Android Auto image
John Goreham's picture

Shopping For A New Vehicle - Be Sure It Has This Feature Or It Will Be Obsolete In 1 Year

Infotainment is an important consideration when choosing a new vehicle. Here is one feature to be sure your new car has.
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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.

Related Story: New Subaru Starlink Update Improves Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Is Still Not Working

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.

Related Story: You Can Now Get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto In Your 2014 Or Newer Mazda - Here's How & What It Costs

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 Apple CarPlay image by Maximus Goreham
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.


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Comments

While wireless charging and connectivity are nice features, I would think they are a must have. Few phones support it, and typically only at the high end. In a down economy, the growth has been in the midrange Android phones that are more affordable, and I don't think any of them support wireless charging. The need for it may be many years away. I would not look for this feature, but do look forward to my next vehicle finally at least having Android Auto after I passed on the overpriced Mazda offering, that while I can easily afford, felt it was the principle of paying the equivalent of my monthly car payment on my CX-5 for a car that was less than a year old. I put the money towards installing a factory nav card (Amazon for $50), and have been pleased I did that upgrade.
I honestly never thought of the compatibility issue. With regard to wireless Apple CarPlay, I clicked the image in the story which I took and noted the phone is a 2016 iPhone7 (my son's old phone). It worked wirelessly with state of the art wireless Apple CarPlay integration. With regard to Qi wireless phone charging, I checked Amazon, and they sell phone cases that convert phones like the 7 that were not shipped with built-in capability. They cost about $30. We would love it if you would do a guest story about the $50 Nav card upgrade. That sounds like a great way to save money!
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Android Auto & Apple CarPlay are the most overrated features that exist today.
I disagree. Apple CarPlay is great! I wouldn’t but a car without it. It saves lots of money over purchasing built-in navigation, plus whatever else comes bundled with the navigation option package. Now the wireless feature may be nice, but don’t feeling plugging in is too much of a hassle. But do yourself a favor and get CarPlay (and Android Auto).
I am currently looking for a new car and wireless charging and carplay is one the feature that I am looking at... and as this story says... i'll be waiting one more year to get what I want. Well I almost got it. We are looking for 3 rows mid size SUV. VW Atlas 2021 has it... but the canadian models ( which differs from the states ) doesn't fully match my needs.