Microsoft Sync

Post image for Technology & Style Drive the 2012 Ford Edge Limited Edition

I have been test driving Fords for a few years now and I see an evolution happening. Not only are the autos becoming more stylish, the technology driving them is evolving. I remember first testing out the Ford Sync (when it was known more as Microsoft Sync) in the 2010 Ford Flex. Now, Ford has kept the innovation engine running full steam ahead and it is exemplified in the 2012 Ford Edge Limited Edition.

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I won’t spend too much going through all of the details, but here are some of the highlights that I find to be important. The Ford Edge is a 5-seater with plenty of cargo space, so it is perfect for families. The seats in the back can be folded down (via electronic push-button) in a 60/40 split, giving you ample space to lug a huge amount of “family stuff.” The Edge is considered a crossover, so not quite big enough to be an SUV but not small like a sedan or hatchback. Personally, I find this size to be pretty optimal since you maintain pretty good gas efficiency by keeping the auto size lower but still sit high enough on the road to peer down at people. The estimated MPG, by the way, is 21 city and 30 highway. In my testing, we hit right around 22-23 as a mixture of city/highway.

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The Edge is stylish but in a subdued way. While the front grill is pretty aggressive, the side profile isn’t. It’s funny, you can almost dress up or dress down the Edge to your pleasing – great to go on camping or road trips, or going out for a night on the town. Safety is a key concern for Ford and their technology is growing to meet the needs of increasingly distracting driving conditions. Two features that I have always stated should be standard on any vehicle are present in the Edge, namely, blind spot indicators (called BLIS) and a rear-facing camera for when you back up. These two items should be, in my opinion, required by law. I do believe that the rear-camera will be a standard feature in the coming years. Another feature becoming more common in vehicles these days is the push button starter and the keyless entry system. I find it so difficult now to physically pull the keys out of my pocket to start my old car…yeah, I’m whining but it’s so nice to be lazy. And, the Edge that I tested had the remote start option which allows you to start up your Ford remotely in order to heat up or cool down the interior prior to you getting in.

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Remember way back in the 80’s there was a TV show called Knight Rider where one of the two main characters was a car that talked to you and responded to your voice commands? Of course K.I.T.T. (the name of the car which stands for Knight Industries Two Thousand), did a lot more than just answer commands, he drives “himself”, can remotely come and pick you up, dodge weaponry and a bunch of really cool other things. Sounds like the perfect school taxi to me.

Anyway, the reason I bring up Knight Rider is because after spending about 10 days with the 2010 Ford Flex and getting to know the Ford Sync (powered by Microsoft technology), I started to think that K.I.T.T. isn’t that far out. I mean, there are several things that the Flex can do now that back in the 80’s we never thought could happen.

Before I get into discussing the Ford Sync, I just wanted to mention one feature that I didn’t get to test (because the Flex that I was testing out didn’t come equipped with it). There is a feature called Active Park Assist which helps you not only parallel park your car, it will also help you find a space that the car could fit into. Using a bunch of built in ultrasonic sensors, the Flex will scan empty parking spaces as you drive by (unless you live in San Francisco or New York where parking spaces just don’t exist). Once a space is found, with just a few button clicks, you take your hands off the wheel and the car basically parks itself, perfectly. I wish that I could have been able to test this feature out, but I really wanted to focus a bit more on the Ford Sync functionality.

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Before I get into more writing about the Ford Sync, perhaps you should see it in action. Here is a quick video that was filmed on the road showing a few of the many Ford Sync commands at work:

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I have not had a new car in over 10 years. And, I had always thought that American Cars were lagging behind foreign autos in so many ways: design, styling, features and especially, technology. My perspective has now flipped about 180 degrees, especially around the technology factor. Here’s why…

This is an on-going series about the 2010 Ford Flex. Ford has graciously loaned me a Flex for two weeks in order for me to fully experience not only the car, but also the technology, specifically Microsoft Sync. I have now been driving the Flex for about 3-4 days and am really starting to fall in love. For some background information, this is the first “car review” that I have done. I won’t be reporting on that much of the car itself but more around the brains within it. I thought that before I spend time specifically on the Ford Sync, I would mention some of the other “techy” features that power the Ford Flex and then devote some other article(s) to the Sync.

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For starters, here is a bit of information about the 2010 Ford Flex model that I’m driving:

  • Model – Ford Flex SEL
  • Starting MSRP – $31,750
  • Price as tested – $41,555 (w/ SEL-Convenience Package)
  • MPG City/Hwy – 16/22
  • Features (just mentioning a few) [click to continue…]

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