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Review – 2011 Chevrolet Cruze: GM Finally Builds A Competitive Compact Car

Back in September I had the opportunity to attend the press drive for the new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. At the time I was enamored with the fact that Chevrolet might have built a compact car that didn’t suck.

You see in my lifetime (that I can remember), Chevrolet hasn’t had a class leading compact sedan. Heck, not even a really competitive compact sedan. The Cruze is set to change all that. But is it really class leading, and if it is, how long can its reign last?

The exterior of the Cruze is a mix of good and bad. The front is aggressive with swept back headlights and Chevrolet’s dual-port shield grille. The hood has a nice crease that runs down the center and around the sides. This adds to the aggressive look of the swept back headlights.

Below the headlights sit two black blank pieces of plastic. This is where the fog lights would go if you optioned for the RS package. It seems downright silly that even an Cruze LTZ (the highest trim level) wouldn’t have fog lights without an optional RS package. The front is aggressive, but they could have taken it even further.

The sides have a strong character line that sweeps from the front fenders back into the rear taillights. The bottom of the doors also have some sculpting that visually make the Cruze look less slab sided.

Around back is the most disappointing part of the Cruze exterior. Visually it will not offend anyone. The flip side of that is the rear is quite boring. It is like the designers of the front ran out of energy. Maybe they got tired one night and said, just call it good and be done with it. While I’m not sure exactly what happened, at the end of the day it’s bland. The rear blends in with the sea of cars on the road.

At one point I stated that the current generation Malibu might be the tightest screwed together car GM makes. The Cruze definitely is giving the Malibu a run for its money. It also has tight panel gaps and a solid overall feel.

Chevrolet has been bragging about the interior in the new Cruze quite a bit lately, and I must say, they have every right to do so. The materials all feel high quality and look terrific. While there is quite a bit of hard plastic inside the cabin, it all looks nice with low shine and nice graining.

ThefFront seats are very comfortable, and are highly adjustable for being manual seats. It is easy to find a comfortable driving position with the tilt and telescoping steering wheel.

Chevrolet is touting midsize sedan room for the Cruze, even though it is a compact sedan. That extra room is felt in the rear seat. Foot and leg room is more than ample and it also has a decent seating position.

The center stack features black high gloss plastic in the shape of a flux capacitor. The buttons all have a high quality feel to them. I found it notable that the climate control knobs had no wiggle and that they felt solid.

Chevrolet knows that Ford has been touting its Microsoft SYNC system loud lately, so they had to do something. The new Cruze might be one of the most tech savvy cars out of GM in recent years. The Bluetooth system downloaded my phonebook, so every time someone called, the screen showed the callers name. You can also scroll through your contacts on the screen. The USB port will read almost any device that you plug-in – my iPhone 4 worked seamlessly with the sound system.

I found it unique that the dashboard featured cloth that matched the material on the seats. The Cruze I was in featured red cloth both on the seats and on the dash. All models that have leather feature a leather-like material on the dash instead of cloth. If GM had not added this unique touch, the dashboard would be a sea of hard plastic like most of the competition. It is clear that a ton of thought was put into the design and quality of the interior.

Two engines are currently available in the Cruze, but most will be sold with the 1.4-liter turbo inline four-cylinder. This engine produces 138 horsepower and 148 pound-feet of torque to the front wheels. This powertrain is rated at 24/36 mpg but I averaged 25 mpg in mixed urban suburban driving and a disappointing 29.4 mpg on a holiday highway trip.

Sadly, as it stands the only transmission choice is a six speed automatic. The transmission is fine, but I would’ve liked to have seen a manual option for those that like to row their own gears. Initially, reports flowed out that the transmission was poorly programmed. Chevrolet has since performed a firmware upgrade to the transmission that helps with these issues.

Overall I found transmission to be fine, though it hesitates to downshift. Acceleration is acceptable but don’t go street racing a Cobalt SS at the stoplight. Passing is its one weakness. The power just isn’t there to fling you forward, it builds slowly. Also, that manual shift capability? Don’t bother. It takes about half a second to register before it will perform the shift.

