Bell and Ford partner in new Connected Car initiative

Built-in Wi-Fi hotspots in Ford and Lincoln vehicles powered by Canada’s best national mobile network

MONTRÉAL, Oct. 18, 2018 /CNW Telbec/ – Bell today announced it is the first Canadian wireless service provider to enable built-in Wi-Fi hotspots in supported Ford and Lincoln vehicles with Bell’s Connected Car – Built In service. Available vehicle diagnostics services will also be supported on Bell’s national LTE network.

“Drivers and their passengers can now connect to Wi-Fi just as conveniently in their Ford and Lincoln vehicles as they do in their homes,” said Nauby Jacob, Vice President of Products and Services at Bell Mobility. “As a Canadian leader in Internet of Things innovation, Bell is proud to partner with Ford to bring car owners across the country an even better in-vehicle experience.”

Ideal for mobile workers, commuters and long family trips, Connected Car enables passengers to browse, stream and share on Bell’s broadband LTE wireless network when they’re on the road or nearby the vehicle when it’s parked. The Wi-Fi hotspot features a dedicated external antenna, supports up to 10 devices at a time, and is powered by the vehicle’s electrical system rather than the device battery.

As advancements in technology continue to connect people and enhance their lives, Ford is committed to taking the lead. In-vehicle Wi-Fi allows customers to stay connected with their friends, family and the world around them. From streaming music and driver assist technologies, to navigation and everything in between, connectivity is the key.

“Having reliable Wi-Fi on the go is no longer just ‘nice to have’ – it’s become a ‘must-have,’ and Ford recognizes that,” said Marc Vejgman, Connected Vehicle Marketing Manager for Ford of Canada. “Connecting our vehicles is part of building smart vehicles for a smart world, and we look forward to working with Bell to offer Ford customers another way to stay connected across Canada.”

Ford customers can take advantage of a complimentary wireless data trial that expires at the end of 3 months, or after 3 GB of data is used, whichever comes first. After their trial is complete, customers can stay connected by signing up for a data plan. Bell customers can share data from their Bell Share plan with Connected Car for $10 a month, with 1 GB in bonus data per month for 24 months. Bell Connected Car – Built In will be available for supported Ford and Lincoln vehicles beginning November 6, 2018.

Connected Car is the next evolution in the smart vehicle experience and part of Bell’s IoT leadership to enable the connected vehicles, homes, businesses and smart cities of the future.

Ford named the Most Ethical Brand in 2016

Ford is no stranger to the Ethisphere Institute’s List of World’s Most Ethical Companies. For decades, Ford has been dedicated to making a positive impact in the global community through strong corporate citizenship. And every year, that commitment deepens. That’s why we are tremendously honoured to be celebrating another year on the Ethisphere Institute’s list of top performers.

It’s true – as of 2016, we have been honoured 7 years in a row and have the distinction of being the sole auto manufacturer on the list. Each year, the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of business ethics, assesses companies based on their ethics, corporate citizenship, leadership, and reputation. Ford is one of 131 companies to make 2016’s list of top companies. You can learn more and see the full list of winners here.



Ford Sync 3 with CarPlay and Android Auto: Good marriage potential


Ford started something back in 2007 when it launched its Sync infotainment system, powered by Microsoft. The new-look Sync 3 also laid the foundation to support CarPlay and Android Auto, though it took the automaker until this year to announce that it would actually do so.

The 2017 Escape is one of the current Ford models offering that compatibility, giving user’s an interesting mix of useful OEM features with the deeper integration Apple and Google help enable. The marriage between the two works fairly well, even if they have to live separately most of the time.

The basics


Sync 3 represented a revamp for Ford’s aging infotainment system, explaining why the company decided to build it from the ground up with a different architecture. Unfortunately, there is no backward compatibility, so older vehicles running on previous versions of Sync have no chance of upgrading to the newer version.

That disconnected line of succession is a tough pill to swallow for consumers who bought or leased Ford vehicles, as late as 2015. And so, this year marks a new start because of Ford’s commitment to rolling out its new platform to the manufacturer’s various models.

