MyFord Touch blasted by Consumer Reports
This is not the first time Consumer Reports has criticized MyFord Touch.
Photo credit: Consumer Reports
DETROIT -- Consumer Reports' online magazine is firing more strong words at Ford Motor Co. in a scathing blog written about MyFord Touch.
In the blog, published today and titled "Why the MyFord Touch Control System Stinks," author Eric Evarts criticizes Ford's interactive infotainment system.
His summary: "We wouldn't recommend dealing with the frustrations of MyFord Touch on a daily basis even to an adversary."
The interiors of Ford Motor vehicles equipped with MyFord Touch or its Lincoln counterpart, MyLincoln Touch, are nearly without conventional knobs or buttons. Instead, there are flush buttons, steering-wheel controls, a touch screen and voice commands to control navigation, entertainment and climate adjustment.
Evarts, senior automotive editor at Consumer Reports in Yonkers, N.Y., said the magazine is making an effort to be more direct in its reviews. The MyFord Touch blog just happened to be "a very clear picture of something that is a real problem," he said.
An agent of change
It's not the first time the magazine has criticized MyFord Touch. In 2011, Consumer Reports pulled its "recommended buy" status from the 2011 Edge crossover largely because of MyFord Touch.
"Ford knows we object to it," Evarts said. "If this blog is more powerful in getting consumers to understand this system and shy away from it in favor of more vehicles that don't have MyFord Touch on them and get Ford to change the system, then I'm in favor of that."
Evarts said Consumer Reports has tested six cars with MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch -- logging more than 20,000 miles in them -- so engineers are acclimated to the system. And he wrote that they have found other touch-screen control systems, such as Chrysler's, to be less complex and to work better.
In an e-mailed reaction to the blog, a Ford spokesman wrote that Ford listens "closely" and values all feedback on its vehicles.
"That feedback is used to continuously improve our products and we're seeing results from that commitment," wrote the spokesman, Alan Hall.
Hall said a survey of MyFord Touch and MyLincoln Touch owners earlier this year revealed "those who installed the recent software upgrade report a 25 percentage point increase in satisfaction. Also, 71 percent of owners with the new upgrade say they would recommend the system to others."
Buttons, knobs and joysticks
But Evarts says that even with the upgrade, MyFord Touch remains a distraction to drivers and poses a safety threat.
"Ever consider why video games still use separate controllers with physical buttons, knobs, and joysticks? You never have to take your eyes off the screen, where the bad guys could appear suddenly and shoot you," Evarts wrote in his blog. "The same should be true for the view of the road out the windshield while driving."
Evarts said he wrote the blog after reviewing engineers' notes on the 2013 Ford Taurus. The notes articulated the specific problems with the system very clearly. He wanted to outline for consumers why the magazine did not recommend the system. And he wanted other automakers to know what not to do.
For instance, he wrote the touch-sensitive buttons below the screen are difficult to distinguish unless a driver looks directly at them, the voice commands for simple tasks such as changing the radio station or climate control are cumbersome, and on some models the screens are too hard to reach and the pages on them too cluttered with too many buttons.
"This blog does a better job explaining to our readers what the problems are," Evarts said. "It brings it to a level that consumers who drive cars every day can relate to. When you go into a showroom and you see these cars it's kind of dazzling.
"You think I want this, but you don't think about the effects of all that when you're going 70 mph."
You can reach Jamie LaReau at firstname.lastname@example.org. -- Follow Jamie on