Today's car buyers have more options than ever when it comes to entertainment in the car. The days when a CD player was a luxurious upgrade are long gone. The automakers are adding more and more functions to facilitate commuting and relax.
With so many new infotainment options and various options depending on vehicle models and trim levels, it's hard to tell which system is right for you – and what your favorite or compulsory features offer. Do you need navigation tools or is it enough to connect your phone to the system? And does it Apple CarPlay Android Auto or both? What about satellite or internet radio? To find out which vehicles will meet your needs, it can often be frustrating to analyze the manufacturers' technical data sheets and product manuals.
We have broken it down with this guide to the features of today's car brands. In our new car tests you will also find more and more detailed technical information about the performance of each of these systems. At the moment we have restricted our list to mainstream car brands ̵
1; you will not find details about the technologies in Bugatti or Koenigsegg .
Most Acura models use a two-screen infotainment system called an on-demand multi-information display. There's a 7-inch display and an 8-inch display with a physical turn and tip controller and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. An exception is the ILX sedan. By default, a 5-inch display and a single 8-inch display are offered for higher trim levels.
The NSX Supercar has a 7-inch touchscreen surface. The latest Acura, the 2019 RDX crossover introduces a new infotainment system with a 10.2-inch screen and a "True Touchpad Interface" using a touch-sensitive pad in the center console. At the moment it only offers Apple CarPlay, but support for Android Auto is imminent.
In general, Acura's infotainment systems feel a bit old-fashioned, with graphics and a cumbersome user interface. The use of the two screens and the physical control knob is not as straightforward as in many infotainment systems of premium manufacturers. As far as the new RDX system is concerned, we found it easy to use and much better than older Acura interfaces, although the handling of the touchpad learned less than expected.
The Alfa Romeo Giulia and Stelvio are both available with 6.5- or 8.8-inch infotainment displays that feature a dial The center console (The screens are non-touch sensitive, both offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, while navigation is optional on both systems.) Satellite radio is standard on higher-end (Ti and Quadrifoglio) and optional base models Sports Car 4C features a minimalist Alpine head unit with AM / FM radio, satellite radio, Bluetooth, and USB port.
Giulia and Stelvio's infotainment systems use a proprietary software interface (that is, it acts) not a renaming) software version of FCA, Alfa's parent company) with a rather minimalist design. The menu structure itself is easy to navigate with the physical controller, but the reactions of the system are slow and clunky. The navigation system does not offer advanced features such as online destination search.
The 4C system feels like a retrofit unit that you may have installed in your own vehicle. And although the Alpine system is an improvement over the Parrot system built in earlier models, it's still nothing special compared to other similarly priced sports cars.
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Review the technique in the Aston Martin Vantage 2019
Older models such as the Rapide and the Vanquish have a system called AMI III that features navigation, text message integration, and Bluetooth. Its functions are managed by a knob on the middle stack. The two latest Aston Martins, the DB11 and the Vantage, use a Mercedes-Benz Comand infotainment system with an 8-inch screen without a touchscreen in the dashboard, as well as dials and touchpad controllers in the console. The Rapide and Vanquish both support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but both are not offered for DB1, DBS Superleggera and Vantage – though a spokesman says they have not "offered" these features later.
Aston Martin's older infotainment systems are raw and dated by today's standards – hey, you buy these cars for their beauty and their engines, not for their technology, right? However, the Mercedes-based DB11, DBS and Vantage systems are just as uncomplicated and modern as other Mercedes models, a refreshing change from older vehicles of the 2019 Audi Q8
Most older Audi models use an infotainment system called the MMI, which has a rotary knob with keyboard shortcuts to access all the information on the display. Many newer Audi models also allow the driver to interact with the infotainment system via Virtual Cockpit, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster operated by steering wheel control. In fact, since the TT and R8 are driver oriented, they do not have a central screen and all infotainment interactions in Virtual Cockpit.
Audi's older MMI works well and fast with logically structured menus that we find easy to operate while driving. However, the navigation with Android Auto via a rotary knob instead of a touch screen takes some getting used to. Virtual cockpit is a must, if available, as it is able to present a lot of information clearly and simply directly in the line of sight of the driver. Its graphics are sharp and bright.
The A6 A7 A8 Q8 Q3 . and E-Tron all use a new, more advanced version with two screens called MMI Touch Response with haptic feedback on the screens. The main display is 10.1 inches wide, while the lower 8.6-inch display is used to control the air conditioning and to enter information such as navigation addresses. Every Audi supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
We're Impressed with MMI Touch Response – Actually we gave the technology a Roadshow Shift Award . The twin-screen setup is pretty to look at and is quick and easy to use. Also, using the climate control on the lower screen is easy without having to wait long for the systems to start up when you turn the vehicle on. However, the glossy touch surfaces often attract fingerprints.
