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2012 Explorer Review - The In Vehicle Tech(IVT)

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by Border_Explorer, August 8, 2011.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. Border_Explorer

    Border_Explorer Member

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    I have had my 2012 Explorer for a whole week today. This past weekend we went on a 400 mile round trip. This is my review of the in vehicle technology (IVT)

    I previously posted another review of the car here:
    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showthread.php?t=325041

    And my intial review here:
    http://www.explorerforum.com/forums/showpost.php?p=2780773&postcount=655


    For the record I have a 2012 XLT Explorer with 205A rapid spec. Added NAV, TOW, and BLIS

    Okay, where do I start, there is a lot to write about. I will start with the NAV:

    If you have seen my initial impression of the NAV, its okay. I had one issue where the screen took about 50 seconds to draw the map when I tried to switch to just the nav on the touch screen. It only happened
    once and I have not been able to replicate it. The NAV continued to work though, I had directions on my dash LCD and the voice nav announced the next direction while the screen was drawing. I dont
    think it is a major issue but I am keeping my eye on it. It is not the best NAV out there. I dont think its technically bad as opposed to poor implementation of the NAV software. The user interface (UI) is not the best and might be the real underlying reason a lot of people dont like it. I would have to agree, the UI can be greatly improved on. If Ford does not want to put Garmin(or other Nav maker) software into there cars, fine but it would be a great investment to hire some UI developers to improve their system. Despite my dislike for the UI the NAV does work, its no frills software. Now the interface I am talking about is the touch interface, when interacting with the NAV via the touch screen. I tried all forms of interacting with the NAV, via touch, via voice, via DPAD, and via SYNC. I have also randomly changed the input methods during operations for example setting a destination I may
    start using the touch screen, then use voice commands and finish interacting with the nav from the steering wheel DPAD and menu. All of those interactions work and worked well every time I tried them. Now, being I am not a fan of the UI, its not that big a deal to me since I can get at the system several ways...I can bypass the crappy UI by not using the touch screen. Maybe Ford considered this fact and tried to save some development cost...no excuse, it should be better. Since I can get work with the nav via another input method is a big plus in my book. I found using the NAV via voice worked great and I preferred using it this way...once I got comfortable with the right commands, it was excellent. It got me to where I wanted to go, so it simply worked. I had no satellite reception issues, but it can happen. I suspect the car has a run of the mill GPS receiver in it. The best GPS receiver I have ever come across has been on my Garmin nuvi unit.
    Garmin put a highly sensitive GPS receiver in the product as lots of people like to put the unit somewhere in there dash where the antenna might not have a clear view to the sky, I mean I can pick up satellites in my house...that is crazy. I am getting a bit off topic but the Ford probably does not have this and it does not need it since the GPS receiver is on the roof. But reception can be problematic based on the environment you are driving in. As far as accuracy goes...is a navigation tool, its not designed to route to your destination within a few feet. I have had NAV units be off a half mile or more, its not a perfect system no matter who makes the hardware and software. NAV units do make mistakes, not often but it does happen thats why always a good idea to have printed directions and/or maps
    in the car especially when not familiar with an area. My NAV unit did make one mistake on the trip. And I did not realize it at first. I got the car and put in the destination it routed and I stated on my way. As I was driving I realized it made an error in the routing algorithm...it had the route take a left turn off the highway where there was no exit. It was obvious it was wrong and I knew the exit I needed to get off at and as soon as I did it re-calculated and got the correct route. No NAV unit should be trusted 100% that is unrealistic in my opinion. Is the Ford NAV the best on the market: No
    Would I still buy the NAV unit knowing this: Yes. Why? For me, I want integration. Yes I can hang a better nav unit from the window or dash, but I want the nav integrated into the car, even if its a sub
    par unit. The integration is more valuable to me. The nav works, it just lack the polish I would like to see.

    MFT: I am running MFT v2.11
    Every thing worked well. I did not have any trouble controlling or switching systems from climate to nav, etc. All buttons and touch screen were responsive to touch. On occasion there seemed like there was
    a delay, but it always worked. I did find one way to repeatedly demonstrate a slow response time. If I tried rapid touch screen inputs, for example trying to rapidly scroll through a list it appeared each input was put in a queue and was serviced slowly in response to my rapid input. I had to wait for the system to catch up to me, but it always worked even if it slowed. I consider this minor as a rapid touch screen input would be rare if not ever. I dont see having a need to rapidly get through screens, I will most likely use voice to interact with the system. I have had no black screens or reboots.
    Other then that I have no complaints about the MFT and I do like it.

