Ford B-MAX: In Sync

  • Sync is Ford’s effective in-car multimedia system
  • Voice-activated controls work reliably
  • Windows-based but connects easily to all phones

Recently I’ve been getting really into Sync.

To reiterate, that’s definitely Sync and not ‘N Sync, the American boy band who counted Justin Timberlake among its number. No, I’ll leave cheesy nineties music to one of my colleagues.

Other than that he maybe owns an iPhone too, there the similarities between the aforementioned JT and I end. I doubt for instance when he’s touring Cannes for the film festival he pounds the French autoroutes in a B-MAX EcoBoost.

If he did, he’d be able to enjoy the benefits of Sync, Ford’s voice-activated communication and technology package. Sync made its European debut in the B-MAX and is now also available on the Fiesta, Focus, C-MAX, Kuga and Transit Custom van.

Sync’s standard on the B-MAX Titanium and a reasonable £250 option on Studio and Zetec trims, certainly something Parkers would recommend specifying if you’re ordering a new car.

Despite being a Windows-based system, it not only hooks up effortlessly with Apple’s iOS system but Android platforms and Blackberrys too. Music from the connected device can be played via the connecting lead, which also charges your phone, or using Bluetooth.

In addition to the controls on the Sony entertainment unit, Sync’s voice activated control is also reliable and effective. Activated via a button on the steering wheel, it’s been calibrated to recognise various European languages and regional dialects. Thankfully this means it handles my soft, northern tones without me having to polish up my Received Pronunciation.

Voice commands not only work for music streaming and radio stations, which includes DAB, but also for making and receiving calls too. Your phone book’s automatically downloaded, with new entries included too, so there’s no guessing who you’re ringing. Sync certainly had no problem recognising my favourite takeaway.

Rather neatly if you’re on the phone as you approach your car, it will automatically switch to Sync when you start it up without breaking the conversation. The same thing happens in reverse when you leave the car.

Waiting for an important text while you’re on the move but rightly not going to touch your phone while you’re driving? No problem as Sync will read your SMS messages aloud. Consider the ramifications of that though before you accept it. There’re even stock text message responses to send back too.

In the unfortunate event of an accident – which I’ve no plans to test out before you ask – Sync automatically contacts the emergency services and uses GPS to give your car’s exact location. At times when minutes can mean the difference between life and death, this really is a vital system and something that all new cars should be fitted with.

Depending on options fitted to your Ford, the Sync screen also displays parking sensor detections and sat-nav directions. It’s a simple to use, effective and reliable communications device that I’m really taken with.

As Mr Timberlake would say, I’m lovin’ it. 

Total mileage: 6,991 miles Average mpg: 36.8 mpg