Cruze features electric power steering to help improve gas mileage. The application is probably one of GM’s best to date. Steering is light at parking lots speeds, but firms up once on the highway.

The Cruze 1LT I tested featured: connectivity plus package, 16″ alloy wheels, crystal red metallic tintcoat, and a compact spare tire. The total sticker price on this particular Cruze 1LT was $20,240 after destination. That places the Cruze at the high end of the compact car class. The Cruze isn’t a cheap compact, but it is a substantial compact car.

Back to the beginning, I was initially impressed with my first experience with the Cruze. After spending an entire week with a 1LT model, am I still as impressed? In one word, yes. I was slightly disappointed with the gas mileage, but the engine is smooth and quiet.

As for the question about the Cruze being class leading, the short answer is yes – for now. The competition is all getting refreshed and the Cruze has been on sale across the world for over a year. The new Hyundai Elantra is rated at 40 MPG on the highway across the board, the new Focus has some impressive technology available, and we don’t even know what the new Honda Civic and Toyota Corolla will bring. At the end of the day, the new Cruze is currently one of the most competitive compact cars on the market.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by General Motors

Review – 2011 Lincoln MKT AWD Ecoboost: Is This What Lincoln Should Be?

If you asked me about Lincoln around five years ago, I would have said “Town Car what?”  Yes, the Navigator hit it big during the large SUV boom and the LS was an interesting car, but Lincoln has not revisited those old glory days in a while. And when I say a while, I am talking long before I was born.

Now,they are in the midst of what I would almost call a rebirth – or a reboot, if you will.  They are trying to build a brand identity and bring the team together.  So how does the MKT play a role in that?  Is this what Lincoln should be?  Lets find out.

Exterior

As I mentioned above, Lincoln is rebuilding brand identity.  There is no question the exterior of the MKT is polarizing.  Some will like it, some will not – few will be indifferent to it.  When the MKT first rolled up, I was on the fence but leaning towards liking it.  After spending a week with it, (are you sitting down for this?) in my opinion this is exactly how a Lincoln should look.  The front is bold, with a strong crease running up from the Lincoln emblem on the front clip into the hood.

The large (read huge) dual-winged grille sits on both sides of the Lincoln emblem, and two sculpted character lines run from the front fenders into the side of the MKT.  There is also slight sculpting down near the bottom of the doors to bring the sides in a bit.  I even like the window line dip on the side near the rear.  The rear features large light pipes that make up a big rear light.  It looks terrific and really unique at night.  For me the exterior is a huge win.


Interior

The interior in the MKT again makes a strong statement.  The perforated leather is thick and feels of good quality.  The seats are road trip comfy and are both heated and cooled (a great feature).  The touch screen navigation/climate control/infotainment/etc system worked quite well and never appeared washed out by sunlight.  Physical buttons get you around to the function screens you want quickly, and you then manage the details via the touch screen.  It was an easy system to learn and operate quickly, although it does lock you out of certain navigation functions while driving.

The THX sound system simply rocked! Everyone seems to agree this is one of the finer sound systems in the industry offered by an OEM.  With HD radio and Sirius satellite radio available, you have some great choices on board.  Lets also not forget about the Microsoft Sync system, which paired with my iPhone 3Gs seamlessly and operated easily.

The rear had the flowing center console option with a small fridge/freezer in between the rear buckets.  The third row was power-operated and folded flat when not in use.  The interior materials were first class all around.  Everything was soft touch with a nice finish, while all plasticsl felt of high quality.


Powertrain and Driving Impressions

This MKT was equipped with the (awesome) 3.5 liter EcoBoost engine, which pumps out 355 horsepower and 350 pound feet of torque to all four wheels.  The power goes through a one-choice six-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters.  The bottom line?  This thing is a rocket ship for its size.  Seriously, it is just silly! The torque curve is flat from 800 rpm to 5250 rpm.  That is nearly the entire power band.  That is thanks to the twin-turbo direct-injection set up on the V-6.  Essentially the concept is V-6 fuel economy with V-8 power.  Bravo!  The transmission actually played nice and I had no gripes with the programming.

