Ford's new Sync 3 infotainment system is a vast improvement over its predecessor, with quick response times for touchscreen input and very usable menus designed to minimize distraction. Sync 3 also supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

The example shown here is from a Ford Escape, but Sync 3 is now available on the majority of new Ford vehicles.

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

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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.

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

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

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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. Program in your home and work addresses, and it will automatically show you the time to those locations, taking traffic into account.

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

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Results based on a keyword come up quickly, as the search engine queries against an onboard database.

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The navigation menu gives further options to customize routes, along with the all-important Cancel Route button.

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Audio source buttons are big and easy to read in Sync 3, designed to be safer to use while driving. Here you can also see support for Spotify, as part of AppLink.

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Sync 3 includes HD Radio.

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The satellite radio screen shows a format similar to the broadcast radio screen.

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Sync 3 supports Bluetooth streaming audio and shows album art, but does not let you search a paired phone's music library.

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Sync 3's AppLink feature supports Spotify and other music apps.

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The Spotify menu lets you view your favorite artists and channels.

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Sync 3 integrates three channel equalizer controls for the car's audio system.

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

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AppLink supports a growing list of third-party apps that, when running on your smartphone, can be accessed on the touchscreen. Ford also puts Sirius Travel Link, a collection of data from satellite radio, under the apps menu.

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

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The fuel prices list not only shows the per-gallon price, but also gives one-touch navigation to each gas station.

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Ford also integrates climate controls into the Sync 3 interface, but climate can also be accessed through buttons and dials on the car's dashboard.

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Digging further into Sync 3, you can find settings for Ford's 911 Assist feature, which automatically uses your phone to dial 911 if it senses a collision.

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Sync 3 supports a Wi-Fi network, although you will need to plug your own data modem into its USB port.

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Android Auto, now supported by Sync 3, shows predictive tiles on its homescreen. It requires an Android phone to be plugged into a USB port.

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Apple CarPlay shows its colorful icon-based homescreen on the Sync 3 display.

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Additional third-party apps show up on a second screen.

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When running Apple CarPlay on Sync 3, you are locked into Apple Maps for navigation and cannot access the car's native navigation system.

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Ford has a new app launching on April 28, 2016, called FordPass. This app lets you view the status of your car and remotely control some of its functions, as long as you also have the Ford Connect data modem built into the car.

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Tapping buttons on FordPass, you can remotely lock and unlock the doors, or start the engine.

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FordPass also lets you see how full your tank is, and view your car's location on a map.

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