Sync 3

Sync 3 is Ford’s new infotainment system, replacing the previous MyFord Touch system. It’s currently available on 2016 Ford Escapes and Fiestas when properly equipped. It will be available on all 2017 models.The outgoing system doesn’t generally fare well in reviews. From my experience it was slow, struggled in cold weather and it had its share of glitches, sometimes the Bluetooth connectivity wasn’t working and the entire system had to be reset in order to get it going again. The user experience wasn’t very intuitive and took some time to get used to. That being said, my 2013 Ford Escape was my first car that even had an infotainment system, so all in all, I was quite happy with it.

Now on to the new system, visually it’s more refined and the graphic user interface is much improved. The system’s functionality is where it has really grown. It is much faster, with zero wait time once you make a selection. The user experience is simpler, and functions much like a smartphone with pinch-to-zoom and swipe capability.

Sync 3 also has Siri recognition, so if you’re an Apple user, it enables you to use voice commands in order to send text messages and keep your eyes on the road. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are expected to be enabled in a system update coming in the second trimester of 2016. Most manufacturers already have this integrated into their system, but better late than never I guess.

There are however a few areas where it loses points, these issues aren’t huge problems, but nevertheless, I have to mention them.

The system features AppLink, it lets you use certain apps on your smartphone directly through the car’s interface. Unfortunately, there are currently very few apps that are compatible and most are music related apps. I don’t know about anyone else, but I don’t have a data plan on my phone that allows me to stream music all day, so it’s basically useless. Adding insult to injury, the second Apple CarPlay gets integrated, AppLink will become obsolete.

Also, and this one really grinds my gears, I get in the car, start it up, hit the voice command button to make a phone call, put the car in reverse and back out of the parking spot. Unfortunately, the system can’t handle backing up and making a phone call at the same time, so the call gets cut. Once the person has answered you’re okay to reverse, however, up until that point, even if it’s ringing, the call will cut out.

My final thoughts, Sync 3 is the best infotainment system I’ve ever had, but that isn’t saying much…

Situation Report 1: 2016 Ford Escape

I’ve now been driving my new 2016 Ford Escape for a little over 2-months now. Over that period of time, I’ve completed 10,658 kilometers or 6,623 miles.

As previously mentioned, my 2013 Ford Escape was equipped with the top of the line 2.0 Ecoboost engine, however, this time around I opted for 1.6 Ecoboost engine in order to save on fuel costs. With the 2.0 Ecoboost my fuel efficiency numbers were 11.5 L / 100 km or around 20.5 mpg. So far, with the 1.6 Ecoboost I’ve been doing 9.7 L / 100 km or around 26.1 mpg. A few things to note, every kilometer was done on winter tires (Toyo Observe GSi5), so naturally due to the more aggressive tread pattern, and therefore increased friction with the road, the car will consume more fuel. Also, when traffic permits, I usually travel on the highway at around 115 km/h or around 71 mph and I’ve noticed an unbelievable difference between the fuel consumption at that speed and when traveling anywhere between 90 km/h and 100 km/h. On cruise control at 90 km/h or around 55 mph the car will hold steady at about 6.0 L / 100 km or around 39.2 mpg. The larger 2.0 Ecoboost showed very little difference in fuel consumption at these different speeds. This is something to keep in mind depending on how fast you like to drive.

Now on to the power, there is no way around it, the car is slow. From 0 to 50 km/h it’s actually not bad, however, 70 to 100 km/h is painfully slow. That being said, I was spoiled with the 2.0 Ecoboost. So it’s all a matter of perspective, if you’re used to driving a normal small SUV or sedan that comes with a normally aspirated (non-turbo) engine which would usually range from 1.5 to 2.5 liters, you will be fine with the 1.6 Ecoboost. As for me, I’ve yet to determine if the the drop in fuel consumption, which so far isn’t all that much is worth the drop in power.

Finally, I’ve noticed that when I’m doing frequent accelerations, like when I’m doing a lot of city driving for example, I’ll often notice a burnt smell, very similar to what a burnt clutch would smell like. I’ll keep an eye on this and ask around next time I take the car in for an oil change.

Thankfully, there is nothing else to report on. In a future post, I’ll be writing about the Escape’s most notable update on the 2016 model, the Sync 3 system.

 

 

Shopping for Tires?

In an earlier post I mentioned how the tires of the Ford Escape could be quite expensive because on their size. I used the numbers 235 / 55 / 17 to describe them. But what do these numbers really mean?

They are all rather simple once you break them down and the next time you go shopping for tires you will know what the clerk behind the counter is talking about. Here goes!

Let’s start with the first number, 235. This number describes the width of the tire. It is calculated in millimeters, so this means the Ford Escape’s tires are 235 millimeters wide. The wider the tire, the more rubber on the pavement and hence the more grip you will have. This is why supercars have wider tires, along with other features, it allows them to corner much faster without losing control.

But wide tires aren’t necessarily all good. For instance, a wider tire will not perform as well in the snow, as it has to push through more snow and will spin out more easily. Also, the wider the tire, the more expensive they will be.

The second number is definitely the most misunderstood. You might know that it designates the height of the tire’s sidewall, but what you may not know is that it’s actually a percentage, a percentage of the tires width. Again, if we take the numbers above as an example, the Ford Escape’s sidewall is 55% of it’s width of 235. So the side wall should measure 129.25 millimeters.

Tires with a smaller sidewall are commonly known as low-profile tires, they are usually found on supercars, they provide various handling benefits, but because there is less rubber between the road and wheel or rim, they make a much harsher ride. Opting for a higher sidewall will give you a more comfortable ride. Spend an hour driving a Ferrari and you can expect to have a numb backside!

Finally, the third number is the diameter of the rim. This number is measured in inches. Expect to pay more for the tires and the rims as this number gets bigger.

Hopefully this brief explanation will help you next time you in need for a new set.

2016 Honda Civic Recall

The new 10th-generation 2016 Honda Civic may be a head turner compared to previous models, however it looks like it’s already getting bad press.

Honda has issued a stop-sale and safety-recall notice for 2016 Civics equipped with its base engine, the 2.0 four-cylinder, due to a manufacturing inconsistency that could cause engine damage or failure.

The recall is due to potentially missing or misplaced piston pin snap rings that may cause the engine to stall or fail all together. I’m no mechanic, but I did a little research, and it doesn’t seem like something you would want to go without for a very long time. Hopefully current owners get their recall letters in the mail as soon as possible.

This is a big misstep for a manufacturer known for its engine reliability. It may be true what they say about not buying the first model of a new generation. What do you think?

Sources: Car and Driver, Autoblog

Picture: Honda