Ford Sync now available in Australia, standard in Focus range

Now a standard feature across the Focus range, Ford’s Sync system is finally available in Australia. According to Ford, Sync will become available on other Ford vehicles soon.

The system, built on a cut-down version of Microsoft Windows, allows drivers to use their mobile phones and access their digital music collection in a hands-free manner via voice recognition.

A phone’s contact list is downloaded when it’s paired up via Bluetooth to the Sync system. The driver can flick the Voice Recognition button on the steering wheel and then make a call via a voice command, such as “call Joe Bloggs”.

Sync also allows the driver hands-free access music stored on a USB stick or compatible MP3 player. Again the system is able to recognise, without any coaching, album and track names, as well as genres and artists.

Our impressions

We had a limited amount of time with the Sync system, but unless we were trying to deliberately mess with the system’s mind, the voice recognition worked nearly flawlessly. Unlike previous Ford voice command systems, such as those currently fitted to the Fiesta, Mondeo and Ranger, the Focus’ Sync system shows a truncated list of available commands.

According to Ford, Sync will recognise up to 150 voice commands. Unfortunately, during our brief play, the system was unwilling to inform us either on the dashboard screen or via voice all of its commands, referring rather unhelpfully to the manual.

Ford says that it tuned the system to better recognise the Australian English accent. Local Sync-equipped models also use an Australian accent voice — although to our ears, it sounds pretty much the same as the generic English voice we’ve heard on overseas Fords.

Disclaimer: Derek Fung travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Ford Australia.


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Derek Fung

Derek Fung

Derek has a lifelong love for all things automotive, from the dullest Camry to record shattering Bugattis. Prior to starting up Between the Axles he was a reviewer for CNET Australia and the founding editor of its Car Technology channel. [Read more]