The MKT Ecoboost rode on 20″ wheels and it can actually handle better then you would expect a vehicle of its size to handle.  The steering is light but not overly so.  The adaptive cruise control worked terrific on the highway all the way up north and the active park assist worked as advertised (though a little creepy the first time you do use it, and the second).

The EcoBoost engine is completely worth the $3,005 price.  The MKT with all-wheel drive and EcoBoost is rated at 16/21.  During my week with MKT, I averaged 17.2 in a mix of city and suburb highway driving.  That was without really trying to achieve the best mileage possible.  On the open road loaded down with four adults and the rear packed with gear, I averaged 21.2 with the cruise control set at 77 mph.  Neither of those numbers are bad at all.  I would call those good considering the MKT has three rows and weighs quite a bit.

Gripes? Well, the A-pillars are quite large.  I am not sure what it is with this recent trend, but it is almost a safety hazard on some vehicles.  Also that touch screen system I mentioned earlier – it had a melt down.  I am talking a 13-year old girl tantrum melt down.

I started the MKT after leaving it in the sun for four hours.  It was approximately 92 degrees outside.  Upon entering the car, I went to input a destination into the navigation system.  The entire screen/system froze up.  After restarting the vehicle and realizing that was not going to fix it, I had no choice but to drive using my iPhone as my navigation.  I was going to be late for a meeting.  About five minutes into the drive the screen changed to a inform me a system fault has been detected and I would have limited functionality of the screen.  Terrific.

It also informed me I should head to my dealership.  Luckily for me, my appointment was at a client that happened to be an auto repair shop.  They pulled codes and found the yaw control sensor and something to do with the cruise control sensors had both faulted.  After resetting the sensors, we could not get the system to malfunction again.  I will note that Ford reached out immediately to try and resolve the problem, without me prompting them or making contact, Seeing as I only had the vehicle for a week and cannot fully determine what happened or how it was caused, I am saying it was a fluke. However, it did happen and I wanted to note that incident.

The MKT I was in was pretty much fully loaded.  The total sticker price rang in at $56,980,which included $7,780 in options.  The bottom line is this segment (like many of the luxury segments now) is packed with great options.  I would put the MKT right next to the Audi Q7 TDI (along with other competitors) and say drive both.

They are very different vehicles both in personality and execution.  The Lincoln MKT is most definitely a winner.  You would be missing out if you did not consider it when purchasing a vehicle in this segment.  I truly believe this is what a Lincoln should be.

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by Ford

Review – 2011 Ford Fiesta: A Win For America

Anyone that has been on the internet lately has probably heard of the Fiesta Movement.  The car’s unique marketing has definitely stirred interest into a vehicle that has not been in the American market for quite a while.  This small vehicle is a hit in Europe and many Americans have been requesting the vehicle.  With the car finally here, the question is how much was lost in translation?  Is the American Fiesta as good as the European version?

Exterior

The exterior has not changed much from the European model.  Gone are the normal fog lights and projector headlights.  Instead, you have LED light pipes where the fog lights would normally go.  The sedan version of the Fiesta also wears a chrome three bar grille instead of painted insert.  The hatch back does not have the chrome three bar grille rather it sports a painted insert that is closer to the European models look.  I think they are the same size and you could swap the painted insert in place of the chrome three bar setup if you wanted to.  Personally, I like the look of the painted insert better.  From the front fender to the rear quarter panel, a strong character line runs down the side of the car.  While the headlights are up swept and unique, the tail lights wrap around the sides and are a basic non-offensive oval shape.  The overall sedan is better looking then I thought it would be.  Much better then the comparable Toyota Yaris.

