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2011 Lincoln MKX – Click above for high-res image gallery

2011 Ford EdgeHere's a slice of bad news for the MyFord Touch system. Consumer Reports has just released the findings of its crossover/SUV roundup, and both the 2011 Ford Edge and 2011 Lincoln MKX failed to garner enough points to wear the coveted "Recommended" badge. While CR noted that both vehicles offer improvements in areas like handling, fuel economy and interior quality, the publication found plenty of issue with the MyFord Touch/MyLincoln Touch system on both high riders. According to CR, the problem is that the driver interface system is overly complicated.

In a separate report that focuses solely on the MyFord Touch system, the publication cited small fonts and a slow-to-react touchscreen as key issues, saying,
"It all adds up to three or four ways to make what should be simple adjustments. None of the options works as well or is as easy-to-use as old-fashioned knobs and switches, and they can be more time-consuming and distracting to operate."
Ouch. So much for better living through technology. CR even went so far as to say that it hopes that Ford will give up the system of touchscreens and voice commands for the more simple dials and knobs.

In the same crossover/SUV roundup, CR also was unable to recommend the 2011 Chevrolet Tahoe, remarking that "handling is ungainly and stopping distances are long."

CR's official press release is available after the jump.

Photos copyright ©2010 John Neff and Chris Shunk / AOL

[Source: Consumer Reports]
Show full PR text

Jan 4, 2011 06:00 ET

Consumer Reports: Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Edge, and Lincoln MKX Score Too Low in SUV Tests to Recommend

PR Newswire

YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 4, 2011

New MyFord/MyLincoln Touch system overcomplicated and distracting

YONKERS, N.Y., Jan. 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX scored too low in testing to be recommended by Consumer Reports. The vehicles are part of a test group in the February issue comprised of six midsized, midsized luxury, and large luxury SUVs.

"In a highly competitive category, all three of these vehicles have a number of strengths, but each had some notable weaknesses that forced their testing scores to fall below our standard for a recommended SUV," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports' Auto Test Center in East Haddam, Connecticut.

The report also reviewed the Infiniti QX56, a V8 version of the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and the Porsche Cayenne. All of these performed well in testing, but are too new for CR to have adequate reliability data to recommend. CR only recommends vehicles that have performed well in its tests, have at least average predicted reliability based on CR's Annual Auto Survey of its more than seven million print and Web subscribers, and performed at least adequately if crash-tested or included in a government rollover test

The story also reviews the MyFord/MyLincoln Touch system, a new driver interface for operating the radio, climate control, and navigation system. It can also interface with cell phones and portable music players. The driver's interface uses an 8-inch video touch screen in the center of the dashboard. It also includes two 4.2-inch dashboard displays flanking the speedometer that can be configured to show different gauges and can perform some of the same functions as the screen. The system also recognizes and responds to voice commands. CR's testers looked at the system in the 2011 Lincoln MKX and Ford Edge SEL and found it to be a complicated distraction while driving. In addition, first-time users might find it impossible to comprehend. The system did not always perform as promised.

Full tests and ratings for all the vehicles appear in the January issue of Consumer Reports, which goes on sale January 4. The reports are also available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org . Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org is the go-to site for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on breaking news and car buying information.

Prices ranged from $37,625 for the Ford Edge SEL to $63,805 for the Porsche Cayenne.

Vehicles were selected for this diverse test grouping because of product changes. The Porsche Cayenne and Infiniti QX56 were both fully redesigned for 2011. The Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX were extensively freshened for 2011. Since CR's last test of the Chevrolet Tahoe, it received a six-speed transmission. The magazine previously tested a 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo with a V6 engine. It performed poorly in CR's emergency handling tests, so a Grand Cherokee Limited V8 was tested to evaluate how it would perform in CR's emergency handling tests. It did better than the V6 in those tests. CR also evaluated the performance of the Jeep's V8 power train.

The Porsche Cayenne is one of the most agile-handling SUVs on the market. The Cayenne feels well planted as speeds increase and has a controlled and compliant highway ride. The Porsche Cayenne ($63,805 Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price as tested) is powered by a 300-hp, 3.6-liter V6 responsive engine that gets 19 mpg overall in CR's own fuel economy tests. The eight-speed automatic transmission shifts frequently but imperceptibly. Braking is Very Good. Towing capability is impressive for a mid-sized SUV. The interior is finished with lots of high-quality materials but the many controls can be confusing. The three-way-split rear seatbacks fold forward, and there is a pass-through for longer items. Cargo space is good-sized.