    Sirius satellite travel link:
    I am not impressed with the satellite travel link. If I am bored I could play with it, but honestly I get better information faster with a better UI from my smartphone. I tried using the satellite travel link to find a movie, well the best it could find me was a theater 1.5 hours away! when I know there is one only 15 mins from me! Their database has an obvious hole in it.
    This is not a Ford problem, but a Sirius problem. I dont think I will make much use of this feature in the future.

    Bluetooth audio streaming:
    Works Awesome! I was bored waiting for the wife and was looking to play with something I had not tried yet. I wondered if I could stream Pandora into my Ford. Answer: Yes! I did not have to download anything
    it just worked. Once the phone was paired with SYNC I pulled up Pandora on my Android phone and signed in, picked a playlist and waited for streaming to start. Once the song started to stream I tuned to Bluetooth
    in the audio screen and there it was...music straight over the net via my cell phone right to my Ford in car audio system with no effort. Also tried this again when driving through the mountains. Sound
    was awesome too, providing there is no glitch in the data stream to the phone. I suppose BT audio streaming will work with other apps, but is does work with Pandora. Its cool. Will I use it much?
    Probably not, with all the radio options and my iPod I dont think I will have time to stream Pandora to the car, but I can do it if I want to.

    SYNC Destinations APP (iphone and Android) (This is not really IVT, but seems appropriate to cover here):
    Seems useless, not sure what the point of this app is. If I cannot push information to my car from the app then its useless. Good thing its free. Unless it gets redesigned with new features. I will not
    waste my time on this.


    SyncMyRide and SYNC Services:
    Initially I was not impressed with this site as it does not seem there is much to do on it. I also had some issue my VIN not validated in the first day or two but it got cleared up, no biggie. I was able to upload a vehicle health report without a problem, kinda cool but I will probably never use it unless I have to for support of some kind. I was kinda take it or leave on this topic until I discovered how to send a destination to your in car NAV from Google maps or mapquest! Yes, it works and it works well and I love it. I will use this all the time now. When I mentioned about integration earlier, this
    is what I am talking about. You cannot get this kind of integration with a third party nav unit, at least none that I am aware of. Basically the SyncMyRide reminds me of cloud computing with the ability
    to push data to it and download it to another device. If you have not tried this you should, its awesome and has changed my opinion of SyncMyRide. Here is a write up and video I found:

    http://www.booyagadget.com/2011/07/how-to-send-maps-to-your-ford-sync-from-google-and-mapquest.html

    You can only send one destination at a time, but that is enough for me. With this feature I dont have to deal with the crappy NAV UI via touch or even interact with the nav via voice. I will simply send my
    destination, download it and start route. I love, love, love this. The destination gets sent to SyncMyRide. Then in the car you connect to SYNC services. The first thing it asks is if you wont to download
    new destination, say yes and seconds later your nav is displaying the destination sent from Google maps. Boom. Done. Love it. I also initially thought SYNC services was lame, I though just voice control search.
    But when I discovered you can also download a destination to your nav from a resulting search...I was again sold, changed my opinion. The fact that I can send and download nav points to my nav unit without
    having to speak or type in the information is worth gold to me. It simply awesome and I will use it all the time. I only need the google maps on the smartphone to and this feature and I will be in heaven.

    Well I think I rambled on enough about my 2012 experience so far. Hopefully you will find this information useful. I love the car. I love the tech in the car(one of the main reasons I wanted it). If you have
    any questions I will try my best to answer them.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: August 10, 2011
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  3. calb

    calb Active Member

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    Border Explorer - REALLY appreciate your reviews. Please keep your comments coming.

    I was confused by SYNC Destinations APP - I thought you could send the destination from the phone to the car? Nav sounds (unfortunately) a little disappointing. Would be nice if they could fix this up, since it is primarily software/interface related from the sounds of things.

    I'm very puzzled as to why Ford isn't putting their Sync Applink into Explorers (but 10 other vehicles) and was hoping that perhaps that was just a mistake in the press release. Guess not?

    Again - thank you for the great reviews!
     
  4. harlenm

    harlenm Active Member

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    When streaming music via Bluetooth, do you get a skip every minute or so? Like a split second where the audio cuts out, kinda like if a cd was scratched?

    I do, and my last car did as well, so im thinking that its just how the technology works.
     
  5. vulnox

    vulnox Member

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    Mine did that when I had my iPhone 3G, now that I have the iPhone 4 it never does. I think part of the problem was due to the limited processing power of the iPhone when using the BT Radio, the cellular radio, and playing the MP3 and all that. Just a guess though, not sure what you have. My wife's iPhone 3G did the same thing, happened in 3 different vehicles too. Neither of our iPhone 4's skip though. So I am sticking with my theory.
     
  6. harlenm

    harlenm Active Member

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    Have an HTC Inspire. My old car did it with an iPhone 4. Will be buying the iPhone5 if it has a 4" or bigger screen.
     
