1. Not Invented Here — for Good Reason
The five-way "smart" button design did not originate with Ford. It mimics the iPod, bringing the gold-standard consumer-electronics interface into the car.
2. Speak to Me
Sync features voice-recognition technology from Burlington, Massachusetts — based Nuance Communications. The next upgrade comes with a big one from Nuance too, doing away with layered menus and responding quickly and accurately to 10,000 normal-speech commands.
3. Climate Change
MyFord Touch lets you modify the instrument cluster, swapping out the navigation display, say, for climate control or even Pandora.
4. Color Coordinated
Quick visual cues are better (and safer) than text-based ones, so Ford color-coded the basic functions on your dashboard — orange for phone, for example, and green for navigation.
5. A Big, Bright Touch
Tired of a display that "looked like it came from 1960," VP Derrick Kuzak and his team made the touch-screen larger — and pretty. You can even watch video — when the car's in park.
6. Pre-Amp Your iPhone
Phones and MP3 players are transformed by Ford's 390-watt, Sony-built, Dolby-certified, 12-speaker 5.1 surround system.
7. Adaptive Intelligence
Stores two sets of personalized settings for two different drivers. Or a driver can carry his preferences between two MyFord Touch — enabled vehicles on a USB thumb drive.
A version of this article appeared in the April 2010 issue of Fast Company magazine.