Taking a design cue from audio systems of more than a half-century ago, Ford is adding radio volume and tuning knobs to the version of MyFord Touch being introduced on its high-end Super Duty pickup trucks for 2013.
A company press release says working persons wearing gloves will appreciate this new feature, but it makes no mention of the needs of automobile drivers who might also appreciate being able to tune the radio with warm fingers on chilly mornings.
The addition of knobs is the latest in a series of revisions aimed at simplifying the controversial system, which features a combination of voice controls and a touch screen in place of more conventional switches and knobs.
Since its 2011 introduction, MyFord Touch has drawn numerous customer complaints involving everything from system crashes, slow response time, problems with its ability to interpret voice commands, and buyers simply not understanding how to use it. (See our take, with video: "MyFord/MyLincoln Touch: A touch of intuition, or insanity?")
Problems with MyFord Touch have also been a contributing factor in a drop in Consumer Reports test scores for some Ford vehicles, including the midsized Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX SUVs, both of which are no longer recommended. We’ve also seen a reflection of user-reported problems in our reliability survey.
The carmaker has responded with customer clinics and a series of software and design updates, which include larger on-screen icons and more redundant hard keys. This latest iteration takes those updates a step further and finally allows drivers to bypass the touch-screen entirely for most control functions.
Consumer Reports welcomes the latest improvements to MyFord Touch, and we would like to see Ford make similar changes to the system in all of its vehicles. Hands-free operation of some controls can be a convenience when it works properly, but our experience with previous versions of MyFord Touch have demonstrated that using the system can be more time consuming, frustrating, and distracting than conventional controls.
Sometimes, the best mousetrap is the one that’s been around for years.
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