The Bentley Bentayga, Flying Spur and Mulsanne are equipped with 8-inch touchscreens. The Bentayga has a newer version with features such as navigation, an integrated hard drive to store music, and Google Earth satellite imagery. However, the new Continental GT and Continental GT Cabriolet use the same 12.3-inch touch-screen infotainment system found in the Porsche Panamera, since both are based on the same base platform. For a luxurious touch, it can be concealed behind a wooden paneling thanks to an elaborate, revolving display panel. It has a Wi-Fi hotspot and supports Apple CarPlay, but not Android Auto.
Bentley's older infotainment systems feel old, though the Bentayga's newer touchscreen responds quickly and responds. It even supports Apple CarPlay. The system of the Continental GT works just as well as the Panamera, with a quick response to user input that makes the use of vehicle features a breeze.
Although there is a simple AM / FM / satellite radio with USB, Bluetooth and auxiliary ports, all BMW models can be upgraded to an infotainment system called iDrive. Most models are controlled by a knob on the center console, but some newer systems also offer touchscreen support. On some models, you can write letters and numbers on the controller, which can be helpful when entering the navigation address. Apple CarPlay is supported, but you must pay a one-year subscription to use the feature. Android Auto is not offered.
Most recent BMW models, including the 5 Series, 7 Series, 3 Series, 8 Series, and X5, offer limited gesture recognition: You can turn your finger in the air to increase or decrease the volume, for example. We're still not sure if this is useful, except to impress your passengers. Other options include a Wi-Fi hotspot and charging mobile phones (depending on the vehicle).
Modern versions of iDrive are fast, responsive and intuitive with outstanding functionality, whether you're on the go or on the go. We only wish that BMW does not charge an extra fee for a feature (CarPlay) that quickly becomes standard on much more affordable mainstream models. The models 2019 X5 and X7 introduce a new version of iDrive (version 7) that uses a 12.3-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. The models 2019 3 Series 2019 8 Series and 2019 Z4 also have iDrive 7, but with a 10.25-inch screen.
BMW also introduces a new Alexa-like feature called Intelligent Personal Assistant. Speech recognition technology is available in Series 3 and 8 as well as in Z4 and X7 and can respond to requests such as "Hey BMW, look for the nearest gas station" or "Hey BMW, I'm cold". As with the similar function of Mercedes, we are not yet fully sold at Intelligent Personal Assistant.
Buick's infotainment systems use the same basic software as other General Motors vehicles, including GMC and Chevrolet models, but with unique graphics and logos. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on every model, with the exception of the Cascada Convertible, which uses an older version of the Buick infotainment system. The screen sizes are either 7 or 8 inches, depending on the model. Navigation is offered as an option. And as with most GM models, a Wi-Fi hotspot is available as an option.
As with the Chevrolet and GMC models, Buick's infotainment systems work well: they respond quickly to user input and while the graphics are not particularly noticeable, they are clear and legible. Unfortunately, the Cascada system is a generation behind other Buicks. We had slow load times and were frustrated with the button-heavy center stack required for operation.
The Cadillac CT6, XT5 and Escalade use the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) touch-screen infotainment system with built-in AM / FM / Satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB and additional connectivity, OnStar telematics support and optional navigation and integration Wi-Fi hotspot. ATS, CTS and XTS have an updated version that can save a driver's preferences for use in multiple vehicles in the cloud. In addition, it offers a "Predictive" navigation and an App Store to add even more functionality. Both systems feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and optional navigation. As with Chevrolet, performance models (ATS-V and CTS-V) can be equipped with a Performance Data Recorder to track your track-day exploits.
The newer XT4 XT6 and CT5 feature a slightly updated infotainment system supplemented by a turn-jog controller in the center console.
Like General Motors' other touchscreen infotainment systems CUE is easy to use and live with . All versions have simple menus that can be navigated at a glance on the go. The integration of CarPlay and Android Auto works well with the touchscreen surfaces. The newer version of CUE is remarkably faster and the graphics are a bit fresher and more crisp.
Under the MyLink brand, Chevrolet offers 7-inch and 8-inch touch-screen infotainment systems with optional navigation and integrated connectivity to the OnStar telematics system on most models. AM / FM / Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, Auxiliary and USB inputs are included. For performance models like the Camaro and the Corvette, you even find an optional Performance Data Recorder that lets you record video and telemetry data from your track laps. This is even better if you post later on YouTube. The Bolt EV has a slightly different infotainment system that focuses on battery charging information and other information on a 10.2-inch screen. Every Chevrolet supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Chevrolet's MyLink system offers simplicity, responsiveness, and ease-of-use . Integrated navigation and other features work well, as do CarPlay and Android Auto integrations. Although graphics are not the most exciting graphics, overall functionality makes MyLink a great choice among popular infotainment systems.
Both the Chrysler 300 and the Pacifica offer the Uconnect 4 infotainment system on an 8.4-inch screen. Some Pacifica minivan panels feature a 7-inch version of the display. The system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as well as Bluetooth, satellite radio and Aux and USB ports. Navigation with SiriusXM traffic and travel data is optional. Especially in the Pacifica, the Uconnect Theater feature allows the playback of movies on the optional rear screens for children (presumably also for older passengers).
The latest version of Uconnect is better than ever bright and clear graphics, fast answers, and easy-to-navigate menus. Using on-screen climate controls is not always the easiest experience, but Chrysler provides redundant physical buttons for most of these operations.
