Detroit Bureau on Twitter

Posts Tagged ‘sync’

First Drive: Revamped Edge’s MyFordTouch Needs Tweaks to Reach Full Potential

by on Apr.20, 2011

The 2011 Ford Edge received an extensive exterior freshening as well as industry-first technologies, features and conveniences.

If you base your opinion of the controversial MyFordTouch, the latest iteration of Ford’s revolutionary Sync infotainment system, on an hour or so with the system, your thoughts about it are likely to be negative. But spending a week with the system brings greater understanding.

Is it perfect? No? Despite improvements including a greatly expanded number of commands the system recognizes, it still needs more. Details, details, details. We’ll get to those.

A Smart Source for Auto Reviews!

This Edge is a mid-cycle refresh of Ford’s wildly popular mid-size two-row crossover. There are improvements throughout the vehicle, including upgraded engines, slightly revised styling, bigger wheel options and improved fuel economy. But MyFordTouch is stealing most of the headlines.


First drive: Lincoln MKS EcoBoost

EcoBoost is wonderful, but Lincoln's flagship sedan needs new infotainment interface.

by on Nov.11, 2010

The Lincoln MKS has a rather conservative design, but the performance of it's optional 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 is anything but conservative.

Here’s the problem with the Lincoln MKS, as it stands for 2011. The Ford Edge/Lincoln MKZ twins.

Yes, the MKS’ new EcoBoost engine is awesome, providing an extra 82 horsepower over the standard 3.7-liter V-6 with better fuel economy to boot. But the rest of the car is largely unchanged.

This year, Ford is introducing MyFordTouch – MyLincolnTouch in Lincolns – a new graphical interface for the automaker’s Sync infotainment system. First to get the new system are the Edge and MKX corssovers.

Reviews You Can Use!

Instead of the slick soft-touch buttons or optional touch screen system, the MKS, Lincoln’s flagship car, soldiers on with Ford’s old-style center console, old-tech instrument panel and antiquated steering wheel design.

First Drive: 2011 Ford Edge

Refreshed crossover features updated engine lineup and infotainment options.

by on Aug.23, 2010

The 2011 Ford Edge Sport features 22-inch forged aluminum rims.

Just looking at the skin of the refreshed 2011 Ford Edge hardly scratches the surface of what’s new here.

Within the year, there will be three engine choices instead of just one. Two will have more power and all will have better fuel economy. On top of that is MyFord Touch, a huge upgrade on Ford’s Sync infotainment and communication system.

Find your technology here!

The power increases from the 3.5- and 3.7-liter V6s were obvious with a push of the right foot. And while the upgraded infotainment systems are a huge step forward, there’s still some work to do to make them more user friendly.

While some aspects of the infotainment system still has a few bugs, the completely reworked interior it resides in is more stylish and more high-tech.

Ford showed the updated Edge to journalists last week at an in-depth preview in Nashville. After listening to presentations on everything that is new with the Edge, we spent time on some beautiful twisting roads where we found the Edge, and especially the Edge Sport, to have a noticeable bump in power.

Four Cars to Get Excited About

Automakers ready some groundbreaking new models.

by on Aug.19, 2010

A prototype 2011 Chevrolet Volt wends its way through Los Angeles traffic. The official retail launch is November 2010.

It’s going to be a fun year for automotive journalists and anyone who loves cars. Here is a list of four cars we’re looking forward to driving this year.

Some of the cars on this list are there because they are true game changers, an over-used term, but one that really applies here. The world is about to change with the world’s first two mass production electric vehicles expected to start production at the end of the year. If you think this country uses too much oil, foreign or domesticly produced, these cars should be on your radar.

But the others are here because they also advance the issue of increased fuel economy. So here we go with the list:

First Drive: 2011 Kia Sportage

A more expressive design and a new all-wheel-drive system for the longest-running Kia nameplate in the U.S. market.

by on Jul.21, 2010

Covering Kia value basics, while adding spice, Sportage can now reach a $30,000 sticker price.

In an automotive world where the term “all-new” is frequently abused, the description actually applies to the 2011 version of Kia’s Sportage sport utility vehicle.

This sub-compact “cute ute” has been around for three iterations going all the way back to 1995. Then Sportage was a somewhat crude, body-on-frame five-passenger truck with a meager 94-horsepower 2.0-liter four-banger engine.

A switch to unit-body construction eight years ago vastly improved the Korean-built entry in what by then had become a serious class of vehicles dominated by the Toyota RAV4, Honda CRV, Nissan Rogue and the Ford Escape, to name but a few of the big league players.

