Ford unveiled its new electric SUV, the Mustang Mach-E, ahead of the Los Angeles auto show debuting a whole new kind of vehicle from Ford. It includes the debut of the next generation of its SYNC infotainment system.
The centerpiece is a massive 15.5-inch touchscreen. Ford says it plans to roll out larger screens to all of its vehicles, not just the Mustang Mach-E. The tablet-style screen dominates the dashboard and follows the growing trend for vertical screens that mimic smartphones and tablets.
Despite the tablet-style screen, there is still one physical button with a dial at the bottom of the screen controls the volume. Other automakers have eliminated physical volume control only to receive negative feedback and add it back into future updates. Ford chose to keep the volume dial right from the start and eliminated any such complaints.
This version of Sync gets rid of menus, which can be confusing and frustrating. Although it doesn’t take long to learn where the most commonly used items are found in a typical infotainment system, less frequently used features are often ,ore difficult to locate. Especially for passengers who are new to a vehicle, the easier it is to find things the better.
The new Sync includes machine learning to figure out the driver’s preferences and gets better over time. That learning extends to making personalized suggestions. It could, for example, suggest going to the gym on Mondays once it learns that’s something the driver usually does on that day of the week.
Ford sees it functioning not just as an infotainment system, but as a virtual assistant that anticipates your needs. There are also over-the-air updates to ensure everything is continually improved.
If you’re looking forward to seeing this new version of Sync in your next vehicle, you’ll have to wait a bit longer. The Ford Mustang Mach-E electric SUV is slated for the 2021 model year with the first deliveries not expected until the end of 2020.