The Dodge Challenger and Charger offers buyers the choice between two touchscreens powered by the company's Uconnect software, a 7-inch and an 8.4-inch screen. Both have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, as well as Bluetooth, Satellite Radio, and Aux and USB ports. The 8.4-inch display can be optionally equipped with navigation with SiriusXM traffic and travel data. The Durango SUV has the same displays, but its 8.4-inch option comes standard with navigation.
The Journey is the oldest vehicle in the Dodge lineup, featuring the oldest infotainment features. For the basic models, a 4.3-inch touchscreen comes standard with AM / FM radio, Bluetooth Plus Aux and USB ports and optional satellite radio. You can choose up to an 8.4-inch screen with Uconnect 3 (a version behind other Dodge models) with or without navigation and without support for CarPlay or Android Auto.
Challenger, Charger, and Durango Performance Models Additional on-screen displays to customize vehicle settings, monitor engine data, or record your acceleration and braking times. Using on-screen climate controls is not always the easiest experience, but Dodge provides redundant physical buttons for most of these operations. The Journey's infotainment systems, like the entire frequency within the class, lag behind time.
Today's Ferraris essentially offer two different infotainment options. The Portofino and the GTC4Lusso feature 10.2-inch touch-screen navigation systems. However, the 488 family and the 812 Superfast as well as the new F8 Tributo have small color displays on the right side of the infotainment system, which are controlled by buttons on the dashboard. Every Ferrari supports Apple CarPlay (although it's a paid option), but none offers Android Auto. The F8 Tributo can be optionally equipped with a small touchscreen on the passenger side of the dashboard.
Although we still could not test the 10.2-inch system, the 488 GTB's color display is best described as " minimal but functional ."
Fiat offers different infotainment systems for each of its models. The 500 hatchback and convertible have a 5-inch touch screen with Bluetooth, USB and Aux ports. Sat-radio and navigation are optional. Both the 500X Crossover and the 500L hatchback will receive a 7-inch Uconnect 4.0 touchscreen for the 2018 model year. It includes satellite radio as well as Apple CarPlay and Android auto support and can be equipped with navigation and SiriusXM traffic information.
The Fiat 124 Spider is an interesting exception. As the convertible is based on the Mazda MX-5 Miata, it uses the Mazda Connect infotainment system with a 7-inch touchscreen and a rotary knob. See the Mazda sections for information on Mazda Connect.
The infotainment system of the 500 looks quite old-fashioned at this point, with little integration into the phone. But the newer Uconnect system introduced this year for the 500X / 500L is bright and responsive, with crisp and clear graphics Ford Edge 2019
The basic versions of Ford products use a relatively simple non-touch radio with AM / FM, auxiliary and USB inputs, Bluetooth and Ford Sync voice commands. The upgrade option is Ford Sync 3, which uses 6.5-inch or 8-inch touchscreens and adds features such as satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and optional navigation. It can even be used to adjust the climate control and heated steering wheel in appropriately equipped cars. Newer Ford models offer Wi-Fi hotspots, to which you can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. Where previously the touchscreens were embedded in the center stacks of Ford cars, newer models such as the EcoSport and 2020 Escape have tablet screens that protrude from the dashboard. The new 2020 Explorer on the other hand, can be equipped with a 10.1-inch portrait touch screen.
Earlier versions of Ford Sync were prone to error and hard to use, but Sync 3 is fast and responsive in most situations with large and clear menus on the screen. It even has an AppLink app interface that allows integration of things like Slacker Internet radio or AccuWeather forecasts. Ford cars also have volume and control knobs, so you do not have to do anything with the touchscreen.
The Genesis G90 features a 12.3-inch touchscreen with auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth, AM / FM, satellite radio, and navigation. Although Sirius XM offers traffic and travel information as well as the charging of mobile phones. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are not supported.
The smaller and more affordable G80 sedan features an 8-inch touchscreen with standard navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, XM traffic and travel information, and support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Buyers have the option of adding a 9.2-inch display with a center console knob. The G70 sedan, a Roadshow Shift Award winner also uses the 8-inch touchscreen with CarPlay and Android auto support.
The basic screen software for the G70 and G80 is based on Hyundai's Blue Link infotainment software. This means that the Genesis systems work well with fast reactions and clear menus. The lack of CarPlay and Android Auto on the G90 may disappoint some buyers, but the screen impresses with its size and clarity . Navigating menus with the scroll wheel is pretty easy.
GMC's Infotainment Systems are renamed versions of those found in equivalent Chevrolet trucks or SUVs. Depending on the equipment variant, 7- or 8-inch touchscreen displays are available. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included by default. Integrated navigation is available as an option for high trim models.
