim level where the technology will likely come standard.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
3
of 24

Along with completely rewritten software and a new interface, Sync 3 relies on new hardware, including a capacitive touchscreen, which makes for better response times, and a Texas Instruments dual-core OMAP5 CPU.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
4
of 24

Many actions in Sync 3 can be accomplished through voice command. Ford also adds Siri Eyes Free, which passes commands through to an iPhone when the driver gives the voice command button a long press.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
5
of 24

The home screen, accessible by pushing the home button at the top of the screen, shows navigation on the left side and two cards on the right, with audio on top and phone status on the bottom.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
6
of 24

Pushing the voice command button on the steering wheel brings up this helper screen, showing some of the commands you can give the system.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
7
of 24

Maps show in perspective and plan views. Zoomed in with perspective view, the system also shows 3D-rendered buildings.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
8
of 24

The Destination screen is one of the more information-heavy in the system, but even so the design looks clean, with buttons sized to reflect importance.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
9
of 24

The destination search screen allows a free-form search through the points-of-interest database and the option to enter street addresses.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
10
of 24

Although Sync 3 currently lacks online destination search, the POI database includes useful information about destinations, including a rating.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
11
of 24

The More Info button leads to a text description of a business or location, along with opening hours, if available.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
12
of 24

Route guidance takes a split-screen approach, showing upcoming turns in detail.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
13
of 24

The previous generation of Sync included app integration, but it was non-visual. Ford is launching the Sync 3 with visual AppLink. Shown here are three third-party apps running on a connected phone, along with Sirius Travel Link information.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
14
of 24

Sirius Travel Link includes fuel prices, movie times, traffic and other data, all tied into the navigation system.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
15
of 24

iPhones must be cabled to the car to run AppLink, while Android phones work through a Bluetooth connection.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
16
of 24

The Glympse app lets you send your current location and movements to friends and family, with a specified time limit. The Sync 3 interface for the app includes large, easy-to-use buttons.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
17
of 24

Audio source buttons are big and easy to read in Sync 3, designed to be safer to use while driving.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
18
of 24

Sync 3 includes HD Radio.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
19
of 24

The audio playback screen for a USB-connected phone or drive shows album art and buttons to control playback or browse the device's music library.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
20
of 24

The Spotify inteface, enabled through AppLink, looks similar to the USB playback screen, letting drivers more safely move from source to source.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
21
of 24

Sync 3 offers a deeper level of menus for Spotify, with access to previously programmed radio stations and favorite artists.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
22
of 24

The Pandora interface adds buttons to give tracks a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, along with access to your own list of stations.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
23
of 24

The hands-free phone system screen gives access to the contact database, recent calls and a manual phone dialer. The message function only works with a few phones, and drivers can also access Siri Eyes Free from this menu.

Published:Caption:Photo:Wayne Cunningham/CNETRead the article
24
of 24
Up Next

How to connect an Android phone to your car with Bluetooth