DEARBORN, Michigan — Sync 3, the latest version of Ford's in-car communication and entertainment system, will debut on the 2016 Ford Escape SUV and Fiesta sedan and hatchback, scheduled to begin arriving at Ford dealerships later this summer.
Sync 3 is part of the optional $995 SE appearance package on the 2016 Fiesta, according to Ford spokesman Alan Hall.
The package also includes 16-inch eight-spoke wheels, a spoiler on sedan models, HD radio, a 6.5-inch color touchscreen, aluminum full-size spare wheel, foglamps with chrome surround, leather shift knob, driver-seat lumbar support and unique sport cloth seat trim.
Sync 3 is standard on the 2016 Fiesta Titanium and ST models.
Hall said consumers should note that on the base trim level of the 2016 Fiesta S model, the standard connectivity system is Sync 1, the automaker's first-generation system with a 4.2-inch display screen, voice activation, 911 Assist and AppLink.
The Sync 3 option on the Escape SE trim level is part of a $1,395 package that includes a Sony nine-speaker audio system and other features. Sync 3 is standard on the Titanium trim level.
First introduced on some models for the 2008 model year, Sync allows drivers to operate mobile phones and other digital devices using voice commands or the vehicle's controls. In addition to phone calls, other Sync functions include text messaging, music, navigation, and traffic and weather information.
According to Ford, the new Sync 3 features faster response time, conversational voice recognition, better integration with smartphone apps, the ability to get software updates via Wi-Fi and enhanced 911 Assist for subscription-free calling in an emergency.
The latest version of Sync also has a more intuitive, smartphone-style, graphic interface that improves on the previous screen with tile-like icons, larger fonts and familiar swipe and pinch controls.
"Sync always has been about providing a safer way for our customers to connect their smartphones in order to keep their eyes on the road and hands on the wheel," said Mark LaNeve, Ford's vice president of U.S. marketing, sales and service, in a statement.
"Customers continue to tell us they want this technology, and they want it to be fast and easy to use — like a smartphone. Sync 3 delivers on that request."
Although the Escape and Fiesta will be the first models to get Sync 3, Ford says it expects to roll out the new technology to other models for the North American market by the end of 2016.
Edmunds says: Buyers of the 2016 Ford Escape and Fiesta will appreciate the new Sync 3 features, especially the more user-friendly graphic interface.