It also marks a shift in strategy, now that CarPlay and Android Auto are being integrated, combining one of the preeminent factory infotainment systems with those two platforms. Ford is working on alternatives that might claw back some of the ground it ceded to Apple and Google here, but once the cat is out of the bag and drivers get acclimated, it’s hard to see how they may go back.

Layout and connections


Naturally, the standout change here is adding CarPlay and Android Auto to the existing system. This would have been technically possible last year in vehicles running Sync 3, but Ford predictably waited until after CES 2016 and the kickoff of this year’s Auto Show circuit to open that up.

The 8-inch touchscreen is the central part of the Sync 3 system, while the USB port at the bottom of the middle dash acts as the main conduit to interface with it using a smartphone. A 12-volt socket is to the right of that. The middle console has another USB port with an Aux-In jack.

Bluetooth is standard, along with steering wheel controls that tie in directly to whichever platform is running. Pairing an iPhone via Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free will work with a long press of the voice button on the wheel. A quick press would bring up Ford’s own voice activation system.

Ford has long been among the best in the auto industry for how that works, mainly because it allows drivers to string commands together. For example, I could say, ‘climate, set temperature, 22-degrees’ in one sequence. Most other voice systems can’t string commands together like that, presenting a back-and-forth question-and-answer process that is needlessly time-consuming instead.

There is no wireless charging in the 2017 Escape. And while car itself has Wi-Fi to connect to other networks, I didn’t have a separate data plan to use in the car that other devices could connect to.

Smartphone integration


Setting up CarPlay and Android Auto was a breeze in both cases, despite having to add my iPhone as a Bluetooth device separately. Android Auto pairs the phone automatically.

CarPlay has to be disabled in order to use apps through Sync 3. So, while Spotify is integrated into Ford’s system, that’s effectively cut off because CarPlay becomes the default platform after initial setup. The only way I was able to get away from that was to disable CarPlay completely from the settings.

The same goes for Android Auto. Once a phone has been set up to run Google’s platform, Sync 3 will always defer to it when that phone is plugged in. Mapping and navigation are also deferred. Ford’s built-in satellite GPS incurs no data charges, yet it can only be used if CarPlay or Android Auto are disabled, or the phone is connected via Bluetooth. Caching offline Google Maps now works with Android Auto, so that is a nice reprieve from draining a monthly data bucket, whereas Apple doesn’t offer that for its own mapping app yet.

Ford’s own voice control is disabled, too. When either CarPlay or Android Auto are running, pressing the voice button will always trigger Siri or Google Now. I tried a long press to see if it might go back to Sync, but no dice.

On the surface, this might seem inconsequential, except that Sync’s voice commands can do things the others can’t. Siri and Google Now can’t tap into the car’s climate control, nor can they navigate to AM/FM or SiriusXM radio. Climate was easy enough because the physical controls were there, but going to a different audio source required tapping the Ford button on CarPlay (bottom right on Android Auto) to go back to the main menu and selecting a different audio source from there.

What was kind of neat was that I could have CarPlay running, yet have music stream from an Android phone via Bluetooth. I hadn’t encountered that quirk before in other factory systems supporting both platforms.

In cases where CarPlay or Android Auto are disabled, Sync 3 can tap into contacts and music files stored on the phone by voice. Phone calls are a breeze, with contact names or numbers easily understood (though less common names can cause trouble), whereas music files are very hit or miss. Ford claimed to have substantially increased the number of words and phrases Sync 3 would recognize but that doesn’t appear to have translated as much to artists, albums and songs.

Music and phone calls


A key integration here is Spotify, primarily because neither CarPlay nor Android Auto are required for it. Setting it up to appear under Sync’s app section could be a little more obvious. I had to plug in, open the app on the phone from scratch, then wait for a prompt on the head unit screen to add the app on Sync, and then finally add it.

Though Spotify can run on Sync from the phone via Bluetooth, it only appears as an option onscreen when the app is running on the phone to begin with. Not always convenient, but at least it isn’t affected when calling or texting someone using Siri Eyes Free. Once done, the music just picks up again on Spotify thereafter.

