Consumer Reports Calls MyFord Touch Distracting

When the Cars.com staff tested the 2011 Ford Edge and the 2011 Lincoln MKT, we all felt the new MyFord and MyLincoln Touch systems were over-engineered to the point of annoyance. Consumer Reports weighed in today, saying it would not recommend either vehicle because the systems cross the line from annoyance to distraction.

You can watch our video review of the MKX above and read the full review here.

Consumer Reports’ sentiments matched our own. “CR's testers looked at the system in the 2011 Lincoln MKX and Ford Edge SEL and found it to be a complicated distraction while driving. In addition, first-time users might find it impossible to comprehend. The system did not always perform as promised.”

Reviews of the vehicles and multimedia system have been mixed among the automotive press, but we can support Consumer Reports’ findings on this one.
 
Both the new Edge and MKX are selling extremely well, though. We’ll have to wait and see if there is any residual impact in the next few months.

Comments 

Amuro Ray

When's the last time anyone has seen, or even HEARD, a good, easy or nice-to-use MS device? Kin? Zune? Media Center? Windows CE?

And the list goes on and on...

If u want good user interface, go with the "i" S.J. is smart enuf to know that we are all (almost all) lazy...

AR,
I personally thought the system they use in the MKT and the Fusion is just fine with the huge screen and big buttons. It's moving the A?C controls etc to that screen (along with the tiny font and black background) so hard to deal with.

Overall the system is pretty good when used like that. I think they just tried to do too much.

Graham

Please look up what the word "engineering" means. "Over-engineer" is a nonsense expression. What you are describing is actually UNDER engineered.

Derrick G

It should be noted that CR didn't say it wouldn't recommend any car with Ford's system. Rather, they said the system dragged down the overall scores of the two CUV's tested so much that they both dipped below the cut-off for recommendation.

My guess would be learn the simple or easy commands first. Then read the book and learn more as time goes on. Case in point, look at all the apps for iPhones and such. You don't learn them all in one week of using. Agreed, they tried to do to much in short order.

65Chrysler300

Am I the only 'purist' who doesn't want ANY sort of multimedia system? I want to enjoy driving my car, not try and forget that I am driving a car. (I don't know exactly what a MyFord Touch does, but I am referring to the systems that have all the fancy music and photo storage and other such nonsense.)

Parrots

@65Chrysler300

Welcome to the new world.

Troy S.

65 Chrysler 300,

I totally agree with you. For one thing can you imagine how much cheaper a vehicle would be without all the excess bells and whistles? These gadgets are simply built in profit for the manufacturer and though some appreciate gadgets and technology, others want a vehicle that's simple with only the basics. I think many people would be suprised to see how many people feel the way you and I do.

Dan

@Chrysler 300 and Troy S-

While I feel the same way you do, polling and surveying shows that the VAST majority does not. That is especially true in the young buyer demographic which is so incredibly valuable to automakers. They're just chasing profits, and as a corporation we can't expect them to do any different.

Troy S.

Dan,

I agree with what alotof what you're saying. I do however think that auto makers are missing a decent sized group of customers like Chrysler 300 and myself.

A poll or survey results may show one thing but that doesn't always equate to what customers will actually buy when it comes to spending their own hard earned cash.

Sure.. In a poll of cars I'd LOVE to buy, I'd vote for a Ferrari or Porsche but in reality I wouldn't buy one.

Actually, how many people would you realistically expect to buy the Ferrari or Porsche after tallying the data on a survey and poll sampling?

Ken L.

Gentlemen, a base or lower end model should rectify your situation.

I think the people at consumer reports are a bunch of old biased geezers that have been taking bribs from the japanese companies for years. Who is mytouch distracting for ? not a young person that can multitask . This is the future not the past .. Smarten up consumer reports . Get some new young blood in there and get ride of the people that have been taking bribs for years

Michael Ehle

David, It appears to me as though you were never properly trained how to use this system. There is only one button you need to push to access your climate controls and that is the voice command button on the steering wheel. Both you and Consumer Reports have missed the outstanding advantages of this system and with some education, I think your opinion would change. Feel free to write to me if you're interested. I am a Lincoln trainer.

Amuro Ray

Michael,

What you've said is the EXACT reason why this system fails. Instead of designing a system that adapts to what people has used to for a LONG time, you are asking the owner to adapt to a new system for no apparent advantage! After all, the output of the "old" system is exactly the same as the "new" system, right?

As a software engineer, I have seen so many applications that fail simply 'coz of such basic understanding - Systems adapt to people, and not vice versa

Like I said, S.J. knows how it works, which makes the "i___" so successful.

Michael,
Are you referring to the redundant controls on the steering wheel? It's a four sided directional thumbpad with a center OK button. It can take 3-4 presses to get to the setting you need. I like the location of the readout and button better but it isn't as easy as a knob.