Interior

The interior of the Fiesta is really close to the European counterpart.  The gauges look very European while the radio controls are supposed to remind you of a cell phone.  While I am not sure of that, there are definitely a lot of buttons in a tiny space.  I found it easy to operate and the interface was clean.  The small 4-inch display glowed red and was easy to read in all lighting conditions.  The Microsoft SYNC system operated as advertised, and was really quite handy.  One thing that is different from the European model is the climate control.  No automatic climate control is offered, though it was extremely warm while the Fiesta was here and it always kept the interior nice and chilly.  The seats were comfortable, with adequate side bolstering. I did find the seat bottoms a bit flat when driving on a road trip.  The graining on all plastics was very nice and the seat fabric felt like great quality material.  With a soft touch pad for the top half of the dash, if it doesn’t feel quality it certainly looks the part.  Rear seat legroom is somewhat short, but if you are under six feet tall you will be OK.  I am not sure an adult would enjoy a road trip back there, but it is doable.  The steering wheel was the perfect size and the electric power steering had great feedback and on-center feel.  At night the Fiesta I was in had “mood lighting” with seven different color options.  My girlfriend settled on a color resembling teal for the week.  If you find it distracting the lighting, can be turned off.  Overall the interior is a huge win.  Everything from ergonomics to style, the Fiesta fits the bill and then some.

Powertrain

The Fiesta comes standard with a 1.6 liter four cylinder engine pushing out 120 horsepower and 112 pound feet to the front wheels.  That power goes through the standard five-speed manual or optional six-speed dual clutch dubbed PowerShift.  Off the line ,the Fiesta is no rocket.  In fact, it almost seems a little sluggish.  Once you get revs a little higher the car starts to feel faster then it really is.  Driving the car I always seemed to have a stupid grin on my face, even though I was not going that fast.  The Fiesta I had was equipped with the five-speed manual.  Personally, I liked the gearbox.  It was fun with clean shifts.  Though on the highway I will admit at times I longed for a sixth gear.  Not because of engine drone or anything like that (engine and wind noise was in check), but because the car probably would have gotten better mileage.  The five speed manual is rated at 29/38 while the six speed dual clutch is rated at 30/40 (with SFE package, 20/38 without SFE package).  I averaged 29.9 mpg in the city during the week, which was good considering I was definitely not trying to get the best mileage.  On the highway I managed to average only 34.5 mpg.  It is worth noting I had the cruise control set at 77 mph on the highway trip.  I can only assume going slower and or having another gear would have significantly increased that average.

So how much of the car was lost in translation?  Frankly, not a ton.  In fact some of the technical changes when coming across the pond made the car better.  For instance, the addition of knee airbags gave the people up front more leg room.  The car is a blast to drive and many people commented on how fun the car was.  Everyone seemed to the like it.  An Audi A6 owner commented on how great the car looked, both outside and inside.  This car is a huge value and a win for America.  If you look at the direct competition such as the Toyota Yaris, the Fiesta almost puts it to shame.  The Fiesta SE I had was somewhat optioned with the Rapid Spec 203A package (nowhere near loaded) and had a sticker price of $15,990.  That is without a question a value.  I definitely would take the Fiesta over the Toyota Yaris.  The Honda Fit has many tricks of its own, so it really depends on what your uses will be.  With the Mazda2 coming, the Fiesta has a ton of competition in this segment.  In the end, it has the goods to fight off the competition.

Photography- Alex Bellus

Full Disclosure- The review vehicle was provided by Ford

Koreans Are Coming: What Hyundai & Kia Have Snuck In While We Weren’t Looking

2011 Kia Optima

If you asked me back in January what one of the best midsize sedans was, I would have instantly shot out the name Ford Fusion.  We are now three months later and I have to say, “What just happened?”  Remember Kia and Hyundai?  You know, the Korean car companies.  They used to make cars that you really did not want but you could afford them and they seemed to be safe enough.  Them times are a changin’ and now the Korean car companies are not only making affordable cars, they are making cars you want to buy.  Crazy concept, I know.

