2019 Car Infotainment Features That Will Forever Change the Way You Drive!

In 2019, the infotainment system in your car is as indispensable as the steering wheel. No, that’s not really an exaggeration!

The word “infotainment” is sometimes carelessly thrown around without preamble. So let’s first address; What does infotainment system mean?

In the automotive industry, an infotainment system (or In-Vehicle Infotainment -IVI) refers to in-car technologies that bridge the gap between entertainment and information for the driver and passengers. These typically include audiovisual interfaces, touchscreens, keypads, and the likes.

These systems have tremendously evolved since their inception, and though many people assume that this is a relatively new technological advancement, in reality, the first modern infotainment system as we’ve come to know them today was created as far back as 1980!

Buying a car with an infotainment system in Canada takes some doing. There are so many aspects that come together to make the magic happen; internet connectivity, smartphone compatibility, advanced driver assistance features, real-time traffic announcement broadcasts – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Below, we’ve shortlisted the most sought after infotainment features in 2019 and the cars that epitomize these features to the max!

 

Apple CarPlay Connectivity

Any person who owns a smartphone in the 21st century can sympathize with this cause! By its own admission, Apple CarPlay is a smarter and safer way to connect your iPhone to your vehicle. This savvy feature lets you interact with your phone’s entertainment services through the vehicle’s in-built display.

In 2019, over 100 million people in North America alone own an iPhone. It’s easy to see why the automotive industry has gone all out to integrate this particular feature. An uninterrupted and user-friendly in-car iPhone connection is the golden ticket as far as most drivers are concerned. With Apple CarPlay, you can now make calls, receive and send messages and stream music seamlessly without ever having to take your eyes off the road.

Our Top 3 Picks With Apple CarPlay Connectivity

 

Android Auto Connectivity

Android isn’t about to relinquish the reins to its counterpart just yet. Android Auto ensures a smooth and seamless connection between your phone’s OS and the car. It comes with a sleek and intuitive interface, integrated steering wheel controls and phenomenal new voice actions.

And just like Apple, its primary focus is to reduce on-road distractions, especially in light of Ontario’s updated distracted driving laws in 2019 that penalize drivers for taking their eyes off the road to interact with a handheld device.

In order to make use of this feature, your phone will require an OS that runs at 5.0 (Lollipop) or higher. With Android Auto, you can interact with your phone’s maps, messaging, radio and music features at just the click of a button.

Our Top 3 Picks With Android Auto Connectivity

 

Navigation System

Scoring a car with a reliable and regularly updated GPS system isn’t a negotiation but a necessity. While en route, you expect your car to generate quick directions in real time, decipher the fastest route, inform you of changing traffic patterns while also taking into account certain driving preferences.

Depending on the brand, you can invest in add-on GPS packages that further simplify travel and navigation while implementing accident prevention assistance. It is estimated that road conditions in North America change by about 15% every year. You should be able to bank on a system that grants you updated access to millions of miles of roads, highways, streets, signages, traffic conditions, points of interest, restaurants, etc.

The reason we’ve decided to cover this aspect is due to the fact that a common question we get asked is, “Which car has the best navigation system?Innovative GPS systems come part and parcel with the following 2019 vehicles.

Our Top 3 Picks With Powerful Navigation Systems

 

Entertainment Services (Audio + Video)

An infotainment system won’t hold much water if it’s doesn’t have a cutting edge audiovisual interface. Ideally, this should offer a wide suite of connectivity services to access your favourite music, radio shows, and podcasts. It should also offer standard features such as being able to double up as a Wi-Fi hotspot, seamless touchpad controls and some form of rear-seat entertainment to boot.

 

Which car has the biggest touch screen? The all-new 2019 RAM 1500 has a whopping 12-inch touchscreen display. This is second to Tesla’s behemoth 17-inch display.

Another instrumental feature that aids your car’s infotainment is the acoustic system. Bose, Bang & Olufsen and Harmon Kardon are the three leading manufacturers of in-car speakers that deliver crisp, clear and three-dimensional surround sounds.

Below, we answer the most pressing question yet; What cars have the best factory sound system? The brands that deliver phenomenal acoustics in 2019 are Audi, Ford, and Lexus.

Our Top 3 Picks With Innovative AudioVisuals

 

Infotainment Systems in 2019 Are A Whole New Ball Game

Before you buy your next car, get a free dealer invoice report. That way you’ll be getting the best infotainment features while still saving thousands and thousands of dollars!

Exclusive rebates and certified dealerships are only a click away.

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Guide to buying a car with an infotainment system in 2018

Want to make your daily commute pleasurable? Our guide to buying a car with an infotainment system in 2018 gives you a quick insight into the top car models and what their infotainment systems have to offer!

