Dearborn, Mich. - Ford is launching the first major upgrade to its MyFord Touch and My Lincoln Touch user interface, criticized by many consumers as being difficult to master.
The upgrade will appear first in the 2013 Ford Flex and Taurus models reaching dealer showrooms this spring and will roll out to all new 2013 vehicles that offer MyFord Touch, the company said.
On top of that, Ford is offering the upgrade free to current owners of MyFord Touch- and MyLincoln Touch-equipped vehicles. Consumers can take their vehicle to a car dealer for the upgrade or self-install via a USB flash drive containing the software updates. The USB stick is being mailed out this week to more than 300,000 MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch users.
Although "MyFord Touch has been continuously improved with each successive vehicle launch since 2010," the company said, the latest upgrade is the system's "first major software upgrade."
The upgrade, developed by Ford and Microsoft engineers, is based on feedback from vehicle owners, dealers and employees and includes a simpler interface with faster performance, Ford said. The touchscreen interface incorporates simpler graphics and bolder text, faster response time so drivers can tap controls quickly, and improved voice recognition, the company continued. Vehicles with GPS navigation will also get improved destination entry for GPS navigation and updated maps on a provided SD card.
Engineers also added new features, such as better phone compatibility, support for tablet computers and Audible audiobooks, and improved destination entry on navigation-equipped vehicles.
The USB stick mailed to current owners will be accompanied by a notification letter, detailed instructions for the 60-minute download, and an updated user guide. A video of the installation process can be found at
, combines two cellphone-like five-way control switches on the steering wheel, two color LCD displays flanking the speedometer, a larger color touchscreen in the center stack between the driver's and front-passenger seats, and voice activation to control a vehicle's entertainment and information systems. MyFord Touch also includes touch-sensitive capacitive switches in the center stack to control radio and HVAC functions.
With the launch, Ford evolved its Sync system beyond delivering voice control over a vehicle's entertainment systems, Bluetooth-connected cellphones, and USB-connected MP3 players. Sync also features two USB ports, SD Card slot, RCA A/V inputs, and Wi-Fi, which turns a vehicle into a mobile hot spot when a cellular USB modem is inserted.