The new Optima and Sonata are sisters.  They share their platforms and powertrains although the sheet metal and interiors are completely different.  With everything from Bluetooth to navigation, these cars are every bit the car the competition is.  In fact, as standard on two upper trim levels of the Optima, Kia has now even launched Uvo, a new infotainment system licensed through Microsoft and based on the same underpins as Ford’s SYNC.  Uh oh….

2011 Kia Optima

2011 Kia Optima Interior

With three powertrain options ranging from a 2.4 liter direct injection four cylinder that achieves 35 mpg on the highway (yes, you read that correctly) to the new hybrid, the Korean car makers are making strides.  Let’s not forget that direct injection turbo charged four cylinder 2.0 liter putting out 274 hp while still achieving 34 mpg on the highway.  That alone is impressive but really, all these numbers are impressive in their own right.

The look of both these cars is distinctive.  Exterior styling has sculpting and strong lines while interior styling in both is just terrific.  No longer are these “budget cars.”  The reality is that these are terrific looking cars.  I overheard that a certain OEM was cursing under their breath at the New York Auto Show when the numbers on the hybrid and turbo engines were released.  That in itself is a sign of the changing times.  Do not just take my word for it just look at these cars.

I have recently been telling my friends how great Hyundai and Kia have become.  They have come a long way.  They have the product but the problem for some is still perception.  Many of my closest friends (car friends and non-car friends alike) have scoffed telling me “I would never drive a Kia/Hyundai.”  When I ask why, they exclaim how “junky” (their term not mine) they are.  I am going to venture a guess that the new Optima (which is just gorgeous) and new Sonata (again, a real looker) might help change their minds.  If not, it really ends up being their loss.  I am not sitting here and blindly saying these two heavily refreshed cars are the absolute best in the segment (they will be for some consumers).  There are plenty of great cars in this midsize segment to choose from.  I am merely saying this is a wake up call and the other OEM’s need to be watching and taking notes.  Kia and Hyundai should be seen as a serious threat because they are coming for you.

2011 Hyundai Sonata

2011 Hyundai Sonata Interior

2011 Hyundai Sonata

Next Generation Ford Focus Revealed!

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The Focus has been a staple in the Ford line up since 1998. Originally available as both a sedan and a hatch, the car was versatile and overall a great value. Things have changed in recent years and the Focus is currently only available in sedan form. Further along those lines of change, the car is no longer the game changer it once was. Ford is looking to change all that with this next generation Focus.

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The new Focus will be the car that truly launches and embodies the “ONE Ford” strategy. That is one car sold globally. Focus will share over 80% of its parts with the European version. Even further, the European model and U.S. model will launch at the same time. Production will start simultaneously in Europe and North America in late 2010 with sales beginning in early 2011. The platform will be used for 10 global C-class cars. This will amount to almost two million units in annual production by 2012.

2012 Focus 5 Door Hatchback

Arriving both in sedan and hatchback form the Focus will target exceptional fuel economy while advancing the level of technology and quality in a C-segment vehicle. The Focus will feature kinetic design language recently seen on the new Fiesta. “The all-new Focus is at the center of convergence for automotive trends,” said J Mays, Ford group vice president of Design and chief creative officer. “We’ve designed it with an acute understanding of global customers, yet it’s tailored for each individual region. Focus combines the best from Europe, North America and Asia to deliver a level of emotional driving enjoyment never before experienced in a car this size.”

2012 Ford Focus 5 Door Hatchback

Ford is promising new levels of agility and responsiveness being brought to the C-segment with the new Focus. Utilizing multilink rear suspension and semi-isolated front and rear subframes, Ford is saying this will help achieve the desired driving characteristics. Complimenting all this is a all new electric power steering system. This system has been tuned for responsiveness at highway speeds while still remaining light for parking lot speeds.