A benefit of this integration is that Spotify can be launched by Sync’s voice activation, and that playlists are indexed, so those can be voiced, too. Siri can’t do either of those things, and Google Now can only launch the app.

With CarPlay and Android Auto, the same quirks apply, which was to be expected, given that neither has been updated since automakers began rolling them out this year. Spotify won’t play anything if the app has been frozen for too long, affecting iOS more than Android, but still happens with both. Conversely, it didn’t happen with Sync, and I suspect the reason why is because the app isn’t projecting to the head unit like it does with the other two platforms.

Nothing has changed on the third-party app front. Few music services are available, and Google’s list of compatible apps is easier to find than Apple’s. Messaging apps are also fairly limited, but I did like that WhatsApp, Hangouts and Kik are standard on Android Auto, offering alternatives to texting. Even Skype works through it. Apple has been more cautious, and thus fallen behind in the compatibility race.

Waze will be coming to the platform soon. No such luck on CarPlay.

Calling and texting is easiest with an iPhone because it works the same way if CarPlay is running or not. Using Siri in either case made it simple to do both. Sync can also handle those tasks on its own without having to use Siri at all. Android Auto is necessary to get the most out texting and messaging with an Android phone, though Sync handles calls perfectly fine without it.

Wrap up

Ford’s Sync 3 does largely play second fiddle to CarPlay and Android Auto, but it has decent capability on its own that doesn’t force drivers to switch every time. The result, at least from how it seemed here at the outset, is that this is a marriage that could work. The question is whether or not Ford can move fast enough to update the software to add more functionality the others can’t.

This will be vitally important moving forward. Customers buying Ford vehicles will want to see that Sync 3 will remain viable longer-term, because if it doesn’t, this will mark the beginning of the end for the platform. For now, the combination available works, and if all sides keep pushing each other, drivers serve to reap the benefits.

Catching Them All: 5 Tips to GO Further

Safety Tips to GO Further

Have you noticed creatures of all colours, sizes, and temperaments appearing in your neighborhood, your place of work, or even in your bedroom? A fire-breathing lizard sitting at the water cooler, cute as a button? Or a haunting gaseous ghost floating by on a downtown street? And how about the seemingly endless number of bugs and birds in rural areas, or that one particularly common, sleepy psychic causing strife to city dwellers?

If any of these sounds familiar, then you may be one of the millions of players – or rather, trainers – enjoying the latest mobile gaming craze. And as with any great adventure, there’s a smart way to do it that factors in the safety of your fellow trainers, non-trainers, and yourself!

Whether you’re of mystical disposition, valorous at heart, or an instinctual guru – here are some tips to make your team proud and keep your region safe:

  1. Keep your eyes peeled, drivers!

Drivers, be very careful around crosswalks and pedestrians. The only way to see wild creatures – so far – is through the screen on a mobile device. That means that a lot of people are scouring their neighborhoods with their heads down – paying less attention to the real world than they usually would.

  1. Don’t play and drive

When driving, you should never play a mobile game – or engage with a mobile device at all. Ever. As an alternative, bring a trusted friend who can catch and swipe on your behalf from the passenger seat. Huh? The role of the front-seat navigator is evolving!

  1. Always wear a seatbelt

Luckily, since you don’t need to throw an actual ball to catch your creature, a seatbelt won’t constrain your necessary range of movement. As always, keep it buckled up!

  1. Obey the speed limits

Your driver should be mindful of other drivers on the road and obey the speed limits. While egg hatching can only occur under speeds of 20km/h, not everyone is driving this slowly. Always drive safely and mind the rules of the road – and remember, playing is for passengers only.

  1. Stop before you play

Catching new creatures is a great opportunity to explore your community; you never know where you might find a new ‘stop or gym. Always be sure to pause in a safe place before you play – don’t block the road, and play in a group whenever you are exploring new areas.