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Checking the Tech in the 2019 Honda Pilot Elite
Honda offers a simple 5-inch radio system that lacks satellite radio, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Both higher trim levels can be equipped with a 7 "or 8" touch screen that adds these features, as well as text message readout and integration with Pandora's Internet radio, as well as optional navigation. This means that every Honda offers at least optional support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
Overall, Honda infotainment systems work well and are easy to use . A disadvantage of most touchscreens is the lack of physical volume and the tuning buttons of many models. This has corrected Honda with the new Accord. The graphics of the 7-inch screen are also relatively crude, and some functions require several menus. The newer 8-inch screens have fresher, higher-resolution graphics, especially with the new tile-based layout in newer models such as the Accord, Insight Pilot Passport and Odyssey.
Depending on the model, Hyundai uses either 7- or 8-inch touchscreens with AM / FM, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary connectivity, as well as optional navigation. Every Hyundai supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Charging mobile phones is also available for some higher-end models.
Hyundai's touchscreens are not the most eye-catching, but they're favorites for their speed, ease of use, and readability. The screen software works well, even if it does not have the most eye-catching or unusual graphics on the market. The integrated navigation works well and the integrations of CarPlay and Android Auto are excellent.
The Q70 and QX60 models come standard with AM / FM / Satellite, Bluetooth, USB and Aux system. The optional upgrade includes an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation. The QX30 comes standard with a 7-inch touchscreen, while the QX80 has an 8-inch touchscreen. Finally, the Q50, Q60 and QX50 models feature a dual-screen system with a lower 7-inch touchscreen and an 8-inch touchscreen.
Features include AM / FM / Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, USB and Aux Inputs. Apple CarPlay or Android Auto are not supported. All models also have a jog dial in addition to touch support.
Infiniti's single-screen systems have no real problems, but they do not stand out compared to today's best competitors: the navigation graphics are dated and the built-in functionality is not particularly impressive. The dual-screen setup is frustrating because the bottom display has crisp, modern graphics, but the top one was "scratched" by a Garmin installed in a 1995 Civic Garmin, we wrote. In addition, the functionality is slow and feels a step behind most competitors – especially given the lack of CarPlay and Android Auto.
An 8-inch touchscreen is standard on most models, while Jaguar offers an improved system with navigation and a 10-inch display with bright and colorful graphics. A Wi-Fi hotspot can be outfitted, and new models, including the updated XE sedan can be outfitted with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto .
Unfortunately, trouble loving Jaguar's infotainment systems . Your reactions are sluggish, especially when you start the car for the first time or switch between menu structures. The layout of the start page is reconfigurable, but the many submenus are difficult to navigate. This makes even everyday functions (such as changing radio presets) more than a task than in rival luxury systems.
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UConnect gives the 2020 Jeep Gladiator a leg
Depending on which Jeep you buy, various infotainment systems are available. However, all offer at least 7- and 8.4-inch touchscreens with Uconnect 4, the latest version of the user-friendly infotainment system. It supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and has optional navigation, SiriusXM traffic and travel information. The Renegade, Compass, Wrangler und Gladiator bieten auf Basismodellen auch einen viel weniger beeindruckenden 5-Zoll-Touchscreen, mit älterer Uconnect 3-Software, die CarPlay oder Android Auto nicht unterstützt.
Wie auf allen Fahrzeuge mit Uconnect, Die hier aufgeführten Jeep-Systeme funktionieren gut mit hellen und klaren Grafiken, schnellen Reaktionen und einfach zu navigierenden Menüs. Die Verwendung der Klimakontrollen auf dem Bildschirm (bei Fahrzeugen mit 7- oder 8,4-Zoll-Displays) ist nicht immer die einfachste Erfahrung, aber Jeep stellt für die meisten dieser Vorgänge redundante Tasten bereit.
Kia bietet in allen Fahrzeugen 7- oder 8-Zoll-Touchscreens an. Die verbesserte UVO3-Option bietet Navigation und Spracherkennung. Alle Systeme verfügen über AM / FM, Bluetooth und Satellitenradio. Alle Kia unterstützen Apple CarPlay und Android Auto sowie Pandora-Internetradio. Mit den UVO-Telematikdiensten können Sie, wie viele Wettbewerber, das Auto mit einer App lokalisieren. Die Limousine 2019 K900 verfügt standardmäßig über einen 12,3-Zoll-Touchscreen mit Navigation und einen Drehregler für die Bedienung der Schnittstelle.
Die Touchscreens von Kia sind zwar nicht die meisten Funktionen, aber sie sind wie Geschwister Marke Hyundai, arbeiten nahtlos und fehlerlos. Obwohl nicht das schönste oder am meisten stilisierte, sind die Bildschirmgrafiken auf dem ersten Blick während der Fahrt übersichtlich und einfach zu bedienen. Die Verwendung von CarPlay oder Android Auto mit der Touch-Funktion funktioniert ebenfalls einfach. Das neue K900-System verfügt über eine noch intelligentere Grafik und eine überarbeitete Menüstruktur, die sich, wie wir glauben, vom Design des BMW iDrive abhebt – das ist keine schlechte Sache. ähnelt der neuen MMI Touch Response-Schnittstelle von Audi.
