Ford Sync 3 Infotainment System Debuts This Summer On Escape, Fiesta

This is the summer that Ford will put all the bad press surrounding its previous in-car infotainment systems to rest – or so it hopes. The automaker announced today that the soon-to-launch 2016 versions of the Ford Escape and Ford Fiesta will have the new Sync 3 infotainment systems. Vehicles equipped with Sync 3 feature updated button layouts and run BlackBerry’s QNX operating system.

Ford is bringing out new 2016 Escape and Fiesta models this summer with Sync 3.

Ford customers will be able to connect their smartphones to the Sync 3 system via Bluetooth. An updated version of Ford’s AppLink lets users control certain apps by voice. The feature displays icons for certain apps when they are present on a user’s smartphone, including iHeart Auto, Glympse, NPR One, Pandora, and Spotify.

Not surprisingly, Sync 3 has additional support for iPhones. It allows users to use Siri (the phone's virtual assistant) via voice for tasks like transcribing and sending texts. Users will be able to summon Siri by pushing the SYNC Push to Talk button on the steering wheel. Ford is working to support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the future.

The Sync 3 features 911 Assist, an emergency service that contacts rescuers in the event of a collision. Car location, seatbelt use and air bag deployment and damage assessments are automatically transmitted to rescuers.

The Sync 3 infotainment system is the latest in Ford's efforts to capture customers with high-tech offerings.

One new feature that’s particularly useful is Wi-Fi support. While the car is within range of the family's wireless network (say, in the garage), Sync 3 can be updated over Wi-Fi.

Ford is betting all the marbles on the new Sync 3. Prior to this, the company partnered with Microsoft for more feature-filled MyTouch infotainment systems in its higher-end cars. Users responded negatively to them – as did some reviewers – due to problems with system crashes and other glitches.

Now all Ford vehicles are expected to sport Sync 3 by the end of 2016. The move to QNX is a boon to the hard-to-kill BlackBerry, which has struggled to regain footing in the smartphone market it once dominated.