I take it you don't need to train folks on an MKT right?

Michael Ehle

@Amuro Ray, I see your point but this system is no further a stretch than going from telephone operators to push button dialing and on to smart phones. Progress and change will occur. You can adapt and learn or you can stagnate and curl up in the corner. This system is an advantage of keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

@David, No, I'm referring to the Voice Recognition system which allows you to access most functions with your voice only and not ever take your eyes off of the road or your hands off the wheel. Yes I train sales staff, service advisors and customers on MKT's, MKS's, MKZ's and Navigators with the HDD navigation and SYNC voice recognition systems just as often as I do on the MKX and MyLincoln Touch and there is no limit to the time each has with me and no cost to the customer. It is like the new Apple service for $100 a year where you go in and get one on one training for your iPhone at the Apple store. But my time is free to the car owner. This system is very different and we all have tendancies to resist change but, alas, change will happen. I don't think this system is as distracting as it has been recently portrayed if you're properly educated how to operate it in the real world. And I think it is the first of many such systems such as the CES news reports are broadcasting right now.

Paul L

@Michael Erle

After test driving a new Explorer and Edge this past week, my wife and I chose the Jeep Grand Cherokee instead. A big reason was the "My Ford Touch" system. Yes, I spent time learning how to use it. Yes, I am extremely competent when it comes to technology. My other car is a 2010 Mariner with the Sync/Nav system and know it in and out (and love it, by the way). I'm even a Ford shareholder! Bottom line: The new MyFord is simply too sensitive, complicated and fussy. The screen ergonomics are terrible. I'm sure I'd get used to it but you guys missed the mark here. Too many menus, too many key presses (try changing radio station with right joystick, for instance), main screen details too small to quickly recognize. Why are radio "buttons", temp indicators and FM station frequency labels so small?

BHA

Ford crossed the line when they made an 'infotainment' system. Nothing forward of the back seat should be entertainment, it should be functional driver information. Yes you can have a radio and CD player but when people are searching through the thousands of songs on their portable player, we go from functional to dangerous. The touch screen buttons are too small and there is too much on many of the screens. Have the guy in the video take the car to a cold climate and try to run those controls with mittens on. When you are driving, you NEED 1/2 second 'find and push'. Same problem with the iPod like 'finger rub' controls. You NEED 'see and push' not 'hunt and peck, try again'.

Toyota did it RIGHT in the 2004-2009 Prius and blew it on the 2010 redesign replacing Climate Control and Radio screens that had big buttons on the touch screen dedicated to the function with the 'standard' multitude of little non tactile buttons low and away from where the driver's eyes should be - on the road. When you have to 'push, hold, wait and watch' for the vent setting you want, things are NOT GOOD.

Joysticks have NO place in a car other than the Prius transmission shifter which is a GREAT invention. Unlike the joystick for nav or radio controls, where you have to LOOK at something while you use it, the Prius shifter is perfect.The motion to get to any transmission position is the SAME no matter what position the transmission is in at any point in time. You can't 'go one click too far', you don't have to push right, down, left, down to get to Drive and reverse that to get back to Park. IN fact, you don't put it in Park at all, the car does that automatically when you push the Power button to shut down. They screwed that up too, moving the shifter from its 'out of the way' position on the dash to the claustrophobia inducing, space wasting arch.

Some1

Amuro Ray,
Media Center is good, easy, and nice-to-use. It's better than any DVR interface out there today. Engadget agrees with me on that (http://www.engadget.com/2010/08/05/tivo-premiere-vs-windows-7-media-center/) Do you have any particular complaints about it? Have you even tried it?

Another example of something Microsoft has done very well is the Xbox 360.

You might be able to list plenty of things MS has made with poor UIs but that doesn't mean they've never gotten anything right.


David,
I'm going to have to agree with Graham... if this system is not easy to use, how would that make it over-engineered? It sounds like it needs more UI engineering, not less.

Mary Dolata

I have had my Ford Edge since December. There are already recalls on the Synch system and the MyTouch. The MyTouch in my vehicle is no longer working at all which makes it difficult to use any of the entertainment features or some of the climate controls. The voice activated system is incredibly frustrating to use. The salesman tried to show me how it worked the day I bought it, and he couldn't get it to respond. Fortunately I only have a 2 year lease. When it is up I will not get another vehicle with this touch screen. I miss my Mercury Mariner.

Focus owner

As a new owner of a '12 Focus i can say the criticisms are overblown. My wife used the car the other day, got in, pressed the voice control button, it played the music she wanted-no training. Ford has a great website for owners, you can download updates, see vehicle health reports, its more than a radio/phone interface. If you have a problem, its not working, take it to the dealer, if they can't fix it, take it to another. There are service managers to talk to as well as factory service reps. complain until its working.

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