Chris Paukert / Roadshow
Der Lamborghini Aventador verfügt über ein volldigitales Kombiinstrument sowie einen Infotainment-Bildschirm, der mit Audi-ähnlichen Tasten und einem Drehknopf bedient wird. Es unterstützt Apple CarPlay, aber nicht Android Auto. Der Huracan verfügt außerdem über ein volldigitales Kombiinstrument und es fehlt ein zentraler Infotainment-Bildschirm. Stattdessen werden alle Funktionen auf die Anzeige verwiesen und mithilfe eines Drehknopfs und Tasten auf dem mittleren Stapel. Es unterstützt auch Apple CarPlay, aber nicht Android Auto.
Der Urus SUV kann seine In-Car-Technologie als Lamborghini Infotainment System (LIS) brandmarken, aber jeder, der im neuen Audi A8 war, wird es erkennen das Twin-Screen-Setup. Wie beim A8 (und A6 und A7) arbeitet ein 10,1-Zoll-Touchscreen mit einem 8,6-Zoll-Touchscreen, der für Dinge wie Klimakontrollen und das Schreiben von Navigationsadressen verwendet wird. Apple CarPlay und Android Auto werden standardmäßig unterstützt. Die Grafik wurde natürlich an einen Lamborghini und nicht an einen Audi angepasst.
Während die Systeme von Aventador und Huracan veraltet sind, funktionieren die Urus sehr gut. Genau wie bei den neuen Audis ist es ein hübscher Anblick, schnell in all seiner Funktionalität und einfach zu bedienen.
Standardmäßig ist ein 8-Zoll-Touchscreen mit einem optionalen 10-Zoll-System namens Land Rover InControl Pro mit Navigation verfügbar. Der Range Rover Velar verfügt über ein fortschrittlicheres Infotainment-Paket namens Touch Duo Pro mit zwei 10-Zoll-Touchscreens. Das untere Display dient wie in neueren Audi-Modellen zur Bedienung von Nebenfunktionen wie Klima- und Sitzoptionen. Land Rover also includes special menus with off-roading information including the vehicle's angle or four-wheel-drive status.
Though it looks stylish in the dashboard and has bright, clear graphics, Land Rover's infotainment system is often sluggish in its operations and cumbersome to use, especially taking time to boot up when you start the car or switch between menu functions. That can be especially frustrating when the system is needed for operating features like heated seats. The newer infotainment system in the Range Rover Velar seems faster to use than older models, and its graphics are an extra step forward in terms of crispness and prettiness. Land Rover is now adding Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
Lexus offers a basic infotainment display with AM/FM/satellite radio, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary input and support for the Scout GPS navigation app. The optional upgrade is to an infotainment system with a 10.3-inch screen operated by what Lexus calls the Remote Touch Interface, a mouse-like controller on the center console.
It features navigation and a Lexus Enform app suite that, similar to Toyota's Entune integration, allows for using certain apps that have been downloaded to your phone. The 2019 ES was the first Lexus to offer Apple CarPlay connectivity (it became available in October 2018), and it's also available on the UX crossoverthough no Lexus has Android Auto. An 8-inch screen is standard while models with navigation get a 12.3-inch display. Both use a touchpad rather than the hump-style touch controller on other Lexus models.
The Lexus Remote Touch Interface is one of the most frustrating-to-use systems in the car business. Convoluted menus and an ultra-sensitive touch controller make changing settings or even picking a radio station while driving a chore. In fact, many on-screen functions are locked out entirely while on the move, perhaps in part because manipulating them can be so tricky.
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Checking the tech in the 2019 Lincoln Nautilus
Lincoln vehicles all use rebranded versions of the Ford Sync infotainment system. That means, like Fords, there's support for satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, with navigation offered as an option. And just like those Ford models, the Lincoln systems work well in most situations.
As of the 2018 model year, all Maseratis use infotainment systems based on the Uconnect touchscreen interface found in FCA cars. That means you get a bright, clear and responsive 8.4-inch touchscreen — though it's been rebranded with different colors, fonts and graphics compared to similar systems in other FCA-brand cars. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported.
Every new Mazda comes with a 7-inch touchscreen that the automaker brands as Mazda Connect. In addition to the touch interface, the system can be operated by a rotary knob on the center console. Standard features include AM/FM radio, auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth, and support for Aha, Pandora, and Stitcher Internet radio services. Satellite radio and navigation are both available as options, dependent on trim levels. An 8-inch version of the screen is standard on the 2018 Mazda6 and on the CX-9's Touring trim level. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay have long been unavailable, but fortunately Mazda is now introducing support for those technologies across the lineup — as well as on older models sold since 2014.
Mazda Connect is reasonably responsive to inputsits graphics are sharp and the navigation looks good and works well. But the system lacks many of the more advanced features found in rivals, like online destination search for nav, for instance. Although Mazda is beginning to introduce CarPlay and Android Auto, the technologies' continued absence is a continued sore spot if you want to connect your phone to your system. While the screen is touch sensitive, almost all the touch controls are locked out once the car is on the move, so you'll find yourself primarily using the "Commander Control" knob instead.
