Why the MyFord Touch control system stinks
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Despite some recent updates, MyFord Touch still frustrates us like few other control systems in any other brand's automobiles. (Although our Fisker Karma has even worse controls.) And worse, it is influencing competitors, such as GM, with its Cadillac CUE system.
MyFord Touch leaves the interiors of fitted models almost completely absent any conventional knobs or buttons. Instead, it offers a variety of different ways to enter commands: flush capacitive switches on the center stack, a big center touchscreen, steering-wheel controls, and voice commands. But none are well designed, and combined they make the cars feel really complicated—especially when trying to perform the most common audio and climate adjustments.
There are various versions of the system, and they get worse as they get more advanced and expensive. All systems come with the touchscreen. The base version at least offers two knobs: one for volume and one for fan speed, along with separate climate controls in some models.
The upgrade in Ford models is MyFord Touch with the Sony radio, which incorporates tuning and seek buttons within the volume knob and does away with the separate climate controls. Other buttons and knobs are replaced by flush buttons on a shiny piano-black background.
MyLincoln Touch does away with all knobs. Instead, it uses touch-capacitive bars that look like sliders for volume and fan speed.
But the differences are mostly trivial; it's the fundamental design of the system that's flawed.
- 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.