2012 Ford Focus Sedan

The global powertrain line up in the new Focus will have everything from an EcoBoost four cylinder to a Duratorq TDCi common rail diesel. The North American Focus will launch with a all new DOHC 2.0 liter gasoline engine featuring both DI (Direct Injection) and Ti-VCT (Twin Independent Variable Camshaft Timing). This 2.0 liter is estimated to put out 155 hp and 145 ft-lb through a six speed PowerShift transmission. PowerShift is Ford’s new dual clutch transmission that is also being used in the new 2011 Fiesta. The new 2.0 liter will be E85 capable unlike most engines with DI.

PowerShift 6 speed transmission

2012 Focus Interior

The PowerShift dual dry clutch transmission is sealed. The transmission is said to be maintenance free. The removal of pumps and hoses not only saves weight but helps achieve better fuel economy. Additionally, the new Focus will feature a Hill Start Assist function. This system is sensor based and will activate when an incline is greater then 3 percent. The system will “hold” the brakes for an “instant” (2.5 seconds) which will prevent rollback when stopping or starting on an incline.

The innovative MyFord system announced last week at CES will be available on the new Focus. This will compliment the latest generation Microsoft SYNC system which includes a sophisticated voice control system, bluetooth, and satellite navigation.

2012 Focus Interior

“When the new Focus launches in late 2010, it will be among the global leaders in fuel economy and CO2 emissions,” said Kuzak. “We will continue to pioneer new technologies beyond launch, including a true zero-emission model launching in North America in 2011. Throughout its life cycle, Focus in all forms, in all regions, will demonstrate the Ford commitment to deliver unsurpassed fuel economy on a truly global scale.”

High strength steel is used heavily in the next generation Focus especially in the body shell. The high strength steel comprises 55 percent of the body shell. More then 26 percent of the vehicles overall structure is ultra high strength steel and Boron Steel. This is more then any other Ford product to date. This helps with safety and weight. Due to the extensive use of these materials, the next generation Focus has 25 percent greater torsion rigidity.

“We believe the new Ford Focus will provide consumers with an unmatched driving experience, together with an unrivaled ownership experience,” said Jim Farley, Ford group vice president, Global Marketing. “The Focus brand always has been very special to Ford, and this new global model shows our commitment to developing another generation of exciting and appealing cars.”

The Focus promising to be a lot of things. On paper it sounds great. It even has room for growth with future engines like a sport EcoBoost model in North America perhaps, or possibly a SVT version. The fact remains, we as Americans have been asking for the Focus that Europe has had for years. It seems we will be receiving a car that is in large part just that.  The new Focus should have Honda and Toyota up at night.

MyFord Touch – The iPhone of Car Technology

MyFord Touch

The concept behind MyFord is driver connect technology that will redesign the driver’s interface and how they interact with the car.  This is fusing together consumer electronics ease of use and the rich graphics interfaces used in them.

MyFord Touch Climate Control Screen

“MyFord Touch, combined with new SYNC functionality, creates an experience that will cause people to fall in love with their vehicles again,” said Derrick Kuzak, Ford group vice president, Global Product Development. “It’s not just a technology; it’s an experience – one we hope will have people across the globe looking forward to spending time behind the wheel of their vehicle.”

MyLincoln Touch

MyFord will be branded MyLincoln and MyMercury in the respective brands.  This will not be brand exclusive rather just exclusive to the Ford brands.

MyFord Touch 3D Navigation

The MyFord Touch system will be used with an available 8-inch touch screen LCD at the top of the center stack.  Also information will be displayed using two 4.2-inch on both sides of the speedometer.  Five way switches will be on each side of the steering wheel controlling the corresponding 4.2-inch screens.

“The steering wheel has all the necessary functions available in a very compact area, right where your hand falls as you grab the wheel,” said Johnson. “The five-way buttons will feel familiar to anyone who has used a mobile phone or MP3 player. Drivers aren’t forced to use a quirky or unfamiliar interface like a joystick or rotary knob.”