The Infiniti QX56 is a large and plush SUV. Its large size and awkward handling makes it difficult to maneuver and park. Emergency handling is poor, as the stability control steps in too late to avoid some tail slide. The QX56 shrugs off most road imperfections but on the highway, some body motions persist. The Infiniti QX56 ($63,395 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 400-hp 5.6-liter V8 engine that provides strong acceleration but gets only 15 mpg overall. The seven-speed automatic transmission shifts very responsively and smoothly. Braking is Very Good. The interior is very plush and well-finished. Folding down the second and third rows opens up a huge but sloping cargo hold and cabin storage is generous. Tow capacity is generous and the QX56 performed well in CR's demanding off-road course.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee tackles corners willingly and with very little body lean. It is steady on the highway, and the cabin stays pleasantly quiet, with muted engine noise. On-road refinement is impressive, given that the Jeep performs well off-road and can tow a heavy trailer. The Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited V8 4x4 ($42,765 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 360-hp 5.7-liter V8 engine that has plenty of power but averaged just 14 mpg overall. The five-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and responsively. Braking is Very Good. The interior has soft-touch panels and nicely-finished leather seats. Cargo room can be expanded by folding the rear seatbacks, and the tailgate window opens separately.

The Chevrolet Tahoe sails along with ease but rough roads unsettle the ride a bit. The highway ride is composed and compliant, but dips can make it feel unsettled. The huge cabin stays nicely quiet. However, handling is ungainly and stopping distances are long. The Chevrolet Tahoe LTZ ($57,435 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 320-hp, 5.3-liter V8 engine that gets 14 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission shifts smoothly and helped fuel economy and acceleration a bit. Braking is Good. Interior fit and finish doesn't impress at the Tahoe LTZ's high price. The interior fit and finish is pretty good. The two halves of the third-row seat fold and tumble, but maximizing cargo space requires removing them, and they weigh 55 pounds each. With the second-row seats tumbled forward and the third row removed, cargo space is voluminous. The Tahoe can tow a heavy trailer and is competent off-road.

The Lincoln MKX absorbs most bumps with decent isolation. The 2011 freshening improved its handling. Ride motions are well controlled, and the highway ride is uneventful. The Lincoln MKX ($50,235 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 305-hp V6 engine that provides very good acceleration and gets 18 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission is mostly smooth, but shifts are not always seamless. Braking is Very Good. The interior is luxurious and most components fit well together with lots of wood and stitched leather. The cargo area can be expanded by folding the split rear seatbacks. This creates a good-sized cargo hold. The MyLincoln Touch control system eliminates even basic knobs like the radio volume knob, instead using touch-sensitive controls or touch screens. Testers found the system complex and buggy.

The Ford Edge has good interior space, easy access, and a lively engine. For 2011, the Edge's suspension, steering, and drivetrain were changed to improve handling and fuel economy. But controls were significantly worsened by the complex MyFord Touch technology. The Ford Edge SEL ($37,635 MSRP as tested) is powered by a 285-hp 3.5-liter V6 engine that provides brisk acceleration and 18 mpg overall. The six-speed automatic transmission usually operates smoothly but sometimes shifts with a jolt. Braking is Very Good. Most components fit together well and the interior is nicely finished. Folding the 60/40-split rear seatbacks creates a good-sized cargo hold.

With more than 7 million print and online subscribers, Consumer Reports is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services. It conducts the most comprehensive auto-test program of any U.S. publication or Web site and owns and operates a 327-acre Auto Test Center in Connecticut. The organization's auto experts have decades of experience in driving, testing, and reporting on cars. To subscribe, consumers can call 1-800-234-1645 or visit www.ConsumerReports.org .


The material above is intended for legitimate news entities only; it may not be used for advertising or promotional purposes. Consumer Reports® is published by Consumers Union, an expert, independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to work for a fair, just, and safe marketplace for all consumers and to empower consumers to protect themselves. We accept no advertising and pay for all the products we test. We are not beholden to any commercial interest. Our income is derived from the sale of Consumer Reports®, ConsumerReports.org ® and our other publications and information products, services, fees, and noncommercial contributions and grants. Our Ratings and reports are intended solely for the use of our readers. Neither the Ratings nor the reports may be used in advertising or for any other commercial purpose without our permission. Consumers Union will take all steps open to it to prevent commercial use of its materials, its name, or the name of Consumer Reports®.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      When you have barely seconds to adjust stereo or HVAC controls, I don't like the sound of "response delays" when it comes to controls. Autoblog tested the Journey and applauded it's super-fast reacting (and enormous) touchscreen that was easy to use. Perhaps in this instance, for once, Ford needs to take a page from Chrysler!

      Of course, you cannot rule out the fact that some touchscreens will be slower or faster than others from car to car...and who knows how any of these screens will perform ten years from now...as opposed to physical knobs and buttons, which don't require computers to operate.
      Lord Plye Wood
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ford isn't alone in the field of overly complicated driver interface systems. BMW's infamous system has been improved, but it's taken four years to get to a point of being not as impossible as it was when introduced. My 2010 Audi A3 also has a ridiculous system, one that takes much too much eye time away from the road to operate, for example, the navigation system. In fact, the touch screen nav system in my 2008 Shelby GT500 Mustang is much simpler and driver friendly than the two years newer Audi's. I actually disabled the BlueTooth phone system on the Audi because it was so hard and distracting to use.

