I am a Lincoln owner who owned a 2008 MKX with the excellent previous generation Sync and who has now lived with the Lincoln My Touch sync system for about a month. I have been a tech enthusiast for more than three decades and I have been in the tech industry for half of that time. I am writing this review for no other reason but in the hopes of helping to motivate Ford to fully rectify the problems customers are having.
It has been a severely disappointing experience using the MyLincoln Touch system in my 2011 MKX. Even more distressing is the fact that most of these issues relate to functionality that existed and worked perfectly in the previous generation of Sync. Aside from the frustration I feel in purchasing a flawed $50k car where the flaws are so clearly the result of overzealous and unstructured engineering and/or poor corporate execution, Ford should be concerned...very concerned. Why? Because the system they originally designed and advertised to reduce driver distraction and accident potential is now a very clear contributor to both of those. Ford should fix this system … and fast... before accidents start being attributed to the system and the law suits start rolling in. Moreover, such circumstances would clearly be a major setback for all manufacturers implementing in-car technology. I applaud Ford for being at the cutting edge of vehicle technology, but there is simply no excuse for such a flawed system having been delivered to customers.
1) TOTAL SYSTEM CRASH: The entire sync system has crashed twice now. Screen goes dead. No access to radio, navigation, heating and AC, or anything else. The only way to resolve this issue is turn the car off and on? Isn't that great when you are on a highway! When it turns on, it says "Microsoft - Performing scheduled maintenance" for about 2 minutes before it gives me access to the system.
2) NAVIGATION CAN'T KEEP UP WITH DRIVING: The navigation system is so slow that on numerous occasions it could not keep up with giving me directions in time to make turns. This is NOT a case where I was off-route and it had to re-calculate. This occurs when I am on route. All of a sudden the screen says nothing but "Computing Route" and before you know it - I missed the turn.
3) MAJOR BLUETOOTH MALFUNCTIONS: Pairing - no problem. Sometimes it syncs the phonebook properly and other times its pretty mangled. Sometimes it will dial a person via voice command, other times it just doesn't (nor does it provide any feedback letting me know there is a problem). I can't tell you how frustrating it is when no matter who I command the system to dial using voice command, and the screen says it is calling them, BUT then my mother-in-law picks up the phone. (That's pretty annoying for her too!)
4) VOICE CONTROL HAS BEEN DUMBED DOWN TO USELESSNESS: In my 2008 MKX, the system used fuzzy logic to make a best guess at a song name (music) or person's name (phonebook). For example, on my music key, I have the song "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince. The name of music file is "Summertime [LP VERSION]". The 2008 Sync system was smart enough to guess that this was the song I wanted to hear when I asked for "Summertime". My 2011 MKX simply responds "I don't understand you – please say a command”. Am I really going to be able to remember which song titles are followed by text like “LP Version” or “Clean Version” or “Single Version”? Another example: I have music by the group “Dee-lite”. In my 2008 MKX, I could say “play artist Deelite” and it would play their music. My 2011 MKX simply responds "I don't understand you – please say a command”....... unless of course I say “play artist DeeeeeeLite”. How would anyone know to do that?
5) HEATING/AC CONTROL DOESN'T WORK LIKE A MODERN SYSTEM: In every recent car I have owned (including the 2008 sync based MKX I just turned in), the car was smart enough to not start blowing air until the heater was ready to provide warm air. Not my 2011 MKX, the Sync system manages to begin blowing cold air immediately upon starting the car. Not fun in the winter.
6) SEVERELY UNDERPOWERED AND NON-RESPONSIVE PROCESSOR AND TOUCH SCREEN: While the touchscreen looks good, its touch interface is terrible. Since there is no haptic feedback, I would have expected responsive and timely audible feedback – which the MyTouch system fails to provide. Audible beeps occur seconds after I press an on-screen button and sometimes not at all. Using the touchscreen is also very frustrating as the touches themselves are sometimes not registered at all. The touchscreen in my 2008 MKX was extremely responsive and I always received audible feedback in a timely manner. Finally, its almost scary to talk about how long screen changes take. In fact, you can often see the information of the old screen after the new one has begun being drawn. Its very confusing and VERY DISTRACTING. Its been frustrating enough that I have even counted how long it takes for a typical screen change. My observations: a screen change should work as follows: [tap screen]...1...[screen change complete]. With the MyTouch system, it works as follows: [Tap Screen]...1....2....[screen partially showing previous screen and partially showing next screen]...3....4...[screen change complete]. Clearly the system's underlying hardware (CPU and memory) are playing a big role in this problem. The question is why would Ford power the system with hardware that is not capable of keeping up with the demands of a graphical touch screen interface?
7) INEXCUSABLE USER INTERFACE FLAWS:
a) Incoming Call Screen: This screen is beyond ridiculous. Try counting how long it takes you to figure out who is calling you when a call comes in while you are driving....it is a downright dangerous amount of time. Instead of showing only key information in a nice large readable font (i.e., caller name, phone number and an Icon for which phone they are calling from), the system shows you a lengthy sentence worthy of only the thickest of novels. For example, if my wife calls me from her cell, the screen shows the following small and tough to read text:
“There is an incoming call from Michelle Johnston in New York - Southern”
Try reading that while you are driving!
B ) Letter of the Alphabet Selector (music and phone book): When you have to navigate the phone book or music library (i.e., like when voice command isn't working properly), it should be simpler as it was with the old version of Sync. There is enough screen real estate to allow for buttons “A-C”, “D-F”, “G-I”, etc. The new system crams six letters per button (for example “A-F”). Imagine you want to select an artist who's name starts with “F”. You would have to press the “A-F” button 5 times before you could even start scrolling through the “F” artists . Given the poor implementation of the touch screen, this makes locating a person, song, or artist extremely tedious and distracting.
c)Call History - identifies the person, but not which phone they are calling from...a simple icon would do (i.e., for home, mobile, or office). Worse, rarely does Sync's call history match the call history on my phone.
d)Font sizes – They are too small and too thin making words difficult to read while driving ….enough said.
e)Song Playback Order – When you play an album from your music collection, sync does not let you play the songs in album order. Instead it loads songs in alphabetical order.[/font][/size]