Ford vows fixes for touchy MyFordTouch

Self-service upgrades arrive via flash drives next year

Yahoo Autos

When it works, the MyFordTouch system in new Fords and Lincolns offers some graceful ways to manage music, navigation and climate control in one screen. The problem is that getting it to work consistently seemed to require14 fingers and a doctorate in computer science. Today, Ford promised a major upgrade -- but don't look for it right away.

While it was popular at launch last year, and still outpaces similar systems from most competitors, MyFordTouch's 8-inch touch screen setup left many owners wishing Ford had just left their old-fashioned radio knobs alone. Dealers complained they had to run hour-long clinics to train customers in the system; Consumer Reports found it so distracting it couldn't recommend the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX. And the complaints have sent Ford's scores on quality surveys plunging.

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Ford says the MyFordTouch update revamps more than 1,000 screens in the system with cleaner graphics and easier-to-read fonts, along with software fixes to improve navigation and response speed to the touch screen. The system can now sync with the Apple iPad and other tablets, and can understand spoken commands better.

In what appears to be a first for a large U.S. automaker, Ford will mail USB flash drives to current owners starting early next year, along with instructions for performing the upgrade at home. The upgrades will come standard in 2013 models, and people who don't want the hassle can take their cars into the dealership for a free update -- or drive to a different dealer to find a car with fewer than 1,000 screens.

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