* Consumer Reports blasts controls, clutter in touch-screen
* Critique comes six months after Ford updates MyFord Touch
* Ford says users more satisfied with recent upgrade
By Deepa Seetharaman
Aug 22 An influential consumer magazine on
Wednesday lambasted Ford Motor Co's touch-screen
entertainment and navigation system, saying it is distracting,
clumsy and overly complex.
"MyFord Touch still frustrates us like few other control
systems in any other brand's automobiles," Consumer Reports said
in a blog post. "And worse, it is influencing competitors."
Vehicles with the system have few traditional knobs and
buttons. Instead, drivers can change the radio station or
temperature by voice, tapping the touch screen, using controls
on the steering wheel or sensitive buttons on the dashboard.
In its blog post, titled "Why the MyFord Touch control
system stinks", Consumer Reports called the touch-sensitive
buttons "maddeningly fussy" and hard to find while driving.
It can be difficult and time consuming to change the radio
by voice command, the magazine said. Some pages are cluttered
with information, such as a feature that tracks fuel economy
with multiple graphs every five, 10 and 30 minutes.
"This system needs an editor," Consumer Reports said. The
magazine also criticized certain aspects of the MyLincoln Touch
system that Ford uses in its Lincoln brand vehicles.
Glitches in these systems cost Ford several spots in quality
surveys last year. In March, the No. 2 U.S. automaker upgraded
its systems to repair those problems.
"We listen closely and value all feedback on our vehicles -
whether it's from customers or third parties. That feedback is
used to continuously improve our products and we're seeing
results from that commitment," Ford said in a statement.
Ford said surveys showed owners who upgraded were more
satisfied with their vehicles and 71 percent would recommend the
systems to others.
In its blog post, Consumer Reports said the updates made
MyFord Touch faster and more reliable. But those upgrades do not
repair the fundamental flaws of the system's design.
In the 2013 Escape sport-utility vehicle, the corners of the
touch screen can be hard to reach and the font is too small, the
magazine said. Using some features require a drivers' eyes to
stray too long from the road.
"Ever consider why video games still use separate
controllers with physical buttons, knobs, and joysticks? You
never have to take your eyes off the screen, where the bad guys
could appear suddenly and shoot you," Consumer Reports said.
"The same should be true for the view of the road out the
windshield while driving."