Welcome to the North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club Thursday August 24, 2017
Home Forums WikiNASIOC Products Store Modifications Upgrade Garage
Go Back   NASIOC > NASIOC General > News & Rumors > Non-Subaru News & Rumors

Welcome to NASIOC - The world's largest online community for Subaru enthusiasts!
Welcome to the NASIOC.com Subaru forum.

You are currently viewing our forum as a guest, which gives you limited access to view most discussions and access our other features. By joining our community, free of charge, you will have access to post topics, communicate privately with other members (PM), respond to polls, upload content and access many other special features. Registration is free, fast and simple, so please join our community today!

If you have any problems with the registration process or your account login, please contact us.
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads. 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 06-16-2009, 01:57 PM   #1
Tea cups
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 103136
Join Date: Dec 2005
Default CAR AND DRIVER: 2009 Ford Focus SES Sedan; inspires us to really get to know Sync


Never ask a gas-station attendant where to get a good steak. Many moons ago, a pair of desperate staffers did just that. The attendant responded with “Chili’s is good for steaks,” and proceeded to give directions that included pointing left when she said “turn right.” When asked what other options might exist, she looked straight at the staffers and said—with identical intonation—“Chili’s is good for steaks.” Dejected, the duo went to Chili’s and ordered burgers.

We were reminded of this story when we drove the 2009 Ford Focus SES with Sync, the Microsoft-developed, voice-activated vehicle-and-audio interface. Sync’s ability to understand human speech is impressive—in a prior test, it successfully responded to a request to call our former editor-in-chief, Csaba Csere, a name that has confounded subscribers and auto executives for decades. But other staffers have had mixed results, so we wondered: how would it recognize our voices?

A Cast of Characters

We started out with a good Yoda impersonation. Although the Jedi Master’s irregular weaving of words might confound Sync—which responds only to commands following the proper form, such as “play artist Golden Earring,” or “play track My Heart Will Go On” (you don’t have to add the parenthetical “Love Theme from Titanic”)—Sync had no trouble understanding Yoda’s requests. Be warned, if you ask for the Top Gun anthem by artist, you’ll have to ask Sync to “play artist Harold Faltermeyer and Steve Stevens.” Asking for just Harold Faltermeyer won’t get you anywhere.

Sync also understood our best impressions of two of our favorite Jerky Boys characters, Sol Rosenberg and Tarbash the Egyptian Magician, as well as a Brooklyn accent as demonstrated by Jocko Johnson. It struggled with your basic talking-horse voice—a combination of whinnying and talking—recognizing only about 70 percent of the commands. Will Ferrell’s Jacob Silj, the voice-immodulated Saturday Night Live “Weekend Update” shouter, on the other hand, had a 100-percent success rate.

Sync’s standard practice when uncertain about a request is to present a menu of options. When the horse asked for The Who, Sync offered the following options: Gary Allan, Phil Collins, and Van Halen. None of those sound like “The Who” to us, but maybe they do to Bill Gates.

Shrieking, Screaming, and Being Hacked with a Machete. Plus, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

Silj’s voice immodulation inspired a trio of different screams. We started with a basic scream, which Sync understood just fine. But when we puffed up for a window-bulging bellow, the system ignored us. Then we commanded “Play artist Talking Heads” in a crying/screaming help-I’m-being-attacked-by-a-psycho-killer horror-movie shriek, which Sync understood. So if the Scream killer ever appears in the back seat of your Focus, you’ll be able to order Sync to call 911 while keeping both hands safely on the wheel. Incidentally, Sync works perfectly at 75 mph with all windows down in dense traffic.

A thorough test of any voice-activated system would be un-American without gauging its sensitivity to the range of international accents possessed by American drivers. Sync understood our best attempt at a Chinese accent, as well as butch German caricature, but only begrudgingly accepted orders from an effete German. French was flat-out denied, as was a squeaky English accent. A deeper, Churchillian cadence had better success, perhaps because Winston’s eloquence makes him universally recognizable.