Since rare creatures can spawn virtually anywhere – there’s certainly no harm in heading to your local Ford dealership. It won’t shock you to learn that we’ve got plenty of “electric types” available – from all-electrics, hybrids, to plug-in hybrids like the 2017 Fusion Energi Platinum. It’s very effective!

With 150 to catch, and plenty of rarities – it’s gonna take you a while to capture them all. From everyone at Ford Canada, we hope all your throws are Excellent and that our beloved transferred creatures aren’t actually being turned into candy!

Latest Ford Mustang on track for 2017

All variants of the latest generation Ford Mustang are in huge demand in the U.S. and beyond but to ensure that the Pony car retains its title as the world’s most popular sportscar, Ford is adding a host of extras as standard to the flagship model.

The GT350 is pitched as not only the ultimate version of the latest Mustang but as the ultimate production Mustang in history in terms of its ability to go around a circuit as easily as it can travel around the country. Yet until now, the Track Package was an optional extra.

But from June, buyers will get suspension tower braces, a bigger downforce generating rear spoiler, the MagneRide damping system and coolers for engine oil, transmission and differential as standard.

The original Mustang, launched back in 1964, is the vehicle that essentially turned the idea of offering consumers a blank automotive canvas onto which extras and personal touches are added into the globally accepted way of selling a new car.

However, letting buyers individually ‘spec’ their cars is also a very effective way of judging consumer trends — what’s hot, what’s not — all of which has fed into Ford’s decision-making process for standard and optional equipment packs for the 2017 model-year.

“Ford Performance is always listening to customer feedback,” said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “We have adjusted the packages available to continue to provide more of what customers want.”

Alongside the track package, from June there will also be a choice of three new exterior paint colours — Ruby Red Metallic, Lightning Blue and Grabber Blue, plus a concerted focus on comfort.

As sporty as the GT350 is — a 5.2-liter, naturally aspirated flat-plane crankshaft V8 sending 526hp to the rear wheels via a six-speed manual transmission — some owners are going to want to simply cruise down the boulevard.

So the car can be specified with a nine-speaker audio system, latest generation voice-activated infotainment unit and electrically operated leather trimmed sports seats.

The 2017 Ford Raptor

YEAR: 2017

Eagerly anticipated and still unmatched by any auto manufacturer,  Ford introduces the all-new 2017 F-150 Raptor SuperCrew, adding agility, versatility and roominess to the toughest, smartest, most capable F-150 Raptor ever.
Developed with the DNA of a Baja race truck, F-150 Raptor is unique among off-road and performance vehicles, with a purpose-built engine, chassis and suspension that enables it to travel fast over challenging desert landscapes or crawl over rocky terrain.
The F-150 Raptor SuperCrew with four full-size doors provides rear passengers with more legroom and comfort on the trails and more space to stow gear while exploring the Canadian wilderness. SuperCrew’s 145-inch wheelbase is 12 inches longer than the standard Raptor SuperCab 133-inch wheelbase.
The Raptor’s superior off-road capability, in addition to the SuperCrew, allows customers to leave the pavement behind without sacrificing comfort or space.
Advanced materials – including high-strength steel and high-strength, military grade, aluminum alloy – help save up to 500 pounds versus the prior Raptor for improved off-road prowess. Combined with all-new EcoBoost engine technology, the next-generation F-150 Raptor’s power-to-weight ratio has been improved, making the truck even more agile off-road.
The Raptor starts with a purpose-built fully boxed frame – the backbone of the truck – that is the strongest in the F-150 lineup, featuring more high-strength steel than the outgoing Raptor.
The truck’s chiseled looks are reminiscent of Trophy Trucks – the fastest and most powerful class of off-road pickups. The F-150 Raptor is 6 inches wider than standard F-150 for enhanced stability off-road.
The Raptor also boasts its first-ever dual exhaust and new 17-inch wheels with next-generation BFGoodrich All-Terrain KO2 tires designed for off-road performance.

Source: The Sun

Ford Focus RS a wicked hot hatch

VALENCIA, Spain — RS is Ford’s performance sub-brand. It’s what M is to BMW, and what AMG is to Mercedes-Benz.