      I'm contemplating the purchase of a Cadillac CTS-V coupe. One of the things that keeps me from writing a check is that the dash board looks frighteningly like a chrome pipe organ keyboard. I guess I could learn to live with it, the rest of the car being so damnmed NICE.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Having driven an Edge with MyFord Touch I have to agree that it's quite a distraction. Especially when all you want to do is change the heat, but have to flip through 4 screens and drive to do it. Using the radio is even more distracting.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Four screens to change the HVAC settings? What the heck are you doing. You can either:
        1. Use the simple up/down temp controls (among others) on the panel below the touch screen.
        2. On the touchscreen, press the lower right corner for HVAC controls, then touch the approprate, clearly labled buttons.
        3. Use voice commands
        4. Fumble throught the 5-way button controls, which I never even bother with.

        I've got the MyFordTouch in my Edge, and really like the system. It is only a distraction when you try to fingure it out the first time while driving. Once you are familiar with it, and have the self control not to constantly reconfigure everything on the fly, it is much easier to use than regular old buttons. I spent way more time trying to find the right buttons on my previous cars, with tons of poorly labled buttons.

        Overall, I think the Autoline clip sums it up best - If you're just trying it out for a few minutes, it will seem much harder to use than it really is
        • 4 Years Ago
        My 68 year old Mother has an '11 SEL with MyFord Touch. She has a hard time working the TV remote and a digital camera. She hasn't had a major problem with the touch system.

        Did she jump in the car the first time and know everything about it? No. But she is well versed on how to do the common functions like A/C and radio. Like someone else said, it has a learning curve that doesn't happen overnight. All it takes is a little time and you're ready to go. Plus, the voice recog takes all the distraction out of it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Just because CR buys their products doesn't mean they can't be biased. I haven't trusted CR for years. A lot of their products they don't like I happen to like and vice versy.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's interesting reading the comments of some people who evidently have NO clue to how CR does its unbiased reporting. By unbiased they mean no input from the car manufacturer plays a part in their reporting, not their opinions on what they see when they test drive a vehicle. Of course they have opinions, there car testing staff have been doing this for years. Also, the reason they don't recommend new models is because they don't have any repair history to fall back on, when that new vehicle seems like it will be a good car for people to buy. They can still tell you that it passed all their tests with flying colors and if the repair history comes back above average, they recommend that vehicle then. Also most of their tests do mention if a manufacturer has a reputation for good quality vehicles.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ha! This is kind of funny.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I thought they were just going by the face of the MKX....
      • 4 Years Ago
      Perhaps CRs shouldn't have the oldsters test the new-fangled cars like the Edge and the MKX.
      Have them test the civics and sub-compacts that have knobs and big buttons (for the sore, old eyes).
      I have an 2011 Edge and consider myself tech savvy - admittedly there is a learning curve on the system. But now 2-months into it, I can make all my adjustments with voice.
      Let's not have a previous generation of drivers dictate what the future of auto tech should be. Let's face it, these oldsters probably shouldn't be driving - even with big buttons or dials!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Still a gimmick, bro.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Is there no option for traditional knobs? If the touch is just an option, I don't see why it would outweigh better handling and interior.
        • 4 Years Ago
        IIRC, even the base Edge/MKX interior is littered with little touch-sensitive slits of plastic that all look and feel the same way. The Edge at least has 2 knobs for volume and temperature, but it's mostly touch-based- even the hazard lights button. The MKX goes further and uses a touch/slide control for volume/temperature.

        Amusingly, I can't find a single picture of the base interior on Ford's website... here's some good pics on a blog

        • 4 Years Ago
        Silly question - Short of being mute or deaf - Can't you do 90% of everything via Sync voice command? Even the heat and air can be done via Sync.

        If you compare knobs vs touch screen vs voice command - I think the one that requires you to not take your hands off the wheel AT ALL would win.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Is there no option for traditional knobs? If the touch is just an option, I don't see why it would outweigh better handling and interior."

        It shouldn't! And CR giving it that much weight is a great example why their reviews are sometimes stupid! Specifically on automobiles!

        I wonder how they'd review themselves? If there was a fold in the corner of their mag would they deduct 10% overall or consider there was a lot of other content inside that's much more important!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Pretty sure mytouch comes standard on SEL, Limited and Sport Edge. So only way to avoid it is buying basic entry level. Think it's standard on MKX so no way to avoid it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Excellent point
      • 4 Years Ago
      And there in lies my problem with Consumer Reports. I am quite willing to bet that MOST people assume that every vehicle NOT 'recommended' by CR is NOT 'reliable'. But that's just NOT the case. At least not in EVERY case. A LOT of reliable vehicles are NOT recommended by CR.
      • 4 Years Ago
      CR just needs to bash an American product. CR has lost any credability that it ever had.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah? For YEARS Consunmers Union went right down the line giving the big Check Mark to American 4 door sedans as the best buy. It was only when the quality of the "Big Three" stuff went WAY into the sewer that they began make other sugggestions. Why don't you READ something before you bloviate.
      • 4 Years Ago
      CR is notorious for Domestic-hating. They will fail to report certain issues with certain toyota's or honda's just say they rate higher then their american counterpart.

      I've used the system, and even with my less then perfect eye sight, I don't find the fonts to be an issue, and the responsiveness isn't terrible either.
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