That SYNCing Feeling Persists - 2013 Ford Focus ST Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Ford Focus ST Long Term Road Test

2013 Ford Focus ST: That SYNCing Feeling Persists

March 29, 2013

2013 Ford Focus ST

Okay, this really is thrashing an expired equine, because there's a nearly identical photo and post right here from a month ago. However, I fear that with each passing glitch and shrug of our collective shoulders, that Ford is getting a pass on the persistent problems inherent with SYNC and MyFordTouch. I get the feeling we're all just saying, "Yeah, that's part of the package. They all do that," and to me, that ain't right.

I'm not exaggerating when I say there's at least one anomaly per drive in this car. Unfortunately, this usually requires a power cycle of one or more devices, sometimes the car itself, which can be highly inconvenient to say the least. I happened to be essentially parked when this popped up on the screen and it is the epitome of what I'm trying to illustrate. Over the course of just two days and perhaps a half-dozen drives, I had radio presets disappear, the audio go completely silent, my phone pairing went missing, and so on.

Look. Other than the infotainment interface, I love, love, love this car, but as a car. To me it represents the GTI that Volkswagen forgot how to build a number of years ago. Way to go Ford. It still feels really special each time I drive it. It never fails to impress passengers with its dynamics, and it looks pretty darn cool from every angle, as well.

So, am I off base here thinking this "They all do that" excuse for SYNC and MyFordTouch is lame?

Chris Walton, Chief Road Test Editor @ 8,834 miles


Comments

  • alex4515 alex4515 Posts:

    Not at all. That IS lame. I would be 100% pissed off if it did that while nearly brand new. Stop adding tech that doesn't work and that does not significantly improve the experience...

  • agentorange agentorange Posts:

    It's an excuse used by Ford all over the world for decades. It did not work for my Dad in the 1960s, so why should we put up with it now? We are being used to beta test all this new tech and I'm getting a bit PO'd by it.

  • seppoboy seppoboy Posts:

    The auto manufacturers such as Ford are shooting themselves in the foot with annoying and unreliable features, especially the modern technology trappings. The basics of car mechanicals are better than ever, with real durability and less maintenance. As a result, many of us will simply defer purchasing a new car, our older cars still work fine, and who wants to pay top dollar for new cars that drive the owners crazy? Better to keep the old, proven vehicles on the road as many years as possible until they A) fix the unreliable new technologies and B) agree to package features in a way buyers prefer. Why are all the stick shift cars unavailable with leather interior or sunroofs, for example? It's enough to make an enthusiast turn away from current offerings.

  • pjm75 pjm75 Posts:

    I have an ST3 from back in mid October, and I'll agree that the Sync and MyFordTouch is a work in progress, but I have never had the missing camera screen.

  • kiotae kiotae Posts:

    Don't start it in reverse and you won't get that message. You seem to have a particularly glitchy MFT, have you updated to the most current version? I have zero issues. It's not the best system for sure, but at the car's price point, it doesn't seem terrible to me either.

  • azrcd azrcd Posts:

    It's a real doubled edged sward in my opinion. On the one hand I completely agree with you and furthermore everyday "tech" stuff that doesn't work is a major pet-peeve to me. Back in 2005 I bought my first Mac since the one I owned in the '90's. And you know what? I had that computer until 2011. Never crashed, never needed to restore from a back up, maybe took it to the Apple store 3 times, but I only major issue I remember was having the bluetooth hardware fixed under warranty once. It made me a Mac convert. (Now my replacement Mac has not been as reliable, but that's for a different discussion.) I'm an ST owner and the only other car I considered was a WRX (mix of utility performance and price.) The point I'm trying to make is that when you compare the "radio" in the Subie to the Ford, I almost want to say, at the very least I have all that up to date tech that works some/most of the time rather than a basic radio and crappy bluetooth phone support that was clearly added as an after thought. It's a tough call. On a side note I've had some QC issues on my car right out of the factory, the big one being a seriously improper fitting and leaking drivers door. For anyone thinking of buying a Ford BE VERY CAREFUL WHICH DEALER YOU PURCHASE IT FROM since their policy essentially forces you return to the selling dealer for these issues when the car is so new. Unfortunately, my selling dealer has less than lackluster service and I feel hasn't corrected the issue. However, no other dealer will look at the car because it's not their responsibility. Ford customer service has been nice, but COMPLETELY unhelpful telling me they can't force a dealer to look at the issue and they will not send a rep to look at my car unless the dealership requests it. I explained that I was not confident in the dealers repair and not happy with the extent to which it was "fixed". They basically said, "If the dealer thinks it's with in spec, then it is." Pretty pissed off at them and I am now telling anyone I can, that's you Sir Internet, about my first experience with an American car.

