Ford Authority

Ford Owners Prefer Factory Systems Over Android Auto

Several recent studies have found that Ford owners are generally satisfied with the automaker’s Sync infotainment systems, and that was also the case with new data from Consumer Reports‘ owner satisfaction surveys. Those systems ranked above average among Ford owners, and even higher by Lincoln customers, which is a good sign for The Blue Oval, given how important infotainment is in modern vehicles. However, Consumer Reports members also rated Apple CarPlay higher than the automaker’s Sync software as well, though that wasn’t exactly the case with Android Auto.

Ford owners surveyed by Consumer Reports indicated that they prefer the automaker’s Sync software over Android Auto by a rather significant margin, but this was the case with many other brands as well. In fact, Ford was joined by Genesis, Hyundai, BMW, Buick, Lincoln, Jeep, GMC, Ram, Chevy, Dodge, Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, Chrysler, Kia, Honda, Audi, and Subaru owners in that regard. The only brands that saw their OEM infotainment rank lower than Android Auto were Acura, Toyota, Volkswagen, and Nissan, while a few others were essentially on par.

Overall, 57 percent of members said they were satisfied with Apple CarPlay versus 50 percent for built-in systems, while Android Auto brought up the rear at 44 percent. The study found that for three out of five owners, CarPlay and Android Auto actually improved the user experience versus the least-satisfying brand systems, though more than 25 percent said they never bother to use either. Regardless, with physical controls absent from many modern vehicles, having a decent infotainment system can make a big difference in the driving experience – which makes GM’s decision to ditch CarPlay and Android Auto in its future EVs seem a bit misguided.

“In many newer models, common tasks that drivers used to accomplish with the simple press of a button or turn of a knob now require navigating through multiple screens, which means more steps, more time, and more attention,” said Kelly Funkhouser, manager for vehicle technology at CR‘s Auto Test Center. “The last thing you want is for your infotainment system to become a source of distraction and frustration that causes you to fuss with your phone or a screen while you’re driving.”

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Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. John

    The problem with Android Auto is that it is batter hog. If you are using the wireless charging port you will either run down your battery or the wireless charging pad will shutdown because it gets extemely hot while using Android Auto. You have to have your phone plugged in which then of course defeats the benefit of the wireless connection to android auto. Also the integration between Sync and Android was not that great. I am sure that is why people prefer Apple. They have a reputation for getting the integration right.

    1. Matthew

      So does apple car play

  2. Aricht

    Ummm, no, we don’t prefer factory systems.
    Built in nav can’t even come close to Google maps, or Waze. Messaging, music apps, etc… are all just so much better than factory. A newer phone doesn’t exhibit any of the problems I’ve seen about AA.
    And by newer i mean even a few generations back. I still have an S21 ultra and AA always works fine. It’s works great in both my ’21 F150 and ’20 Explorer. In my F150 AA is strictly wireless too.
    I think a lot of these AA problems are due the sheer number of different android phones out there and people using old, or entry level phones.

    1. eRock9202

      I agree. I have a Galaxy A52 and a ’20 Escape. No wireless, just regular plug-and-play AA. I also have an iPhone provided by my employer. I’ve used AA and CP interchangeably for the past 2 years. I much prefer AA over CP and Sync any day of the week. The only thing CP had that AA was the home screen that had the nav, audio, and call mini screens on one page; that was added to AA in the latest update. It seems like the issue with AA is 1) what you stated about the diversity of phones and 2) probably a difference in experience between the wireless and wired AA users.

  3. whypac

    System integration is fun. When the integration doesn’t work, it always the other software/hardware-provider’s fault.

  4. Tuck Brewer

    Lol…. No way people prefer the buckle and dime model to Android auto and Apple.

  5. Jess

    Sync3 in my 2020 mustang isn’t bad overall. But I had to get read of it as it, similar to the recent Chevy infotainment as well have this weird issue where Bluetooth audio is about 5 seconds behind the video. This is annoying when sitting in my car at lunch enjoying a YouTube video, but is mind bogglingly frustrating when using Google maps and the notification is so damned late I miss my turn.

  6. Only loki

    This isn’t entirely true. People probably prefer the system to AA because sync doesn’t work well with AA. It drops it often, and car audio goes through the phone half the time. Common issue you can Google it.

  7. Db

    The issue w Ford Android auto is the Integration sucks. Sync 3 is basically broken so the integration can’t be much better. Ford system can’t keep settings straight for a week.

  8. Lonnie

    This is simply a numbers game. More people have Apple phones than have Android phones, a significant number of users started with the built-in nav system and stayed with it, rather than try to deal with figuring out how to get phone nav working.

    Not a fan of Sync-4s nav…especially when it would fire up automatically, trying to send us to a place we didn’t want to go (which has stopped happening, thankfully…hopefully I didn’t just jinx us).

  9. JB

    I have concerns regarding anyone that thinks Chevrolet’s infotainment is great. There is FM radio, Bluetooth, then subscription based Sirius XM and navigation. Meanwhile these options, and more are available on both AA and CP. Not only that, your phone gets replaced or updated more regularly than a car and it’s like getting an infotainment upgrade.

    Think of all the subscriptions manufacturers are trying to hawk on people. Think of all the dead 3G head units out there. Think of all the cars with some poor integration of a tech feature that never gets fixed; not even if you say you’ll pay for it. It’s all one and done.

    Believing that manufacturers, especially the legacy ones, can somehow dig themselves out of this grave is a false fallacy. This is why people revolt against GM’s decision to axe AA and CP. This article seems to pander to Ford to make the same terrible decision.


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