New In-Car Tech

Take a Peek: Ford previews next-gen SYNC infotainment system

Ford has debuted the next-generation of its SYNC infotainment system.

Photo courtesy of Ford Motor Company

Ford has previewed the next-generation of its SYNC infotainment system, SYNC 4. The automaker claims that the new system is faster, easier, and simpler to use.

Standard screen size will likely vary by vehicle but Ford is already making it known that 12- and 15.5-inch screens will be available. Ford says that the screens will allow users to multitask without going through various menus. On the 12-inch screen, the screen view can be split into two smaller windows.

The 15-inch screen employs something Ford is calling Adaptive Dash Cards. Frequently and recently used features will display below the main portion of the screen and display information such as the next step in the route or audio controls.

Ford SYNC 4 temperatureWhen users change their ambient temperature setting, this what the screen will show.GIF courtesy of Ford Motor Company

"No matter what size screen Ford customers choose, they will be getting an experience tailor-made for their vehicle," said Gary Jablonski, chief engineer for SYNC technology, Ford Motor Company. "SYNC 4 puts these high-definition screens to work not only by offering even crisper displays, but also by making driving easier with new multi-tasking capabilities."

Th new system features an updated graphic design and interface. The looks of the latest SYNC 3 system are intact, with blacks and blues standing out most, however the overall design will vary by vehicle, as will screen size.

Every new Ford vehicle comes with available FordPass Connect, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hot spot. In vehicles equipped with the newest iteration of the SYNC system, cloud connectivity will be standard, as will voice recognition. The cloud technology allows the system to be able to provide traffic, parking space, and parking cost information in units with navigation.

Ford SYNC 4 volumeThis is what the SYNC 4 interface looks like when users change the volume.GIF courtesy of Ford Motor Company

In its release featuring the new system information, Ford assures that though the system relies heavily on the cloud, it still has on-board processing power to "minimize performance issues." Performance issues are a concern given the glitches experienced with the SYNC 3 system during test drives of the 2020 Ford Escape and 2020 Ford Explorer, something the company issued a statement saying that they are working to remedy.

The owner's manual is now kept on the cloud for easy perusal. This type of functionality is a common offering from luxury automotive brands.

Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and AppLink apps such as Waze will be able to be accessed wirelessly. AppLink will also allow owners to control their vehicle from their smartphone. SiriusXM with 360L is available.

Ford SYNC 4Ford has designed the SYNC 4 system to include easier phone call navigation.GIF courtesy of Ford Motor Company

SYNC 4 is designed to learn user behavior and make suggestions based on previous navigation behavior or prompt users to make phone calls to people you frequently speak to.

The new SYNC 4 system will be available on select Ford vehicles starting in 2020.

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Lincoln will not make a performance variant to compete with Cadillac.

Lincoln

TheLincoln Navigator and Cadillac Escalade have been duking it out at the top of luxury SUV rankings for decades, but there’s one area of the Caddy’s development that Lincoln won’t touch. In a recent interview, a company executive told Ford Authority that it has no plans to create a performance variant of the Navigator to compete with the upcoming Escalade V from Cadillac.

2022 Lincoln NavigatorThe new Navigator features several upscale touches and excellent tech. Lincoln

That means the Navigator will stick with the powertrain it’s carried for years, which is a twin-turbocharged 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that makes 440 horsepower and 510 pound-feet of torque. It’s paired with a smooth ten-speed automatic and either rear- or four-wheel drive. While there’s more than enough power to get the hulking Lincoln moving, it’s not a powertrain that inspires excitement or engagement, and though beefy, it’s tuned much more for comfort and quietness than drama.

Though more than adequate, those specs are a far cry from the numbers we expect from the Escalade V. The full-size bruiser from Cadillac is expected to get a supercharged 6.2-liter V8, similar to the unit seen in the CT5-V Blackwing and Chevrolet Camaro ZL1. We don’t know power numbers yet, but the engine should deliver horsepower and torque numbers in the high 600s.

Cadillac Escalade VThe Escalade V will be massively powerful. Cadillac

That Lincoln is taking a different approach isn’t surprising. The automaker has already announced its intention to go all-electric, so pouring more time and resources into creating a performance gas-powered SUV isn’t in line with its goals. Company executives have also expressed a desire to avoid imitating rivals, so the decision to leave a performance Navigator behind is not surprising.

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First-year Ford F-150 Lightning production numbers doubled
Ford

Ford has begun serial production of the new F-150 Lightning electric pickup truck, marking what could be one of the most important days in recent automotive history. The first trucks rolled off the assembly line at Ford's Rouge Electric Vehicle Center in Michigan today, so America's best-selling truck has finally gone electric. Ford wants to sell two million EVs per year by 2026 and have half of its global sales volume to be electric by 2030.

Ford F-150 LightningPast meets future: Ford's new electric pickup will be the F-150 Lightningautomotivemap.com

Ford has seen extreme demand for the trucks, with 200,000 reservations since the books opened. To deliver, the automaker plans to increase production to an annual rate of 150,000 units by next year, which involved huge investments in the Rouge Center and created hundreds of jobs. Ford's total investment for the F-150 Lightning crests $1 billion across Michigan alone, and has created 1,700 jobs across various facilities in the state.

Ford F-150 LightningThe first production trucks left the factory today.
Ford Motor Company

Though the Lightning starts around $40,000, the most mainstream models will cost much more than that. The F-150 Lightning Pro, while affordable, is a stripped-down truck intended for commercial buyers. It's still a forward-looking electric truck with amazing capabilities, but it lacks much of the creature comforts and features that everyday drivers expect. Higher trims get the latest driver assistance features, including BlueCruise, which is Ford's semi-autonomous hands-free driving assistant. A 12-inch touchscreen is standard, along with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and more.

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