Although Ford hasn’t officially said which new vehicles will get their new iteration of their Sync infotainment system, I was told by a source that the 2021 Ford F-150 will not only get Sync 4 system, will also get a large touchscreen. Now what large means remains to be seen, but you can assume it will be from 12-15 inches.
Last summer I drove a Ford Explorer ST that had a 12.3-inch touchscreen with the Sync 3 system on it. Some of my journalist friends found it intrusive, I actually thought it was just the right size and was well integrated into the dashboard set up. I’m predicting the screen in the 2021 F-150 will be a 15.5-inch version, which sounds big, but for a large vehicle like the F-150 it might be just the right fit. So, if Ford puts a large touchscreen on the big, redesigned F-150 it will be a good thing as far as I’m concerned.
What Vehicles Will Get The Ford Sync 4 System?
Right now, Ford is remaining tight lipped. The only vehicle confirmed by Ford is that the new Mustang Mach-E will get the large touchscreen and the Sync 4 system. I saw it with my own eyes in a Mach-E prototype that I sat in.
However, Ford has said that many new vehicles starting later this year will get the new infotainment system. And as I referenced, I’m told that the 2021 Ford F-150 will be one of the vehicles to get the new system.
What Are Some Of The New Features OF the Ford Sync 4 System?
Featuring cloud-based connectivity and conversational voice recognition, SYNC 4 delivers comprehensive search results and more functionality for customers. This includes cloud-based optional navigation to keep up with the latest traffic information, the ability to quickly browse digital owner’s manuals, and wireless compatibility with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and AppLink apps from smartphones and mobile devices.
“SYNC has always featured the best of Ford innovation to help our customers stay connected to and manage their busy lives as they move about the world,” said Hau Thai-Tang, Ford chief product development & purchasing officer. “With this new fourth-generation technology, we’ve evolved SYNC into an intelligent, voice-activated, in-vehicle digital assistant.”
Ford’s new SYNC 4 system will feature different looks and capabilities depending on the vehicle, screen size and customer needs, and all versions will provide users with the power to multi-task efficiently and view the information they need at the right time without needing to swap or tab through multiple screens.
On all-new available 12-inch screens, multi-tasking will be enabled by splitting the screen into larger and smaller windows. For example, if a customer wants to keep their navigation route on the screen while changing songs, they can choose to display the radio or other streaming music services in the smaller display area. Customers will be able to quickly scroll through nine different features to display as Information on Demand, making SYNC 4 easier to use.
With large 15.5-inch screens, SYNC 4 features the addition of Adaptive Dash Cards.
Instead of having to navigate menus every time you want to launch an app, recently used or popular features are listed horizontally underneath the main portion of the screen in individual dash cards. These cards display helpful information such as the next step on your route, but they are interactive as well. You can pause or skip songs directly through the card instead of having to bring up your music player, and similarly you can view your phone status or hang up calls through the card as well.
“No matter what size screen Ford customers choose, they will be getting an experience tailor-made for their vehicle,” said Gary Jablonski, chief engineer for SYNC technology, Ford Motor Company. “SYNC 4 puts these high-definition screens to work not only by offering even crisper displays, but also by making driving easier with new multi-tasking capabilities.”
Cloud-Based Connectivity For Sync 4
Every new Ford vehicle on the road has as an option, the Ford Pass Connect system with a 4G LTE Wi-Fi Hotspot. This technology will be integrated into Sync 4 as well Navigation is fully connected to and informed by the internet with maps that are frequently refreshed with the latest available traffic and construction information, ensuring customers are getting the most up-to-date info for their routes. Ford also equipped SYNC 4 with optional navigation with the ability to share parking space availability and prices.
By taking advantage of state-of-the-art, cloud-based voice processing, SYNC 4 can understand conversational requests, such as “Find me the best Thai restaurant,” and offer data-based suggestions to drivers. Staying in contact with friends and family also becomes easier, with natural speech recognition enabling communication via SMS and email.
And while SYNC 4 will rely heavily on the cloud, it will still retain on-board processing power to minimize performance issues in dead zones – meaning your road trip is in good hands even when you go off the beaten path.
Available machine learning capability also means SYNC 4 can automatically learn your preferences and make helpful suggestions at the right time based on previous usage. SYNC 4 will make destination suggestions based on your previous navigation behavior and can even prompt you to make phone calls to people that you frequently speak to.
Wireless Phone Connection For Ford F-150
SYNC 4 offers even more convenience by letting customers cut the cord. For the first time, Ford is implementing wireless implementation of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as SYNC AppLink apps such as Waze or Ford+Alexa.
Customers will continue to be able to use both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to enable simultaneous operation of in-vehicle entertainment and mobile device navigation while providing calls, music, and other features to be controlled through the vehicle's display. Available wireless charging capability also means you can juice up your compatible smartphone even while leaving the cords at home.
In addition to these features, Convenience Controls enabled by AppLink allow for the control of various vehicle features when equipped, right from your smartphone, such as lighting, climate or the radio.
I wrote recently about how the F-150 gained in a recent J.D. Power Dependability Study based upon the improvements with the Sync 3 system. So barring issues with Sync 4, Ford should make even more gains with Sync 4. Personally, I love technology and have no issues with these large screens. Just make them responsive and intuitive.
Jimmy Dinsmore has been an automotive journalist for more than a decade and been a writer since high school. His Driver’s Side column features new car reviews and runs in several newspapers throughout the country. In addition to being a nationally syndicated automotive columnist, Jimmy is also author of the book “Mustang by Design” and “Ford Trucks: A Unique Look at the Technical History of America’s Most Popular Truck”. Follow Jimmy on Facebook, and Twitter and Twitter.