Up until this spring, when the $46,969 Focus RS arrives in Canada, we’ve never had an RS model in this country.

With 350 horsepower, a four-wheel drive system, Recaro seats, Brembo brakes, Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires — what’s not to like?

The basically good Focus chassis was stiffened by 23 per cent over the standard model, and by 9 per cent over the previously hot hatch variant, the ST.

Stiffer springs give the required control.

Two-stage dampers have a Sport setting that is 40 per cent stiffer than Normal, a larger spread than usual for variable dampers, to emphasize the dual road/track nature of this car.

The 2.3-litre EcoBoost four cylinder engine from the Mustang gets more power (350 versus 310 in the ‘Stang), mainly from a bigger twin-scroll turbocharger, a new cylinder head and improved intake and exhaust systems.

No fewer than three exhaust systems were built and tested before they found the right sound.

The RS team also dialed in exhaust burbles and backfires. Irresponsible. Loutish. It’s huge fun. You’re always looking for a rock wall or an underpass to drive by with the windows down just to hear it.

The urge is fed through a strengthened six-speed manual transmission to an ultrasophisticated four-wheel drive system.

A button on the centre console calls up Normal, Sport, Race Track or Drift drive modes, to change the steering, engine and four-wheel drive characteristics. It also adjusts the Electronic Control System response, damper stiffness and exhaust note.

The dampers can also be adjusted independent of drive mode.

Did I say Drift mode?

Yes. YouTube rally star Ken Block worked with Ford on this car to allow anyone to drive like a hooligan. Tire-frying doughnuts for all.

The power to the pavement detail was entrusted to Michelin. Sport Cup 2 tires are standard on Canadian models.

With all this go, you better have some help to stop. Big 350 mm front and 302 mm rear rotors, the former clamped by Italian four-piston Brembo calipers, do the job.

One design principle was to have “nothing that isn’t functional.” So that roof-mounted spoiler helps maintain zero lift front and rear at higher speeds.

The grille mesh has a 85 per cent void ratio compared to 56 per cent for the Focus ST to allow more cooling air into the engine.

Three Recaro seats are available, a base design, a heated one, and a lightweight ‘shell’ racing seat.

As Recaros always are, the heated units in our tester were snug but comfortable and supportive.

We tested the RS on hilly, twisty roads west of Valencia, where despite the raw performance, the car actually feels quite comfortable.

On the Ricardo Tormo circuit where Formula One cars often test, the combination of tight technical corners and fast sweepers proved an excellent venue to try the various characteristics of the four-wheel drive system.

Through a tight corner followed by hard acceleration, virtually all front-drive and most four-wheel drive cars will plow determinedly to the outside of the corner — the dreaded understeer, often ending in a curb or, worse, a tree.

The usual way to deal with this is to lift, and wait for the front tires to regain grip. That means meanwhile, you’re going slower.

But in the Focus RS, you counterintuitively nail it.

The trick four-wheel drive system directs more torque to the outside rear wheel, tightening the line and driving the car smartly onto the following straight.

This is as close to the classic rear-wheel drive feel as you’re likely to get in a front-mounted transverse-engined car.

The car’s chief engineer noted that a car like this is not only about the numbers.

“You have to be in the ballpark,” says Tyrone Johnson, ”and we are. But we think we have built a car that is fun to drive, and that the performance is accessible to any reasonably competent driver.”

Amen, Brother Johnson.

The car makes you feel like you’re a much better driver than you probably are.

And who doesn’t like to be flattered now and then?

How the RS’ four-wheel drive system works

From the get-go, the engineering team working on Ford’s performance cars knew that four-wheel drive would be necessary to make the Focus RS what they needed it to be.

They also knew that the typical system used on most cars today wouldn’t cut it.

Most of these systems, whether they’re made by Sweden-based Haldex or not, are very similar in operation.

A progressively lockable centre differential divides torque front-to-rear in a predetermined ratio. If wheel slippage occurs at either end, the centre diff engages to reduce that slippage.