Acura

Control Method: Acura has always been known for its penchant for combining luxurious features with superior performance to afford the user with a very pleasurable driving experience. This self-established benchmark rings true in the two-screen infotainment system that the company has incorporated into most of its models. A top-of-the-line 7” and 8” lower and upper display comprises of what Acura has dubbed an On-Demand Multi-Information Display. A jog controller and physical rotary also feature in the mix, allowing easy access to the interface when on the go.

One of its models, the ILX sedan to be precise, breaks the status quo and boasts of a standard 5” interface and an optional single 8” interface for higher trim levels. Another outlier, the NSX supercar, features a stunning single 7” touchscreen while the latest member to the Acura family, the 2019 RDX crossover, uses a 10.2” interface and a touch-sensitive console.

Smartphone Integration: Most models support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. While 2019 RDX crossover only supports the latter, the makers soon plan to integrate its compatibility with Android Auto as well.

The company has introduced three strata of services, combinatorially known as AcuraLink. The Standard features offer the user with smartphone connectivity, navigation cues, free traffic updates and basic integration. However, Connect interface kicks things into overdrive by offering the user the option of interacting with their car from a distance, affording exceptional ease of access. The third tier, Premium, combines the features from its previous counterparts and also includes a 24/7 live concierge that allows you to interact with an Acura representative in real time and gain access to white-glove in-car assistance.

Sound and Music: When it comes to this particular component, the makers at Acura have outdone themselves. In a bid to replicate the high-quality sound performance similar to that of a recording studio, Acura has collaborated with Grammy award-winning recording engineer and producer Elliot Scheiner. This has allowed for the evolution of the widely acclaimed ELS Studio. You can tap into your favorite tunes through your digital library, the Internet or radio – all controlled through touchscreen operability.

The most primary functions to the music system can be very easily accessed through an interface located on the steering wheel – which means you never have to take your eyes off the road. The in-built DTS Neural Surround is capable of producing an impressive 5.1 multi-channel surround sound through a digital stereo. How can you enjoy this sound? Well, the interface comes with a total of 10 speakers – a 20cm subwoofer, four titanium dome tweeters, four mid-range and one centre mid-range – letting you cruise in style with a very enjoyable music experience.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The Acura Navigation System is accessible, quick and very convenient for the driver. It features an 8” full VGA display and allows for data access through a hard drive. Just as with a lot of the other features, the makers have mounted this interface in a control panel so that you don’t deviate your eyes from the road in order to operate it. This full-resolution system lets you tap into a huge database of every destination that allows you to search for a specific location – and to make it that much more convenient, it boasts of a voice recognition software in tandem with the traditional dial interface. Using the screen, you can plot your journey to a tee through freeways, forks, delays and detours with voice guidance and, if that wasn’t enough, there is even the option of 3D viewability – showing the masterful attention to detail that Acura invests in its cars.

 

Audi

Control Method: A majority of the Audi models in the market incorporate a high-end infotainment system known as MMI (Multimedia Interface). This is a godsend for you as a driver as you can access tons of information by using a rotary knob which features various shortcut buttons. Additionally, by using a 12.3” digital interface called Virtual Cockpit, your Audi allows you to easily interact with the infotainment interface. This uses a cluster operated system situated on the steering wheel to make things ergonomically pleasing. Now it might take a little getting used as operating the rotary knob instead of a touchscreen is tricky. That being said, it is undeniable that the MMI has structured and logically sequenced menus to make your driving experience extremely seamless.

Smartphone Integration: Just like most brands, the makers at Audi have gone above and beyond to ensure that each model is compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The MMI gives you full control over your phone, music, apps (Whatsapp, Spotify, etc.) and navigation by using the USB which is compatible with the most common smartphone models. The end result is that you get to enjoy a completely streamlined connection between the car and the phone.

Sound and Music: The MMI is also responsible for delivering the best sound quality and is the centrepiece when it comes to top-notch vehicular features. The speaker arrangement includes tweeters and woofers, optimizing your acoustic journey. These speakers are distributed throughout the car to accommodate the most advantageous listening experience.

The Audi R8 takes these already superior features to a whole new level. This fourth-generation luxury sedan incorporates 3D acoustics at the rear of the vehicle. Moreover, 23 loudspeakers that have low-distortion neodymium magnets are capable of creating a crisp sound feedback. Four of these speakers are tailored for the spatial dimensions, adjusted to the height of the car and provide a sensory experience like never before.

Maps and GPS Functionality: If you’re looking for a quality and versatility, Audi’s infotainment system is second to none. Along with a high-end GPS interface, it allows you to receive weather forecast updates, navigate, access a travel guide assisted with Google street view visuals and tap into the Internet radio to stream your favourite music. The driver has full control over receiving route guidance relative to their location and that is completely aided by verbal and visual cues.

