12 Volt: MyFordTouch This!
For years automobile manufacturers have been leery of new technologies infiltrating the vehicle, especially the dashboard. The auto manufacturers usually left the most advance automotive tech to the aftermarket. They didn't want to take the risk of releasing a product that some customers might not be able to master. But now, the roles have almost been reversed—the OEMs are bringing uber-sophisticated technology to the table, and, essentially, 'beating out' the tried-and-true aftermarket to the punch.
The first salvo of punches arrived 10 years ago when BMW brought the first iDrive system to the US. Then came Audi MMI and Mercedes COMAND. Not to be outdone, Ford recently dropped the most sophisticated system to date in a mainstream vehicle—MyFordTouch. It takes Sync (which is a hit for Ford) and pairs it with a sophisticated user interface. It is part of Ford's plan to be known as the technology auto company. There is only one problem with MyFordTouch—it ain't easy for the average person to use.
With a combination of slides and presses and steering-wheel controls for when the slides and presses don't work, it can frustrate the end user to no end. Car and Driver recently smashed the system in an economy car comparison—the Focus had MyFordTouch. Ford dealerships are now getting a $75 stipend per car just for training the customer on a new MyFordTouch vehicle. Luckily for the aftermarket, most of our top-notch aftermarket head units still work on the tried-and-true touch screen. Lexus has always been known for enhancing the customer experience, and there is a reason why they still use the touchscreen on the LS460 flagship. Jaguar too—from the company that has been known for spotty electronics—the new vehicles run touch screens to make it easier for the end user. Touch screens are simply easier to grasp—especially when barreling down asphalt at 75 MPH.