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Review and Open Letter to Ford Regarding the MyTouch System

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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.
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Is it really this bad?

Yep. it is really this bad.

It's as though they hired a bunch of interns to program this system

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I can appreciate your frustration having dealt with a lemon law case on a previous car (not Ford) but to say the above are dangerous is a stretch. Your phone doesn't work fast enough will cause an accident? Your NAV doesn't respond fast enough will cause an accident? Come on. Do I believe they need to be fixed? Of course. I'm hoping our new Edge doesn't have these issues and if it does it'll be at the dealer to be repaired or replaced but I wouldn't call the above dangerous. Lemon law claims perhaps if they aren't fixed, but that's about it in terms of legal action. A little perspective is a good thing.

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Well, now I'm not yelling lemon yet, I have noticed that I have been distracted by the broken technology that was put in the car to prevent distractions. Kinda of ironic.

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Love the letter, have you sent it off to them already?

Edited by Garemz

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Heard from a little Bird today (someone at Ford) that Ford has just released a new update today to address these issues.

A large team of Microsoft and Ford employees have been working on this for several weeks.

Many of the ordered Edge's have been held up until this fix was completed.

They issued the update and usb cables to the dealers to upload the fix.

Lets hope this fix actually fixes everything or most things and does not break anything else :)

 

Cheers

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Heard from a little Bird today (someone at Ford) that Ford has just released a new update today to address these issues.

A large team of Microsoft and Ford employees have been working on this for several weeks.

Many of the ordered Edge's have been held up until this fix was completed.

They issued the update and usb cables to the dealers to upload the fix.

Lets hope this fix actually fixes everything or most things and does not break anything else :)

 

Cheers

That's great news! I hope your birdy is right.

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That's great news! I hope your birdy is right.

 

Me to!

 

Wonder if us Edge owners will be contacted by the dealer or if we have to ask them? Maybe it will appear on the sync site?

It should be done as a recall in my opinion as people who are not on these forums or go onto the sync site (for example my parents wouldn't if they owned this car) will not be aware of serious upgrades that need fixing on thier systems such as the White screen of death etc as well as the other stuff like miles instead if km's. I know there is a lot more they fixed but to some they weren't important stuff like the Blue tooth setup and stuff like that but there are some priorities that were fixed and people should and need to be aware and contacted.

 

If and when people get the upgrades, please post how you found out about it e.g dealer or sync site and if all works better now or not.

Edited by Dreamss

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Is it really this bad?

 

 

If you have a system that has issues, yes, it sounds like it can be this bad. But not everyone is having these types of issues. I have never had to pull a fuse or have the system reset. The issues I have are related to having an iPhone, not the cars fault. And there may or may not be issues with Sirius, but it doesn't work in Alaska anyway.

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Heard from a little Bird today (someone at Ford) that Ford has just released a new update today to address these issues.

A large team of Microsoft and Ford employees have been working on this for several weeks.

Many of the ordered Edge's have been held up until this fix was completed.

They issued the update and usb cables to the dealers to upload the fix.

Lets hope this fix actually fixes everything or most things and does not break anything else :)

 

Cheers

 

My MKX is in that boat. Built on Nov 5 and placed on hold preventing it from shipping. I pray this fix is done and they can address the issues and ship me my damned car.

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If you have a system that has issues, yes, it sounds like it can be this bad. But not everyone is having these types of issues. I have never had to pull a fuse or have the system reset. The issues I have are related to having an iPhone, not the cars fault. And there may or may not be issues with Sirius, but it doesn't work in Alaska anyway.

Hi Choff. Now that I am test driving a Microsoft Phone 7 and still having some Touch issues, I think Touch stills needs boo coo help. I think the iPhone just helped to bring the issues to the forefront.

I think iOS4.2 helped the iPhone's BT Audio issues but I moved on to Windows Phone 7 when I saw that it did audible SMS and contact photos/addresses

 

 

 

 

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Hi Choff. Now that I am test driving a Microsoft Phone 7 and still having some Touch issues, I think Touch stills needs boo coo help. I think the iPhone just helped to bring the issues to the forefront.

I think iOS4.2 helped the iPhone's BT Audio issues but I moved on to Windows Phone 7 when I saw that it did audible SMS and contact photos/addresses

 

 

Wilson - I 100 percent agree that YOU have problems with touch - and I would agree that there are bugs to the system. But I would guess 90% of 2011 edge drivers don't have the issues that you and some others are having. My bluetooth audio has worked consistently since I started trying to use it. The only phone related issues I have are contact photo's and text to speech. Neither bug me not to have.

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That's great news! I hope your birdy is right.

 

I reported the same thing last week and you said "I'll believe it when I see it". I guess it's all in the delivery.........

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I reported the same thing last week and you said "I'll believe it when I see it". I guess it's all in the delivery.........

Sorry to hurt your feelings kirby but it is in the delivery. You based your post on other people's posts that were not substantiated. The rumored release of the software never materialized.

I'll still believe it when I see it AND I hope the birdy is right.

 

 

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You based your post on other people's posts that were not substantiated. The rumored release of the software never materialized.

I'll still believe it when I see it AND I hope the birdy is right.

 

Actually I based my posts on other posts AND info from Ford factory employees. I said they were putting the new software release into the new vehicles and they were getting ready to release the software to dealers along with a new cable. Which is EXACTLY what hancop reported last night.

