August 24, 2012 by powerblocktv, Consumer Reports, Ford, MyTouch
As automakers strive to improve technology in their vehicles, one company is learning that it’s coming back to bite them.
In an article from Consumer Reports, they say that Ford’s MyTouch system is frustrating and distracting.
There are various versions of the system, and they get worse as they get more advanced and expensive, Consumer Reports says.
Here is a specific list problems they point out in their story:
• The flush, touch-sensitive buttons on the dashboard below the screen are maddeningly fussy and can be hard to distinguish. You can’t just feel for them; you need to look directly at them to tap the right spot. Once we finally found and pressed the one we wanted, it frequently didn’t register or actuated multiple times. Sometimes you have to press hard. And this is supposed to be the simplest way to make control inputs.
• In some models, such as the 2013 Ford Taurus and Lincoln MKS, the dashboard screen is a long reach on top of the sloping console, which flies in the face of the whole “touch” concept. In the new 2013 Escape, it’s recessed in a binnacle that makes the corners of the screen hard to see or reach. Those corners are important because they select main functions like climate and audio. And the screens themselves are poorly designed for drivers. Despite some recent updates that brought marginal improvements, all have small fonts that are difficult to read quickly, and some pages are cluttered with too many buttons. And that makes it hard to quickly identify and touch the right one.
• The seek and tune buttons in the Sony version of MyFord Touch can change the station accidentally when your fingers get near them to turn the volume knob. The “sliders” in MyLincoln Touch are difficult to grasp and fine tune.
• Other than an analog speedometer, all the gauges are digital and can be arrayed in a seemingly infinite variety via two four-way touch pads on the steering-wheel, even on the fly. Screens flanking the speedometer can also select things like radio presets and climate settings. But even these menus are really involved and distracting to use while you’re driving. And unlike the center screen, a passenger can’t work them for you. Some screens seem like overkill: Do you need to see your fuel economy displayed with multiple bar graphs, selectable for every five, 10, or 30 minutes? This system needs an editor.
• The voice commands are helpful for complicated inputs, like entering a destination in the navigation system or choosing a playlist from a phone or an iPod. But using them for basic commands, such as temperature or radio tuning, is time consuming and cumbersome. It feels like a Band-Aid for the car’s poorly designed physical controls.
Is it possible that the technology is too advances for users at this time? Maybe. According to Consumer Reports, their frustration with MyFord Touch has hammered many Ford models’ test scores to a level below their threshold to recommend a model, and they wouldn’t recommend dealing with the frustrations of the technology on a daily basis.