The third generation Ford Focus RS comes with SYNC2 infotainment stereo system, the second generation version of Ford’s in-car connectivity system, as standard.
As fitted to the Focus RS, SYNC2 features a high-resolution, dash-mounted 8 inch TFT monitor that facilitates access via the touchscreen or by voice control to the audio and climate control systems and enables access to compatible mobile phones.
Buyers can enhance the power and usefulness of the RS’s SYNC2 system by adding Ford’s satellite navigation system, a £465 option which features 3D rendered buildings and data from Michelin guides together with a Sony manufactured 10 speaker package (which includes a subwoofer) and a rear-facing camera.
Powered by a Microsoft operating system, SYNC2 uses Bluetooth to connect with compatible mobile phones. Unlike Apple’s rival CarPlay system (which works only with Apple products) SYNC2 is compatible with a variety of mobile phone operating systems: iOS, Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone.
Once a mobile phone has been paired with SYNC2, a range of optimised apps – including Spotify – can be accessed through an interface known as APPLINK.
SYNC2 can be operated via the touchscreen or by voice control. In the latter mode, the driver or front-seat passenger can issue voice commands to do such things as pick which music track to play or radio station to tune in to, adjust the climate control settings, select contacts and make and receive hands-free telephone calls.
Music stored on a USB card, MP3 player or iPod can also be played using SYNC2’s voice control. Likewise, SYNC2 also allows voice control over music being streamed in from a connected mobile phone.
Paired with a compatible mobile phone, SYNC2 can also read out incoming text messages.
If the optional satellite navigation package has been specified, SYNC2 also offers voice command of a number of functions. Users can, for example, ask SYNC2 to display directions to a specific place or show the location of the nearest car park.
The SYNC2 voice recognition system understands natural speech rather than being limited to a very strict and narrow instruction set. So, for example, a statement such as “I need fuel” will cause SYNC2 to display a list of nearby fuel stations. Similarly, when playing music, a command such as “play AC/DC” will cause SYNC2 to access the driver’s music library in search of a number by the renowned Australian rockers.
In common with other models in the Focus range, it is likely that Ford’s latest and most powerful in-car connectivity system, SYNC3, will be fitted to later editions of the Focus RS.
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