 

I was also right about sync support for contact photos being a phone issue, not a sync issue.

 

I just thought I'd point this out since you'll never admit I was right about anything.

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Actually I based my posts on other posts AND info from Ford factory employees. I said they were putting the new software release into the new vehicles and they were getting ready to release the software to dealers along with a new cable. Which is EXACTLY what hancop reported last night.

 

I was also right about sync support for contact photos being a phone issue, not a sync issue.

 

I just thought I'd point this out since you'll never admit I was right about anything.

You're right.

 

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving

 

 

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Me to!

 

Wonder if us Edge owners will be contacted by the dealer or if we have to ask them? Maybe it will appear on the sync site?

It should be done as a recall in my opinion as people who are not on these forums or go onto the sync site (for example my parents wouldn't if they owned this car) will not be aware of serious upgrades that need fixing on thier systems such as the White screen of death etc as well as the other stuff like miles instead if km's. I know there is a lot more they fixed but to some they weren't important stuff like the Blue tooth setup and stuff like that but there are some priorities that were fixed and people should and need to be aware and contacted.

 

If and when people get the upgrades, please post how you found out about it e.g dealer or sync site and if all works better now or not.

 

I have the same question. If anyone gets a call from the dealer or something, please let un know!

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Heard from a little Bird today (someone at Ford) that Ford has just released a new update today to address these issues.

A large team of Microsoft and Ford employees have been working on this for several weeks.

 

Well that's just about the understatement of the century. Updates are released internally every week and have been since about April. The team involves far more than just Microsoft and Ford employees (most of the software programming is done by third parties) and they've been working on it for years, not weeks.

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Ford Oasis says to monitor it for updates. They say they have engineers actively investigating it and will post the update as soon as its done. But as of now, no update or news of it.

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Out of the blue I received the following email this morning: -

 

 

 

Thank you for selecting your new 2011 Lincoln MKX.

 

As a consumer company, Ford Motor Company of Canada Limited is focused on responding to consumer expectations including quality, value and convenience.

 

Your opinions about your vehicle and ownership experience are extremely important to us.

 

If you have any questions or would like to share any feedback on your new vehicle, please contact our Customer Relationship Centre by calling 1-800-565-3673 or reply to this email if it is more convenient.

 

We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Al McCormick

Vice President – Customer Service

 

I have posted' on this forum and also the Ford Motor Owner to Owner forum of Ford Sync regarding the problems I am having and also a number of people I personally know who have 2011 Edge and MKX vehicles are having with the MyTouch navigation system.. This centres for the most part on the vehicle being shown off the road on well established roadways and secondary highways. Also the navigation screen going black for a number of minutes and the mysteriously starting up again. During the time the screen is black I show SD card fault on the driver's screen. I have also gone through periods where it shows the maps are loading and this goes on for up to an hour without any progress and I eventually shut the vehicle down for about 10 minutes . Then restart and the navigation starts up correctly. I have phoned sync and explained my problem and got an answer that Ford is working on it, only to have a 2011 Edge owner phone and be told that Ford has never heard about this problem. Emailed Ford, TeleNav and Navteq to try and determine who is providing the mapping as I do not have any problems with my Garmin Nuvi 1490T, with Navteq maps No replies. Suddenly I get this email.

 

The open letter to Ford is excellent ; well written, well documented and concise. I am wondering if Ford is finally acknowledging that there is a problem and getting in touch with it's customers. I am wondering if anyone else in the US and Canada, who has been asking Ford for answers is being contacted.? I will be taking my time to document my concerns again and sending a return email this weekend./

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Hi, can you post his ( Al McCormick ) email address here, so that Canadian owner can send him some of our problems ?

Instead of calling the Customer Relationship Centre at 1-800-565-3676, sending him email from all of us may get more attention and faster respond.

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Hi, can you post his ( Al McCormick ) email address here, so that Canadian owner can send him some of our problems ?

Instead of calling the Customer Relationship Centre at 1-800-565-3676, sending him email from all of us may get more attention and faster respond.

 

 

Email address is

 

crccan@ford.com.

 

I am sending my reply for attention of Al McCormick. Whether it goes to him or not is another thing,. however I will put the reply on the email he sent to me. I was at a function tonight and ran in to another new Lincoln MKX owner who has been quite vocal at our dealer regarding the faults of the Lincoln MyTouch system and he also received an email yesterday from Lincoln Customer Service ( Al McCormick)

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As an owner of a 2011 MKX, I heartily endose the open letter to Ford. There are so many poorly functioning aspects with the new Sync system that it would be reasonable to regard it on the whole as being a safety hazard. I actually have additional safety-related issues that do not concern the Sync system - repeated "blocked sensor" failures on a perfectly clean vehicle that disable collision and blindspot warnings. With no support received from my dealer, I think I'll also be writing to Mr. McCormick.

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There are so many poorly functioning aspects with the new Sync system that it would be reasonable to regard it on the whole as being a safety hazard. I actually have additional safety-related issues that do not concern the Sync system - repeated "blocked sensor" failures on a perfectly clean vehicle that disable collision and blindspot warnings. With no support received from my dealer, I think I'll also be writing to Mr. McCormick.

 

While I totally agree that Ford blew this one from a quality standpoint, there is no way you can call any of these problems safety issues.

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