I was given the Ford Fiesta ST to test drive for a week, which went back last Wednesday.
I’ve had the opportunity to drive several Ford vehicles to test the infotainment system, SYNC. It’s by far the leader of the pack when it comes to using your mobile handset while driving, safely.
If you are not aware what SYNC is (SYNC 2.0 is almost here), Sync is a technology built by Microsoft that lets drivers control their handsets completely hands-free, with the use of voice commands. Any handset that has Bluetooth will work with Sync, including Android, BlackBerry, iOS, Windows Phone and Symbian handsets – that should cover just about anyone with a smartphone. Essentially you are able to use your smartphone while driving more safely because your eyes are still stay on the road.
I must admit, when I received the Fiesta ST I was more excited about the car (
that ST badge) than the technology I was going to test! As you can see from the above pic, it’s a head turner. I did get a lot of attention while driving it, including a dad with his two kids in the backseat who couldn’t stop grinning at me and looking at the car. Love the racing seats, front grille and it’s overall distinct look.
The Fiesta ST (Sports Technologies) can reach 0-100km/h in 6.9 seconds. And yes, I felt that when taking off, all while keeping to the speed limit. If you want more technical specs – it has a 1.6L 132kW EcoBoost petrol engine, which according to Ford, delivers 20% more power than equivalent engines. It’s also fuel efficient, but I’m just generally terrible at driving efficiently so doubt I experienced any of that.
I’m not even going to try to go into anything more technical about the car or pretend that I know anything about it. You can read more about the Fiesta ST here.
The first thing I did after switching the engine on was pair my smartphone to SYNC. It took me a couple of seconds – it doesn’t get more straightforward than that. And a couple of seconds later I had it playing all my offline music from the Simfy app, which I could control (pause, play, skip track) through voice commands. Although it’s just easier to hit the next button to change the track, but the important thing here for me (after trying other technologies) is that it recognises my accent.
I also opted to download my contacts list to SYNC so I could make phone calls by touching a few buttons or just speaking to it, which works fine. The SYNC system below comes standard on the Fiesta range (prices start at R178 900 and on the ST R274 900).
You can listen to music via your smartphone, USB or auxiliary input (iPod, MP3 player). There is a cradle below the cigarette lighter and ports where I had my phone car charger permanently plugged in. It’s so convenient to have space for stuff without fumbling around for a spot while worrying about cable length. The car has ample slots to hold keys and other bits and bobs. Another plus point for me is the proper size of the cup holders – deep enough for your drink not to spill when you, uh, need to brake quickly. I always comment on this because on my Fiat 500 the cup holders are like an inch deep (why bother) and I’ve spilled drinks MANY times.
There are several reasons that I find the Ford SYNC the best in-car infotainment system:
1. Pairs easily with your handset (less than 30 seconds)
2. It actually understands me (andy my accent) when I use voice commands
3. It has a Sony audio system
4. It starts playing my music from where it stopped the last time when I turn on the engine; or when I remember to turn on Bluetooth again.
5. It works seamlessly – audio is clear and there is no break in transmission
Welcome to Wired to the Web. My name is Nafisa Akabor and I’m a technology journalist covering business and consumer tech for the last 13 years. I’m passionate about start-ups, smartphones, mobile payments, travel tech and electric cars. ✉️ firstname.lastname@example.org