Hey, I Know That Guy

From there, we moved into American social stereotypes, where we had 100 percent success with hillbilly, high-school jock and nerd, that annoying woman from your office, and voice-cracking teen. Sync’s soothing female persona also understood a male robot voice and our best impression of herself. Understanding herself gives Sync a distinct advantage over many in our office, who will quite possibly never figure themselves out.

So, how else can you have fun in a Focus? Chili’s is good for steaks.

VEHICLE TYPE: front-engine, front-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 4-door sedan

PRICE AS TESTED: $22,305 (base price: $18,560)

ENGINE TYPE: DOHC 16-valve inline-4, aluminum block and head, port fuel injection

Displacement: 121 cu in, 1999cc
Power (SAE net): 140 bhp @ 6000 rpm
Torque (SAE net): 136 lb-ft @ 4250 rpm

TRANSMISSION: 4-speed automatic

Wheelbase: 102.9 in Length: 175.0 in Width: 67.8 in Height: 58.6 in
Curb weight: 2830 lb

Zero to 60 mph: 10.2 sec
Zero to 100 mph: 34.3 sec
Zero to 130 mph: 5.9 sec, if you drop it from an airplane*
Street start, 5–60 mph: 10.8 sec
Standing ¼-mile: 17.6 sec @ 80 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 112 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 189 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad**: 0.79 g

EPA city/highway driving: 24/33 mpg
C/D observed: 25 mpg
*In a vacuum.
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
Tea cups is offline   Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
* Registered users of the site do not see these ads.
Old 06-16-2009, 02:05 PM   #2
Scooby Guru
Member#: 9481
Join Date: Aug 2001
Chapter/Region: South East
Location: FFR Challenge #43
1832 Steam Buggy


lol, at the testing methods
mhoward1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-16-2009, 09:30 PM   #3
Scooby Guru
Member#: 22825
Join Date: Aug 2002
Chapter/Region: NWIC
Location: Seattle, WA

Having used Ford's Sync in various rentals, I love the thing. Add to that, the Fusion and Focus models, were very well built. The Fusion I loved for it's quiet interior. The Focus had neat mood lighting in the foot wells with users selectable colors.
teiva-boy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 09:25 AM   #4
Scooby Newbie
Member#: 190420
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: VT
'13 BRZ Limited
'04 Impreza Outback Sport


Sol Rosenberg ftw
IWantASuby is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 08:50 PM   #5
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 32113
Join Date: Jan 2003
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: Trollhatten, Japan
05 Saabaru
Satin Grey


ugly car and worst interior evar!!! don't care about funky cool tech if it's wrapped in that packaging.
Derbagger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 08:51 PM   #6
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 50523
Join Date: Dec 2003
Chapter/Region: MWSOC
Location: Virginia
2010 GTI


Originally Posted by Derbagger View Post
ugly car and worst interior evar!!! don't care about funky cool tech if it's wrapped in that packaging.
Don't worry MK3 Focus and Fiesta are coming very soon.
darknightohio is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-17-2009, 11:48 PM   #7
Scooby Specialist
Member#: 84697
Join Date: Apr 2005
Chapter/Region: NESIC
Location: western massachusetts
2003 Camry...


can't wait for these to start malfunctioning and responding to any/everything ya say in an in-car conversation/phone call.
Jtree is offline   Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FS (MI): 2009 Ford Focus SES Sedan LOW MILES! ra1337 Private Vehicle 'For Sale' Classifieds 3 10-23-2009 10:12 PM
CAR AND DRIVER: Ford Sync Services Review: Traffic, Directions, Information, and 911 Tea cups Non-Subaru News & Rumors 2 06-30-2009 11:54 AM
Editors' Roundtable: 2009 Ford Focus SES Coupe AVANTI R5 Non-Subaru News & Rumors 25 12-08-2008 01:30 PM
2009 Ford Focus Coupe: Subtlty Redesigned AVANTI R5 Non-Subaru News & Rumors 45 05-15-2008 02:41 PM
2009 Ford Focus Coupe-Cabriolet facelift AVANTI R5 Non-Subaru News & Rumors 13 02-06-2008 09:02 AM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 03:24 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Powered by Searchlight © 2017 Axivo Inc.
Copyright ©1999 - 2017, North American Subaru Impreza Owners Club, Inc.