McLaren's cars use a 7-inch, vertically oriented touchscreen running software called Iris. In addition to the touch controls, there are also buttons at the bottom of the display and a rotary knob for interacting with the system. Satellite radio and navigation are included, while a Track Telemetry app records your on-track exploits for later analysis on a computer. The feature can be upgraded with cameras, too. Iris doesn't support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.
Unfortunately, the infotainment system is nowhere near as satisfying as the cars in which it's installed. We found Iris' graphics crude, its menus tricky to use and interact with and its overall functionality slow and lacking compared to rivals. It's sluggish in all operations.
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Checking the tech in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE450
Mercedes calls its infotainment system Comand, and while there are slightly different versions depending on the age and model range of each car, overall it's an excellent system to use. Operated by a rotary dial and, in some newer models, a touchpad controller, it offers navigation, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary connectivity, as well as AM/FM/satellite radio. Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are supported. Optional features include Wi-Fi hotspots and wireless phone charging. The SprinterA-ClassGLE-Class and CLA-Class — as well as all future Mercedes models — use an all-new touchscreen system called MBUX. It uses 7-, 10.25-or 12.3-inch screens, depending on model
Comand has a logical menu structure that is simple to navigate with the rotary dial or touchpad. The latter offers some simpler shortcuts for jumping between functions on the display. The screen's graphics, especially the 12.3-inch screens on newer models like the E- and S-Class, are pretty and legible, with stylish iconographic and images yet very straightforward controls. While we need to spend more time with it, MBUX proved impressive though its voice controls, intended to be operated by saying, "Hey Mercedes," did not always work as intended in our early testing.
The Mini Connected infotainment systems are offered with 6.5-inch screens as standard and 8.8-inch ones as an option. It's operated either by the touchscreen or with a rotary jog dial on the center console, on top of which you can write letters or numbers for the navigation system. Built-in app support includes Pandora, Spotify and other internet radio choices, plus Siri Eyes Free. Navigation is optional, too, and there are some Mini-quirky features on-board, like flashing lights around the outer edge of the circular display that correspond to in-car actions (such as adjusting the volume.) Only the Countryman and Clubman support Apple CarPlay. No Mini supports Android Auto.
The Mini Connected software is essentially a reskinned version of parent company BMW's iDrive, with a fairly straightforward menu structure, albeit done in more fun colors and graphics than the BMW version. Though it's easy to bump the awkwardly placed control knob by mistake, overall the infotainment system is very good: easy to use, stylish and fast.
Across most of its lineup, Mitsubishi offers a 7-inch touchscreen infotainment system as standard, with one USB port, AM/FM radio, and Bluetooth connectivity. Higher trim levels of the Eclipse Cross and Outlander (and standard on the Outlander Plug-In Hybrid) feature an upgraded system that Mitsubishi calls Smartphone Link Display Audio. It features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well as satellite radio and two USB ports. It has a 7-inch touchscreen display and can also be operated via a touchpad on the center console. No matter the car or trim level, no built-in navigation is offered on any Mitsubishi. This year the refreshed Outlander Sport gets a new 8-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support.
The 7-inch system has straightforward menus, but we found that there's a bit of delay in response when touching the screen or using the touchpad controller. We also wish there were a real volume knob aside from the up-down buttons on the steering wheel and headunit. The lack of integrated navigation is probably not a deal-breaker given the availability of CarPlay and Android Auto.
Like Toyota, Nissan has a diverse variety of infotainment systems available depending on vehicle — and only a handful of them feature Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. The 370Z family, for instance, comes standard with a very basic AM/FM/CD system with few added features besides Bluetooth and auxiliary connectivity — though a 7-inch touchscreen with navigation is optional. The only vehicles with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are the Altima, Kicks, Maxima, Murano, Rogue, GT-R, Titan/Titan XD and Leaf (as an option).
A 5-inch touchscreen is standard on many Nissans, including the Leaf, Frontier, Rogue Sport and Versa. Other models have larger displays: the Rogue, Versa Note, Kicks, Titan/Titan XD and Rogue Sport have 7-inch screens, while the Pathfinder, Armada, Murano and Maxima have 8-inch screens as standard.
The new 2019 Altima has an 8-inch touchscreen as standard, with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Siri Eyes Free, Google Assistant voice, Bluetooth and satellite radio. Navigation is offered as an option.
The Nissan GT-R and Leaf both have unique infotainment systems. For the GT-R, it's an 8-inch touchscreen with multiple special displays showing various vehicle and engine data. Other features include navigation, satellite radio and Apple CarPlay support. There's also a secondary rotary control knob for the system on the car's center console. As to the Leaf (SV and SL trims only), it uses a special version of Nissan's 7-inch touchscreen system that's designed for electric cars; things like Bluetooth, satellite radio and various menus for adjusting the Leaf's battery-charge status are standard, as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Leaf Plus has an 8.0-inch screen as standard.
Most of Nissan's infotainment systems feel dated and perform slowly. Very few have modern connectivity features, too. That said, they're all acceptable for everyday use. The Leaf's infotainment system is an improvement, and we're looking forward to spending time with the Altima's new touchscreen later this year.
