The final Australian-made 2015 Ford Falcon and Ford Territory models due to launch in November this year look set to feature the very latest multimedia and voice-control technology offered by the blue oval brand.
While we have yet to see the final cabin designs of the long awaited FG X Falcon and SZ II Territory, it seems all but certain that Ford’s new SYNC 2 connectivity system will make its Australian premiere, in fully localised tune replete with an Aussie accent, in the locally-made models.
SYNC 2, which was developed in collaboration with Microsoft, is currently being rolled out around the world, led by the US and Europe (and the updated Focus). Ford Australia today announced that new models coming on stream starting from “later this year” would also get the technology.
SYNC 2 builds on its predecessor system in a huge way. Its (Australian-specific) voice-recognition system understands 10,000 instructions, while it finally brings a decent touchscreen to Ford’s global arsenal of product - an 8.0-inch high-resolution unit with a home screen laid out with four distinct tiles.
Each tile controls the car’s entertainment system, climate control, satellite-navigation and various linked mobile phones/tablets. It also factors in a system that calls triple-zero if it detects you’ve been involved in a crash, and feeds your GPS coordinates to emergency services.
Voice commands can control all of the functions including the air-con temperature, it can guide you to general destinations such as a restaurant by stating “I’m hungry”, or play any song on request once you name the desired artist.
Above: 2015 Ford Focus interior.
In 2015, Ford Australia will launch an armada of new models, including the Mondeo in the first half, plus the rejigged Focus and Focus ST, Everest SUV, facelifted Ranger and of course the Mustang in the second half of 2015. Many — if not all — will come with SYNC 2.
Crucially, Ford’s local arm insists SYNC 2 will be here by year’s end, and the Falcon and Territory upgrades are the offerings that fit this bill. So while Ford won’t put two-and-two together for us, the conclusion is there to be drawn.
Furthermore, Ford today showed us a testing rig of a Territory cabin (pictured below) fitted with the full suite of SYNC 2 technology, complete with a decidedly Australian accent, a product of the local validation work done by Ford’s Melbourne-based design and engineering department.
Fitting SYNC 2 to the FG X Falcon and SZ II Territory would see Ford deliver on its previous statement that the revised models would get the latest in-car technology. Whether the actual design of the cabins change beyond the screen is unknown. For that, you’ll have to wait.
Still, if our speculation proves correct, the new multimedia coupled with the redesigned exterior (on the Falcon, at least, if not the Territory), would make the final iteration of a pair of Australian icons appreciably differentiated from their predecessors, despite being built on a shoestring.
“Australian drivers are fast adopters of in-car technology, so we’re extremely excited to introduce SYNC 2 to the ever evolving list of Ford-developed technologies Ford drivers can now experience while on the road,” said Ford Motor Company Australia CEO Bob Graziano.
"SYNC2 brings a new level of sophistication to voice control, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road and their hands on the wheel."
Australian production of both the Falcon and Territory will cease in October 2016 when Ford Australia shutters its manufacturing arm.