Johnson’s team felt this type of system was too slow in reacting to get the performance they wanted.

So they looked at the promising Twinster system from British drivetrain specialist GKN.

Here, the power take-off unit (PTU) up front sends torque to the front wheels, which have a torque vectoring function. If the car is not attaining the turning angle the driver wants, momentary application of one or more brakes helps nudge the car back on line.

Via an open differential, the PTU also turns the prop shaft heading to the back axle, where another open diff sends the torque right and left.

And here’s where it gets clever.

Electronically-controlled clutch packs in each rear axle half-shaft can be fully open (meaning no torque is being sent to that side), completely closed (sending maximum available torque to that side) or just about any degree in between. And, independently of one another.

So theoretically, one rear wheel could be full-on, the other full-off, both could be full-on or full-off, with virtually every permutation in between also possible.

In this design, torque isn’t so much fed to the wheels as it is demanded by the wheels. A multitude of sensors in the car determine road speed, yaw angle, steering wheel angle, throttle position, drive mode, etc., and determine how closed each clutch should be. This can be changed something like 100 times per second, about as real time as it gets.

Drive torque isn’t nominally divided front-to-rear as in most systems, although in typical operation, as much as 70 per cent can be directed rearward.

Under the most sedate steady-state driving conditions — straight level road, no throttle application, no steering wheel inputs — both rear wheels will be disconnected, and the RS becomes a front-drive car, for a slight gain in fuel economy. But in about 50 milliseconds, it can wake up that back end as needed.

The launch control mode — select the function, clutch in, pin the throttle (the engine sticks at about 5,000 rpm), dump the clutch, hang on — is one of the rare times when both rears would be locked solid.

The near-infinite number of combinations of all these variables means it took more than two years of development for engineers and test drivers to calibrate everything.

Nice job, folks.

2016 Ford Focus RS

BASE PRICE/AS TESTED: $46,969 / $47,964

ADD-ONS: Destination (Freight/P.D.I.) — $1,700

TYPE: 4 seat, 4 door compact hatchback

PROPULSION: Four-wheel-drive

CARGO: 564 litres (rear seat up)

ENGINE: 2.3 litre inline four, double overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, variable valve timing intake and exhaust, direct injection, turbocharged.

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual

POWER/TORQUE: 350 hp / 325 lb.-ft.

TOWING CAPACITY: Not recommended.

FUEL CONSUMPTION (Transport Canada) L/100 km): Premium recommended, data n/a.

BRAKES: Four-wheel discs, front four-piston Brembo calipers; rear single-piston Ford calipers.

TIRES: Pilot Sport Cup 2, P235/35R19

STANDARD FEATURES: All the usual Mod Cons (Modern Conveniences), plus power moonroof, Recaro heated seats, extra set of winter tires on alloy rims.

ACCESSIBILITY: Good front/rear.

COMPETITION: Subaru WRX STI ($45,395 for most-comparably-equipped Sport-Tech package) with 305 horses is the sofar undefeated champion better be looking over its shoulder; Volkswagen Golf R ($42,010 as comparably equipped as you can get) $39,995- less expensive, less powerful, perhaps more refined.

WHAT’S BEST: Fantastic grip; excellent performance in all areas; remarkably comfortable and practical to drive when you’re not being a hooligan.

WHAT’S WORST: Nothing I could determine. OK, maybe a trifle more road noise than you might want. But hey; it’s no Rolls-Royce.

WHAT’S INTERESTING: For once, Canada gets it cheaper and better-equipped than the Americans.

LOOKS: Bit of a sleeper; without close examination, you might not take it for anything but a Focus with cool wheels.

INTERIOR: Focus-like, but Recaro seats prove it is something special.

PERFORMANCE: Spectacular.

TECHNOLOGY: Unique four-wheel drive system sets a new standard.

WHAT YOU’LL LIKE ABOUT THIS CAR: If this is your type of car, everything.

WHAT YOU WON’T LIKE ABOUT THIS CAR: If you own a Subaru WRX STI, also everything.