On the 718 Boxster and 718 Cayman, you'll find a Porsche Communication Management system with a 7-inch touchscreen and a rotary dial controller. Built-in navigation is optional, while integrated functions include AM/FM/satellite radio, Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB inputs, as well as an optional Wi-Fi hotspot. The Cayenne, updated Macan, 911 and Panamera feature a new, more advanced system with a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation. Every Porsche offers Apple CarPlay but none offer Android Auto.
On the older PCM systems, physical shortcut buttons help make navigating the simple, somewhat plain menu structure simple; everything about the system works easily and quickly. The new 12.3-inch touchscreen is the Cayenne, Macan, 911 and Panamera has incredibly sharp, clear graphics on its wide display. A simple menu on the left-hand side of the display allows for jumping between different features and information pages; proximity sensors show or hide info depending on how close your hand is to the screen, and multi-touch functionality makes zooming maps a breeze.
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Checking the tech in the 2019 Ram 1500
The new 2019 Ram 1500 features a 5-inch touchscreen radio as standard, with auxiliary and USB inputs and AM/FM. It's standard on the truck's Tradesman, HFE, Big Horn and Rebel trim levels. The next step up is an 8.4-inch touchscreen familiar from other Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep models. Equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, as well as satellite radio, it's standard on the Laramie model and optional on Big Horn and Rebel. A version of that system with built-in navigation is standard on the Longhorn and Limited trims, and optional on Big Horn, Rebel and Laramie. Finally, the new Ram 1500 offers a new 12-inch vertically oriented touchscreen infotainment system. Because it is essentially two of the 8.4-inch screens combined, it can show two apps at once — though not, for instance, Apple CarPlay and the integrated navigation simultaneously. The 12-inch display is optional on Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited models. Need a tougher truck? The new 2019 Ram HD also offers the 5-, 8.4- and 12-inch screens, depending on trim level.
As on other Fiat Chrysler models, Uconnect's software is fast and responsive, and its screens are bright, crisp and highly legible while driving. The 12-inch display especially impresses, drawing comparisons to the massive tablet-like infotainment display in Teslas.
Rolls-Royce models use modified versions of BMW iDrive software, with a 10.25-inch screen and operated with a "Spirit of Ecstasy" controller on the center console. Users can even write letters and numbers on the top of the controller, or pinch-to-zoom like on a phone. Rolls notes, by the way, that a touchscreen is less than ideal for its cars because it, "might leave unsightly fingerprints at driver and passenger eye level." Navigation is included as standard, as well as Bluetooth phone integration, but you won't find modern proletarian touches like Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support.
With crisp, modern graphics and smooth performance, the Rolls-Royce infotainment systems perform very well.
The Smart brand is pulling out of the US and Canada at the end of the 2019 model yearso your chance to buy a new model is running out. The Smart Fortwo, whether in Coupe or Cabrio guise, has only a simple AM/FM radio as standard, with Bluetooth, an auxiliary port and USB connectivity. It can be upgraded with a $100 phone cradle that lets users pick music via an app called Smart Cross Connect. For $1,290, the Prime and Passion trim levels can be upgraded with a 7-inch touchscreen that offers more features, like TomTom-based navigation and Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration.
Infotainment options are pretty basic in their functionality no matter whether you choose the base option or not. Poor screen quality and a tough-to-use built-in interface are letdowns even with the optional $1,290 system.
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Check out Subaru's Starlink tech in the 2019 Crosstrek
Subaru has made Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard as part of its StarLink infotainment systems on nearly all its models, most recently the 2019 WRX. The BRZ is the lone exception: the Premium model's 6.2-inch display offers a CD player, auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio and connectivity for Stitcher, Aha, and Pandora Internet radio. If you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, upgrade to the Limited model, where it's standard and housed in a 7-inch touchscreen. All other Subarus now offer a 6.5-inch touchscreen as standard with 7-inch (BRZ, WRX/STI) or 8-inch (Ascent, Impreza, Crosstrek, Forester) versions as an upgrade. Subaru's 6.5-inch StarLink system boasts Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary inputs, as well as integrated Pandora and Aha Internet radio functionality. The 7- and 8-inch ones feature even more integrated apps, including Glympse social navigation, Stitcher and iHearRadio internet radio apps, Yelp and even eBird, a utility for birders (hey, it's a Subaru). Optional built-in navigation is powered by TomTom software.
The new 2020 Outback and 2020 Legacy offer an optional 11.6-inch touchscreen infotainment system and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The newest Subaru StarLink systems use fast processors to deliver nearly lag-free performance. Bold, clear, colorful menus and icons make operation a breeze. We're not crazy about the integrated navigation options, but you can always connect your phone if you prefer Apple or Google mapping.
The Tesla Model S and Model X use 17-inch vertically oriented touchscreens with Bluetooth, navigation, FM and HD radio, two USB ports and a built-in web browser. Like many electric cars, AM radio is not offered. The Model 3 and Model Y have just one 15-inch touchscreen that's used to control almost all secondary vehicle functions — yes, even the lights, wipers and mirror position. Neither of the systems supports Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
The big touchscreen in the S and X looks great and is easy to usebut in our most recent drive of a Model X we felt that performance and responsiveness were lacking. It just wasn't as snappy as some competing luxury cars' touchscreens, and it doesn't have a particularly impressive feature set by today's standards. The touchscreen in the Model 3 frustrates at times because of how many commonly used features are buried in menus. The infotainment itself works wellbut the lack (in the S and X, too) of CarPlay and Android Auto support seems like a huge miss in expensive, technology-focused cars.