The Gen 4 Sportage debuting this August continues the refinement trend evident as the whole class evolves. Sportage is also an attempt by Kia to move away from the “value for money” positioning that is still at the heart of all its entries by substituting more aggressive styling and more sophsiticated features to  make it more of an “emotional” buy for the young families that are its target market.

To accomplish this Sportage takes its design cues from the “Kue” concept that debuted during the 2007 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. So here comes the production version - a longer, lower, sleeker Sportage, at just under 175 inches and overall length. The three additional inches added are used behind the spilt-folding second row of seats to add some badly needed cargo room, which along with a new rear suspension allows for an SAE rated capacity of 56 cubic feet.

Cute Utes!

Still built on a unit-body frame, Sportage has MacPherson struts in the front and with new “side-load” coil springs to reduce friction. An all-new, multi-link rear suspension system is used in conjunction with new dampers and coil springs mounted separately to minimize intrusion into the space behind the split-folding second row seat.

More upscale items are available to complement the new look, including a segment first air-cooled driver’s seat, keyless entry with a start stop button, and later this year, the next generation of Microsoft Sync technology – dubbed UVO, which simplifies voice commands to speed operation of the phone, am/fm or satellite radio and cd player.

“Sportage offers Kia the opportunity to attract an entirely new and more sophisticated customer,” Michael Sprague, vice president marketing & communications, Kia Motors America (KMA) told TDB. Maybe, but there are many existing owners who will be natural prospects, too.

Power will come from a 2.4-liter, DOHC four-cylinder engine rated at 176 horsepower, which is three more than the now discontinued 173 hp 2.7-liter V6 engine. It’s smooth, and peppy, particularly in front-wheel-drive versions (70% of sales projected) although it’s still noisy at higher operating speeds.  When mated with the corporate six-speed automatic transmission shared with Hyundai, which also has versions of the Theta II four-cylinder, as the new engine is called, EPA ratings of 22 city and 31 highway are posted – more than the old V6 engine delivered.

A day of test-driving top of the line EX models in both front-drive and all-wheel drive configurations south of San Francisco, showed that real world economy ranging between 19 mpg to 25 mpg is possible.

All-wheel drive in this class is mostly a marketing ploy, but a new Magna supplied system paired to either a six-speed manual transmission (Base) or a six-speed automatic transmission actually increases the rated towing capacity by 500 pounds to 2,000. (The six-speed manual is also a marketing ploy with only a couple of percent of customers expected to actually buy one.)

Dubbed the Dynamax AWD system, it was co-developed by Kia Motors Corporation and Magna International. Dynamax monitors driving conditions and “anticipates” AWD system requirements, according to KIA, which only react to conditions after they occur.  This offers drivers the benefits of improved lateral stability while cornering, as well as the removal of unintended over- and under-steering by reducing traction to the front and rear axles to adjust for what a computer thinks is the driver’s intent.


Platforms and Partnerships Mark Detroit Telematics Conference

Safety and infotainment systems becoming "must haves" for connected car buyers - and revenue-hungry suppliers.

by on Jun.05, 2009

Ford's Sync system has become one of the more popular - and most flexible entries into the expanding world of Telematics.

Ford's Sync system has become one of the more popular - and most flexible entries into the expanding world of Telematics.

Telematics – wireless communication to and from vehicles – has reached critical mass, or so seemed the consensus among attendees at this week’s Telematics Detroit 2009 in Novi, Michigan. Telematics – wireless communication to and from vehicles – has reached critical mass, or so seemed the consensus among attendees at this week’s Telematics Detroit 2009 in Novi, Michigan.

“Every major automaker is planning to deploy the technology,” according to Phil Magney, vice president of iSuppli Corporation and head of the firm’s automotive practice. “Are telematics services necessary to sell cars? The consensus, increasingly, is ‘yes,’” he said.

That’s because car buyers, especially younger ones, expect to enjoy much the same “connectivity” in their vehicles as they have in their homes and other gathering places. Cars have to accommodate iPods and other MP3 players, smartphones, and whatever other hot new devices the consumer electronics industry can dream up over the course of a vehicle’s lifecycle.

Trouble lies in the mismatch between the short product development cycles common to consumer electronics and the much longer timeframes required for cars. Designing for an unpredictable future is a complex problem, but automotive system suppliers are responding with so-called open development platforms that they promise will be future proof. The platforms are similar if not identical to those now being used by third party vendors developing smartphone applications. Automakers know they need to capitalize on that same kind of creativity, though they have to be much more careful in doing so. (more…)