This MMI navigation has an impressive ten gigabytes memory in the Standard version which is stored on a hard drive, thus allowing 3D imaging. This proves just how expansive the MMI really is. The zinger is that the makers at Audi have admitted that it’s still in the developmental phase and will soon integrate even more features!

 

BMW

Control Method: Often described by drivers as being not only easy to use but also very colourful, BMW’s infotainment system, the iDrive, is ergonomically optimized and affords seamless operability. It is stationed high on the dashboard and paves the way for you to access advanced communication, audio and navigation services. You can control the system with the rotary jog dial located on the main console area. There are just a handful of newer makes that also support touchscreen operability.

The 5 and 7 series have a gesture recognition functionality. For example, to adjust your music, all you have to do is wave your hand to increase or decrease the volume. To make it easier to input destination addresses, there is a touchpad console that lets you write information thereon. This is especially handy when navigating. Such highly intuitive connectivity features promise you a very smooth and easy ride.

Smartphone Integration: Bear in mind that all BMW models come with the standard FM/AM/satellite radio auxiliary connectivity, Bluetooth and USB, and the user has to take it upon themselves to upgrade to iDrive if they so wish. The infotainment system is compatible with all the major smartphones and if you want to confirm whether or not your phone is compatible and which USB and Bluetooth features you can access, visit BMW’s website and do a compatibility check. A setback here is that, to enable compatibility with Apple CarPlay, you will have to spend an extra $300.

Because of the all-round cellular integration using BMW Apps, you can quickly access Pandora and Spotify as well as other services through the same system, making the iDrive a mainstay as far as intuitive infotainment systems are concerned.

Sound and Music: The Bang and Olufsen surround sound system is crafted by expert technicians to give you uncompromising acoustics. Coupled with a sleek CD player, the BMW 3 series comes with a well-integrated audio system, USB ports and AUX In. The HiFi loudspeaker system produces quality sounds when combined with the 10 top-of-the-line speakers. All of these features can be controlled through the multi-purpose steering wheel.

The 5 and 6 series, as well as the BMW X5 and X6, have sixteen 12,000 watt speakers that distribute the sound across the vehicle to provide a brilliant orchestra-esque effect. Safe to say, you will definitely be enhancing your driving with this superior listening experience.

Maps and GPS Functionality: BMW’s ConnectedDrive has an embedded SIM card that allows you access to a wide range of innovative features such as Concierge Services, BMW Teleservices, Advanced Real-Time Traffic Information, Intelligent Emergency Call (6AC), Online Search and more. All of these handy features let you have quick and easy access to the outside world should complicated situations present themselves.

The navigation system itself is a high-resolution colour screen that offers quick startup, tips to reduce gas consumption, fast route calculation and 3D map imaging. Even while updating to accommodate new features and information, the interface functions without restriction.

 

Buick

Control Method: Depending on the make, Buick incorporates either 7” or 8” LCD displays into MyLink – its communication and entertainment system. These are located in the instrument panel that allows you to tap, spread, pinch and swipe with immense ease as you access maps, scroll through lists and browse through your favourites.

The system also allows you to access the weather forecasts, audio operations and tap into your rearview camera on the screen as well as send hands-free texts or make calls. Buick is a brand that facilitates greater convenience for the driver at every step of the way. By incorporating proximity-sensing software, the interface is capable of recognizing your finger/hand as it approaches the screen and when you click on a button, the LCD pulses to denote that it has received the command.

Smartphone Integration: Besides the Cascada convertible that has an older rendition of Buick’s infotainment system, all of the models are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Using your iPhone or your Android device, you can tap into music, apps, podcasts and playlists, navigation functions and so much more – very seamlessly! You are allowed to manage the vehicle’s built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot and connect up to seven cellular devices at a time within a 50km radius. As mentioned before, this intuitive infotainment system allows you to make hands-free calls and send texts to reduce the likelihood of you averting your eyes from the road. Buick does you one better. It also allows you to pair multiple devices so that you can take calls and play music simultaneously.

Sound and Music: The all-purpose MyLink touchscreen lets you control AM, FM and the satellite radio all at the push of a button. You can access several HD radio stations to elevate your driving experience to a whole new level. Activate and deactivate your audio settings just by using voice commands. Buick models come with high-performance speakers, that redefine the way you listen to music when on the road. This is reinforced in the 2018 Buick Verano which uses a 3.25-inch neodymium mid/high range speaker, located at the centre of the instrument panel, to provide exceptional sound quality. A Bose digital amplifier that offers the driver seven channels of custom equalization and proprietary digital signal processing, located in the rear quarter panel, makes this infotainment system a premium investment that definitely earns its keep.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Buick has incorporated a very intuitive GPS system to get you exactly where you need to go without a hitch. The MyLink system comes with an OnStar Guidance Plan that uses Turn-by-Turn Navigation. This features in all its 2015 and later models and is included in your package for a minimum period of six months. There are a number of ways to access the OnStar Navigation – you can press the blue button on the display interface and tell the advisor your destination; you can directly send the destination to your car by using the myBuick mobile app; you can input your destination into the IntelliLink Navigation system.

