Ever since MEGATechNews reviewed the 2012 Ford Focus, we’ve been left with a sour taste in our mouths about the MyFordTouch system. While it is a surprising addition to a vehicle of that class, the system suffered from bugs and complications that made concentrating on talking to it and keeping an eye on the road difficult. Ford walked us through some of the changes coming for the 2013 model year, and showed us some of the new Sync features that keep your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. Some of these features link up with your smartphone and are available on vehicles without a touchscreen. Also on display were some new vehicles including the Focus Electric (soon to be a mass-production model we hear) and the ever-popular newly re-designed 2013 Escape.

Operation: Redemption

Okay, so that wasn’t the internal codename Ford gave to the MyFordTouch revamp, but it might as well have been. The touch system has been much reviled by the automotive media at large, and–thanks to some user interface tweaks, a speed boost that smooths out menu operation, and some bigger touch buttons–the MyFordTouch screen might be a bit more accessible and tolerable to those among us who aren’t patient with gadget-loaded cars. The update will be rolled out free-of-charge to registered Ford owners via a mailed USB flash drive that an owner can simply plug in to their car and use to update the system. Anyone who isn’t registered or does not receive the update can take their vehicle to their nearest Ford dealership and have the process completed in minutes.

Sync Apps and Smartphone Integration

Sync is present in almost every Ford model, and to step up the functionality, engineers have added some neat features that use your phone to help you navigate the world with your hands on the wheel.

First, Sync can dial in to a voice-activated directory using your smart- or dumbphone’s Bluetooth connection, and deliver you directions, contact information and other navigational features without a costly dedicated navigation package. Next, Sync Apps can connect to a new app on your smartphone via USB to get route information, turn-by-turn directions, Internet radio, and much more. You can even store favorite destinations and push them to your vehicle’s nav system from your phone; all with voice commands.

Finally, and this is my favorite feature, there’s a new social aspect to navigation. With your smartphone connected, you can simply tell your car that there’s an accident ahead and the app will update an online database and alert other drivers in the area.

New Concepts and EVs For The Future

Three new vehicles and one concept were in attendance at CES.

The new 2013 Escape, the popular compact SUV, was looking great with some cool features like the new MyFordTouch system as well as a completely redesigned interior and exterior. Next was the 2013 Fusion, complete with a grille that looked like it might have been stolen from an Aston Martin (don’t worry, we won’t tell!). Another new vehicle on display was the Focus Electric. Based on the existing successful Focus platform, the Electric is a pure battery-powered car that gets 160km on a full charge, and is being rolled out in limited markets across the US over the next few months.

The last car on display was the Evos, a curious concept that takes technology and driving to the next level. The philosophy behind this vehicle is that of seamless driver/car integration. We can’t wait for the day when we can hop in to any car and have our email, phone calls, and personal music collection at our fingertips from the Cloud!

Enjoy pictures we took at some of the other automotive displays at CES 2012, and make sure you check out the rest of our coverage here on MEGATechNews.

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