CNET First Look
Ford Sync 3 improves search, apps and speedFord rolls out the newest generation of its Sync infotainment system this week. Get a hands-on look with CNET.
I'm here in the 2016 Ford Escape, not to look at the car, but to look at Ford's new infotainment system they call SYNC 3. This is the third generation of their infotainment system. The home screen here shows me a map up on the left side and information cards on the right. Audio at the top, phone at the bottom, plus I get a nice menu ribbon along the bottom here giving me quick access to the major functions of this system. Now Ford's challenge was to make this system more responsive than the previous one. So what they've got here is actually a capacitive touch screen. Plus there's a Texas Instruments OMAP5 dual core processor behind the scenes here, making this all work pretty well. When I hit the map side of the screen it opens up the full map. And as you can see it's pretty responsive. It works really well. In my destination screen I get this new search box here. This seems pretty cool. I can enter in an address Or any sort of search term. It will actually search it's own point of interest database and find what I'm looking for. And the cool thing is even though this is an online search, it actually includes information about a lot of the locations it has stored in here plus a rating. That's pretty cool. Now back to my home screen here. If I push this app button down here, I get some app linked apps that are actually integrated with the system. I see Glympse, Pandora, and Spotify. Those are all actually running on my phone which is connected to the USB port in the car. And the thing is, we get some audio sources and Glympse let's me send my current location to my friends. Portal will be adding new apps to the system as they become compatible. When I go to my phone screen here, you can see the Siri button in the upper righthand corner. I can activate Siri through that or a long push on the voice command button on the steering wheel, and that will pass through my voice command to Siri on my phone that's plugged into the car's USB port right now. But if I ask Siri for a destination, it's actually going to use the navigation system on the phone. Not the one made of in here. If I just give the voice command button a short press, then I get my local voice command which controls this actual system here. You'll be able to get Sync 3 in the new Ford Escape, this eight-inch touchscreen, or in the new Ford Fiesta with a 6.5 inch touch screen. Ford will be ruling this system out in other models as it updates them. Ford tells me that sometime in the future they'll be operating Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as part of the system, although they haven't specified when. Fortunately, if you already have the car, you can update it wirelessly. You can connect the car to your home Wi-Fi network. And [UNKNOWN] an update to sync and update the system. So, there isn't anything really revolutionary in here, nothing that catapults forward ahead of the competition, but it certainly keeps them updated. It's a good system and I like what I've seen so far. [MUSIC]