The issue is not voice control (though it could be better). The issue is volume control on non-navigation models. There is no discrete control of volume for the different sources (There is on NAV).
Have the radio at a decent level and the handfree volume will be too low. That's not that bad. Hit the sync button and the voice prompt will be so loud your ears will bleed. Ford is aware of it, and issued a TSB that tells dealers to not do anything. The other fun one is the poor sound on the rear view mounted MIC. Ford issued a TSB for that, and will install a replacement MIC, but it looks like something a bestbuy employee would install from the early 90s. What's the worst part of it all is Fords total lack of support. BON is better run than the SYNC Community forums.
I have two questions if I may:
1. Is this high volume, bleeding ears
issue, an ongoing problem or has Ford fixed it in subsequent models? Sounds like an easy thing to deal with (by the maker, not the user of course)
2. Did they fix the mic problem? Is that what you are saying about a mid 2010 thing?
I know several people that say they would NOT buy a car without SYNC or some similar system (up to today there is nothing remotely similar) but most of them have it together with nav. Except for my friend "P" who bought a Focus upon my recommendation and even though he has not nav, he is one of the most enthusiastic proponents of SYNC that I know.
Back when I was reviewing cars I drove several Ford vehicles with SYNC, I did never experienced this high volume/bleeding ears problems. They were of course all top of the line models with Navigation (demo testers are usually very well loaded examples). The Flex with the then new next gen nav system was one of the best SYNC examples I got to test and no bleeding ears to speak of. I wonder if the problem you are experiencing is related to nav-less vehicles, or even more so (and based on "P" and is Focus) to nav-less Flexes or nav-less big cabin vehicles.
What I find inexcusable, is that Ford would issue a TSB about this problems and tell the dealers not to do anything. I am very curios too see how would they phrase such an absurdity, knowing as they know that these TBS go public. Do you have a copy to post here by any chance?