Buying a new car, crossover, SUV, or pickup is always a tedious process. You need to determine what your must-haves are, and then your "hope to get" list. One item we think all new vehicle buyers should move to the must-haves list is wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Here's why.
Infotainment is important today. With so many of us being connected to our phones for work, family, or entertainment, your phone is the new hub of your vehicle's infotainement system. You phone has better music options, better navigation optoins, and better ocmmunications options than those your automaker has built into the vehicle.
As communication technology evolves, the ability for a vehicle you already own to keep up to date is minimal. Sure, some automakers say that they offer updates, but they can be costly. Mazda's update to add Android Auto and Apple CarPlay (with a wire) can cost up to $400. Let's face it, you need to buy a system that is adaptable to the times.
We also want to rid ourselves of cords. Automakers have helped us with wireless charginf trays. Called Qi chargers, you know how they work from your home's wireless fast charger. Simply drop the phone in the tray. Done. But what if you have wire-tethered Apple CarPlay and Android Auto? That's a bummer because now your phone is all goofy in the tray and you have the added hassle of plugging it in when you enter the vehicle and unplugging when you exit. That gets old fast. And so does your phone's female cord port.
Wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay is now available in vehicles priced from the $20Ks, such as the new Elantra from Hyundai. BMW, General Motors, and other brands are also now offering the technology. It's worth checking before you fall in love with a new model, since not every brand, and not every model is presently available with wireless connectivity of this type.
Within a year, almost every brand and almost every model will have this technology. Be sure you choose wisely if you are shopping for a new vehicle to avoid being left behind.
John Goreham is a longtime NEMPA member and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin
Top of page image courtesy of Hyundai media support. Second image by Maximus Goreham. Re-use with permission only.