The left 4.2-inch display will feature information and settings for the vehicle, fuel economy, mechanical status and safety features.  The right 4.2-inch display will feature infotainment information, audio settings, climate control, phone communications and navigation menus.  The features in the right hand display will also be available in the 8-inch center stack display.  This display will replace many traditional buttons.  The MyLincoln will take the 8-inch display a step further by providing fingertip slider controls on the touch screen.  These sliders will control the audio volume and or fan speed.  When using your finger on the slider a LED chaser will give visual representation as to the changes being made.

The 8-inch touchscreen in the center stack is the key to this interface Utilizing a “four-corner” solution to the layout design.  The four corners are phone, navigation, climate and audio/entertainment functions.  Touching the desired corner will always bring up the corresponding application no matter what screen you are currently in.  Voice commands can be used to adjust most controls.

The next generation of Microsoft’s SYNC system is behind the scenes running the show.  This is no longer a add on black box.  SYNC is now a fully integrated part of the car.  MyLincoln will be standard in all future Lincoln’s beginning with the 2011 Lincoln MKX.  MyFord technology will be available in all future Ford products.  Ford pretty much just announced the iPhone of car technology.

Features available through MyFord Touch, powered by SYNC include:

Media Hub
  • Additional USB port for a total of two USB 2.0 inputs
  • SD Card slot
  • RCA A/V input jacks
Internet Connectivity
  • Full WiFi capability including Internet “hot spot” connectivity and a built-in browser for use while in “Park” (late availability)
  • Integrated browser supports tabbed page navigation, “drag” to pan and scroll and a provides a 3-D carousel for bookmark browsing
  • Support for on-screen and USB-connected keyboards
  • RSS feed aggregator and text-to-voice reader
  • Mobile in-car WiFi “hot spot” capability through USB-installed air card or USB mobile broadband modem
Phone
  • Phone book contact photo download and 3-D carousel browsing
  • Birthday reminders
  • Enhanced error correction and reporting
Voice Recognition
  • Direct speech commands and “flattened structure” for quicker, more responsive voice control
  • Voice-command activation of selected climate control functions
    Voice commands will be available for most radio functions, including AM/FM, HD Radio and SIRIUS/XM® Satellite Radio
  • SIRIUS Game Finder application will facilitate automatic voice tuning for desired sporting events using commands such as “Tune to Detroit Lions game” or “Show NBA games”
Navigation
  • Improved visual presentation of SYNC Traffic, Directions & Information app including directional arrows, street names, and distance markers
  • Map-based navigation app provided via an optional SD Card
  • SD Card navigation includes SIRIUS Travel LinkTM services such as weather maps, movie listings, gas prices, and sports scores
  • SD Card navigation also adds cities point-of-interest information including ratings and amenities
  • Map data includes 3-D visual landmarks
Climate Control
  • MyTemp personalization allows the driver to store a preferred temperature, which is then accessible with a single touch of the MyTemp button
  • Different MyTemp settings can be programmed to different keys; multiple drivers in a household can each have unique MyTemp settings
Audio
  • AM/FM/CD, SIRIUS/XM satellite radio, USB-connected MP3 players and memory sticks
  • New HD Radio capability
  • Song tagging capability via HD Radio, allowing listeners to identify song information and store it for later use
  • Browse tracks by artist, scan lists of tracks with identical names, and browse through devices without having to change audio sources
  • 3-D carousel album cover art and photo viewing displays allow easy scanning of available material, especially combined with Gracenote Media Management
  • Media player equipped with new “Podcast” source category
  • Enhanced Bluetooth® audio support including metadata, which allows additional command and control functions for capable mobile devices
Vehicle Setting Personalization
  • Ambient lighting color control using a 3-D carousel browser
  • Custom welcome messages
  • Saved and transferrable user profiles that can be ported between Ford vehicles equipped with MyFord
  • Door keypad code control using on-screen menus
  • Where available, Active Park Assist and Rear View Camera displays
  • Image and video uploading via SD card slot or USB 2.0 ports