Toyota's infotainment offerings vary greatly by model. Most models offer 6.1- or 7-inch touchscreens with features like Bluetooth, AM/FM, and USB and auxiliary inputs. Upgraded models add features such as satellite radio and the ability to use Scout GPS navigation via a connected phone. Specifically, the Yaris, Corolla, Tacoma, Tundra, Highlander and Prius all offer both 6.1- and 7-inch screens. The C-HR and 86 have only 7-inch screens. The 4Runner and Sequoia only offer a 6.1-inch screen. The Land Cruiser has a 9-inch display.
Several newer models use Entune 3.0, an updated infotainment system with a broad feature set that includes AM/FM, Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB inputs. Using the Entune app on your connected phone, you can access apps such as Pandora, Slacker and NPR One, as well as Scout navigation. Built-in nav is an option on higher trim levels. The Avalon has Entune 3.0 with a 9-inch display, the Sienna and Mirai have a 7-inch Entune 3.0 display, while the 2019 RAV42020 Corolla sedan, 2019 Corolla Hatchback and the Camry offer it with both 7- and 8-inch screens, depending on trim. Toyota also offers a Wi-Fi hotspot and Amazon Alexa integration on certain models.
Toyota's support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is limited. From the 2019 model year onward, CarPlay is available on the Avalon, Camry, Corolla Hatchback, C-HR, RAV4 and Supra, as well as the 2020 Corolla. Android Auto is offered on the 2020 4Runner and Sequoia SUVs, as well as the Tacoma and Tundra pickups, and we're told it'll eventually be offered on other Toyotas, too.
The Toyota Yaris — now offered as as both a sedan and a hatchback — is an interesting exception: Because it's based on the Mazda2, it uses the MazdaConnect infotainment system. The Toyota Prius Prime is another exception. Though a 7-inch display is standard, a portrait-style 11.6-inch touchscreen is optional on certain trim levels (as well as on the standard Prius Limited). So, too, is the Toyota Supra's infotainment system an aberration: Because the reborn sports car is based on BMW technology, it uses iDrive software on either a standard 6.5-inch screen operated by a rotary controller or an 8.8-inch touchscreen.
All of Toyota's infotainment systems feel behind-the-timeswith cruder graphics and a smaller feature set than most rivals. That said, Entune 3.0 in the Camry and Corolla is a huge improvement. It may not be as feature-packed as some competing systems, but it is simple and straightforward to use on the road.
Most newer Volkswagen models offer a choice between a handful of infotainment systems. A 6.5-inch touchscreen has Apple CarPlay and Android auto connectivity as standard (VW brands these features as "Car-Net"), as well as USB, auxiliary and Bluetooth connectivity. There's an 8-inch version of that touchscreen that adds a CD player and satellite radio, and then an optional upgraded version with built-in navigation. The older VW Beetle has a 5-inch display as standard, while the 6.3-inch option with CarPlay and Android Auto support is optional, and navigation is optional on certain models. Finally, Volkswagen is rolling out a full-color Digital Cockpit instrument cluster as an option on certain models: the E-Golf, Golf, 2019 Jetta, TiguanArteon and Atlas.
The newer 6.5- and 8-inch displays are bright and easy to use at a glance while driving, and though it's not quite as quick as FCA's Uconnect screens, responses are fast. On the downside, the gloss-black trim around the screens tends to pick up fingerprints easily. The 8-inch model especially is incredibly easy to view, but we think some of the menus and icons could be rearranged so navigating the many options and features is easier. Although the 6.3-inch display still works well, its smaller screen size means picking out icons and reading text is a little more difficult while on the move. In cars with Digital Cockpit, you can avoid the infotainment screen entirely because the color cluster provides so much information right in the driver's sightline.
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Checking the tech in the 2019 Volvo XC90
Every new Volvo uses a touchscreen infotainment system called Sensus, with a portrait-style 9-inch touchscreen mounted on the dashboard. Features include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation and some built-in apps such as Glympse, Pandora, Stitcher and Yelp. Volvos can also be equipped with wireless phone charging and a Wi-Fi hotspot, as well as a full-digital instrument cluster.
Though it is pretty and feature-richSensus can at times be very slow to boot up when you start the car and switching between functions can require more waiting than we'd like. That said, all model-year 2019 cars get a faster processor that does appear to improve performance. The system's basic three-page layout, with big, legible tiles and buttons and a high-contrast color scheme, however, is easy to view at a glance. Because Sensus controls most vehicle functions (climate control, car settings and so on), any delays in its start-up and operation can be frustrating. We wouldn't object to adding more physical controls to its operation. Right now pretty much just the volume and defroster still have real physical controls in Volvos.