  • ed124c ed124c Posts:

    I would like to see a tell-all article about which cars have reliable electronics. Perhaps we already know, though. Ford seems to be the worst, but the other brands just seem to have problems with their knobs and touch screens. If you are a buyer and you are tring to make the big decision, the article could close the deal. I have read that if you get a Ford with SYNC only you will be OK. But that means no NAV or sophisiticated stuff. I could live without all that. (Unfortunately, new Ford cars have other problems-- like the low gas mileage of the turbos. So buy with due digilence.)

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    this is disappointing me. I really like this car too, and while it is probably out of my price range, the Fiesta ST was tempting. I don't want some fancy infotainment system though, and if I can't reliably listen to simple terrestrial radio or plug in my ipod and just listen, then that might be a deal breaker.

  • wdrauch wdrauch Posts:

    I've had my ST3 since January with the latest MFT software installed and have never seen this screen. Are you guys leaving the car in reverse when parked? Why? I was always taught to put the trans in 1st gear after shutting off the engine. As far as gripes with MFT, I've never had it lose the station presets, but it is sometimes slow responding to inputs. And if I start the car without having the bluetooth on my phone turned on, it doesn't seem to like to pair even after I've turned on the bluetooth. The most annoying thing is that everytime I plug my phone into the USB the audio system defaults to using USB as the source and plays the first song alphabetically on my phone, even if i had previously been playing from another source.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    So the only two things really wrong with this car (at least during the short time that Edmunds has it) is that it's missing an LSD, and MFT is crap. Unfortunately these two items are major dealbreakers- maybe Ford will do something about it over the next 2-3 years. In fact, maybe Ford should form a temporary joint venture to use Dodge's Uconnect system so that they have a properly working infotainment system!

  • ken428 ken428 Posts:

    @wdrauch, there is a setting for auto play in the usb menu (settings, media player, autoplay). If you turn auto play off, it will not automatically source the usb device when it is plugged in. (I do work for Ford, but I do not speak on behalf of the compa

  • guruguy guruguy Posts:

    There are many threads on Focus ST based forums like FocusSTnation complaining about Sync. The fact that homebrew have been doing Car computers for almost a decade now and Ford can't get it half as nice as that is completely inexcusable. The problem with Sync is that there are so many 'rookie programmer' mistakes that have never been addresses. Aux input being selected after turning the car back on from ACC, slow and clunky interface, a totally outdated Nav system, screens switching (when using the favorites keys) then fading in and out, etc etc. Ford needs to re-write Sync from the ground up, its obvious they are working with spaghetti code as every never update seems to fix some things and break others. This time they need to hire Microsoft or get some real programmers involved no matter what the cost, it would be best for their long term future 'reliability' ratings. If all else fails, they should write a disclaimer and open up the software/system to the homebrew crowd, I guarantee most of the problems would be fixed within weeks if they did this and they wouldn't even have to pay a dime.

  • guruguy guruguy Posts:

    BTW, they did fix the backup camera message with the latest sync update, but now it switches to the AUX input if you put the car in ACC mode then start it back up (without turning it off) instead. They also messed up the favorites buttons in the latest update, by pressing star 1 or star 2 it goes to the proper screen, then it fades out and back in after its already switched... rookie programming mistakes. IMO they should eliminate the fade between screens, it just wastes time to begin with. Switching 2-3 screens takes 5+ seconds of your eyes off the road cause it has to 'fade in and out'. Stupid.

  • azrcd azrcd Posts:

    I had another problem with the Nav / SYNC. The "car" location on the nav screen was hovering off to the right of where my physical car was. This meant that for the most part I stopped getting guidance or if there was a side street close enough to the main road I was on it started routing me from there. The best part of this was that I was using the guidance to get me to a Ford dealer I had not been to before. Pulled off the road, shut the car down and restarted it, still had the issue. Luckily my wife was tagging along in her Toyota and we put the address into her nav and made it there without further problems. (Hopefully Ford realizes this is embarrassing that I needed to use a nav system in a competitors car to get their product to one of their dealers.) Naturally once at the dealer I couldn't get the nav to act up again so they were unable to diagnose it. About 3-4 into the trip home (on a different route / different direction I might add,) it happened again. Luckily I have a friend who's a tech at a Ford dealer and has an ST. He had the same problem without a solution, what he did was disconnect the battery for over 20mins. I did that last night, but cannot yet comment on if it worked. He says he's never had the problem again.

  • sleepyjay sleepyjay Posts:

    Um... take a look at the name on the MFT unit itself: hint it's not Ford, but giant computer company that doesn't exactly have the best track record on completely reliable computery things. Just sayin'.

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