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MyFord Touch – in-car touchscreen gets European launch

Comprehensive demo of latest in-car GPS, communications and entertainment system - to launch with new Ford Focus in March

At last year’s CES we saw an early version of Ford’s new in-car entertainment, communications and navigation system, called MyFord Touch. While visiting the Detroit Auto Show last week, Ford gave us the opportunity to try out the finished product, installed in a Ford Explorer 4×4, which is now on sale in the US. More importantly, it’s now on its way to the UK, and will be available for the first time on the new Ford Focus, which is to be released in March.

MyFord Touch 2

MyFord Touch is an evolution of the Ford SYNC system that’s been available in the company’s cars for some time and provides voice-activated access to numerous functions. MyFord Touch updates this, with a far wider range of features, but the key addition is an 8in LCD touchscreen on the central column and two 4.2in LCD displays on either side of the speedometer.

MyFord Touch 5

This new setup places far more information where the driver can safely look at it , there are two four-way joypads on the steering wheel, so you don’t have to take your hands off to change settings. The touchscreen is a resistive model, rather than capacitative like on most smartphones. This means you need to make a definite prod to get a response from it, but you can use it while wearing gloves.

MyFord Touch 4

The system is based around four key, colour-coded, segments: Entertainment, Phone, Navigation and Climate. For a full breakdown of the features included in each segment watch our video, below.

To get the best from it you need to synchronise an internet-connected mobile phone via Bluetooth. You can also use one of the two USB ports to add a 3G dongle. The car can then share an internet connection with any Wi-Fi-enabled devices onboard, such as an iPod touch user in the back. The vehicle has AV inputs, so you can use the display for pretty much anything you like, plus an SD card reader – for GPS mapping data and displaying photos in the car.

Ford has worked in collaboration with Microsoft on the system, with it running on the Microsoft Auto operating system, a variant of Windows CE.

MyFord Touch 3

One intriguing features is MyKey, which allows the owner to set the maximum speed of the car, ideal if you’re lending it to your kids for the day. In addition, you can tell MyKey to disable the stereo unless all the passengers are wearing their seatbelts, an ingenious way to get the driver and passengers to buckle up.

Also, check out our coverage of the upcoming all-electric Ford Focus.

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