  7. Border_Explorer

    Border_Explorer Member

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    No, the sound quality was excellent. If you have sound issues when streaming BT audio 99% of the time it will be 1 of 2 problems. One problem will be the data connection to the cell phone itself, weather its a poor cell signal or some other network related data transmission problem. The other problem will be like the other user stated, problems with processing power or poor BT on the phone. I have heard before the BT on iphone 3 was not the best from other sources. I have an HTC Incredible 2 and the streaming worked perfect for me weather I was stationary or driving. If I had problems with BT audio the Ford system would be the last thing I would debug, there are too many places for transmission problems before it gets to the in car systems.
     
  8. uniquename

    uniquename Active Member

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    First, thanks. I am sure a lot of people will like the perspective and learn a thing or two. The BT streaming is one of my favorites.

    The quoted part I want to comment on so maybe I can help you. The app can save destinations, or use your personal address book (if you have addresses) to create and save destinations. Check the link below. It doesn't sync (pun intended) to your explorer, but it is available when using the voice command "services". I don't have NAV so I find the app useful if I am away from the computer since my phone is much faster to enter info on than using sync services. You can also enter saved points here.

    Also, the traffic forecasting isn't too bad.

    http://www.syncmyride.com/Own/Modules/FaqManagement/FaqList.aspx?tagId=508
     
  9. NCSWolfpak

    NCSWolfpak New Member

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    Just a heads up....I have yet to be able to send a destination using the mobile version of google maps. I still have to use my desktop/laptop to do that. I suppose you could get around that by using your smartphone browser and having it load the "full-version" of maps.google.com, but I'd rather just be wishful that they'd add the "send" feature to the mobile app.
     
  10. Border_Explorer

    Border_Explorer Member

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    Yeah, I agree. The google maps mobile app needs to add this feature that is available in the web based map version.
     
  11. Border_Explorer

    Border_Explorer Member

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    Okay, I get it now. So using the SYNC Destinations app you can push/sync with SYNC Services...and Navigate via SYNC Services as opposed to using the in dash NAV, if you have one. I did not try this, sounds cool, I will have to try this out. Only limitation I can see is if navigating via SYNC services you will not be able to use phone for calls as the phone is in use for SYNC Services. Either way its an option and I like the fact I have multiple ways to do things. I wonder if SYNC Services is smart enough to know if your has an in dash and if you do it will allow it to download to the nav unit.... I will have to play with it some more.
     
  12. MikeFreas

    MikeFreas Active Member

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    I believe this is the first review of the tech without major issues and it gives me hope.

    It would be great if we could get updates every once in a while.

    Great writeup.
     
  13. wheeling

    wheeling Member

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    Great review, thanks, it indeed give me hopes too, since I'm still waiting for MFT to be improved.

    2 questions. 1 When you download the destination, you only download the destination or the route and map, such as from google? The data map coming with the built in navigatin is very old and inaccurate. What happens if the destination is not on the database of the built in navigation? After the download, do you still use the built in navigatin map, or the downloaded map?

    2. Do you have to keep you phone connected all the time? If so, who is paying for the minutes?

    The reason I'm asking is that this may be the potnetial work around for the built in navigation, which is very bad. If this works, hten I can live with it.
     
  14. uniquename

    uniquename Active Member

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    I didn't know it wouldn't play nice with the factory nav, that sucks.

    The nice thing, the route downloads and the phone disconnects. It reroutes when you are off course without redialing.
     
  15. esandye

    esandye Active Member

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    "You can only send one destination at a time, but that is enough for me. With this feature I dont have to deal with the crappy NAV UI via touch or even interact with the nav via voice. I will simply send my
    destination, download it and start route. I love, love, love this. The destination gets sent to SyncMyRide. Then in the car you connect to SYNC services. The first thing it asks is if you wont to download
    new destination, say yes and seconds later your nav is displaying the destination sent from Google maps. Boom. Done. Love it. I also initially thought SYNC services was lame, I though just voice control search.
    But when I discovered you can also download a destination to your nav from a resulting search...I was again sold, changed my opinion. The fact that I can send and download nav points to my nav unit without
    having to speak or type in the information is worth gold to me. It simply awesome and I will use it all the time. I only need the google maps on the smartphone to and this feature and I will be in heaven."

    I tried this feature last night and it worked great. Some had worried you couldn't use the phone while this feature was being used but after the destination is downloaded the sync lady prompts that you can use the phone!
     
  16. Spengracin

    Spengracin Active Member

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    It sound very promising for 2012 my, I agree with the thread it's the integration that sold me with the ex. I believe it has very good future with the blend of tech and fit of the vehicle. I like this forum a lot, so much help.
     

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