Because Buick is customer-focused, it constantly looks for newer and more innovative ways to upgrade MyLink every year. This is why new and altered roads, speed limits, signage, points of interest, addresses and other important data points are regularly incorporated into the system’s map update. And with every map update, your car’s routing functions will be optimized to guarantee that you stay on route and get to your destination on time.  

 

Cadillac

Control Method: Introduced in 2012 and subsequently overhauled in 2014, the Cadillac User Experience (CUE) touchscreen infotainment interface makes for a pleasurable and sublime driving experience. It incorporates gesture controls to swipe and zoom through the information on the screen. CUE uses top-of-the-line software and hardware, courtesy of Harman – Samsung’s subsidiary that designs and engineers auto products.

Because of its fast-growing popularity, General Motors plans to introduce CUE to its other makes – Chevrolet, GMC and Buick. The luxury brand has gone all out to ensure that the interface has a very distinct look and feel. CUE uses touch-capacitive adjusters to allow you to adjust audio volume and in-car climate functions. Owing to its 2014 makeover, the system has a new and improved graphics processing unit that GM claims is four times faster than its predecessor, affording the driver unparalleled image quality.

Smartphone Integration: CUE is a technological marvel and comes with built-in Bluetooth, USB, FM/AM and a satellite radio as well as auxiliary connectivity. In addition to these, you can also take advantage of the optional navigation, OnStar telematics support and Wi-Fi hotspot. Cadillac’s XTS, CTS and ATS models use a new and improved version to save your preferences to the cloud and this enables you to seamlessly transfer these from one vehicle to another.

Besides these, the system offers you predictive navigation to help save time when searching for your music or browsing through your favourites, and you can enjoy unrestricted connectivity with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Perhaps the most convenient gimmick yet is that all the menus on the interface are kept as simple as possible so that you can absorb the information with just a glance. This avoids you having to take your eyes off the road for long intervals to interact with the interface.

Sound and Music: Cadillac hasn’t skimped on its audio system in the slightest. The makers have gone above and beyond to ensure that you receive an immersive soundstage experience like none other. The Cadillac CT6 Bose Panaray audio system epitomizes this commitment to quality. It features a $3,700 optional interface that uses 34 speakers scattered across the cabin to give you the ultimate surround sound experience. It does so by combining discrete music channels to provide a uniform output. The audio quality itself is strong and crisp and the bass levels can be adjusted to be either subtle or pounding. That’s not all. The Panaray system is so incredibly intuitive, it has the ability to convert the clinical acoustics from the satellite radio into animated and soothing tones.

If you want to switch to FLAC files from the satellite radio, the interface does present certain issues. The iPhone doesn’t support FLAC and as such, there is a discernible sound difference in the Cadillac between a high-quality CD rip and a file purchased on iTunes. Similar issues are faced when using an Android device. All in all, the Panaray system does manage to deliver an outstanding sound quality that is not often found in vehicles at this price point.  

Maps and GPS Functionality: CUE has proven itself to be every bit a driver’s dream navigation system. It affords such a wide and diverse range of options that getting to your destination on time is guaranteed. You have the option of using voice commands to input a destination, saving an address, cancelling or changing a route midway without losing out on too much time, detecting points of interest that lie in your chosen path, searching through a wide database of addresses and finding the fastest and most efficient routes to drive to your destination with the utmost confidence.

Cadillac has an exciting new update planned for 2018. Just by updating your maps you will have access to thousands of miles of new lanes, roads and freeways. You can also tap into the latest points of interest in your destination area, browse through an updated database of business and residential addresses and review new signs, speed restrictions and turn restrictions. If you want to sidestep traffic delays or make an impromptu pit stop at a tourist hotspot, then CUE definitely has you covered!

 

Chevrolet

Control Method: Chevrolet’s infotainment system has made a name for itself as far as simplicity, responsiveness and user-friendliness are concerned. General Motors uses IntelliLink (an alternative branding for MyLink) in its other brands (Buick, Opel, Vauxhall and GMC), and its functionality is very similar to MyLink’s – aside from the graphics. MyLink comes with either a 7” and 8” touchscreen navigation besides other optional methods. For instance, you can access the Performance Data Recorder that uses your on-track laps to record telemetry and video information. This feature is available in certain models like the Corvette and Camaro and makes it extremely convenient if you plan to post the recorded information to YouTube later. Additionally, you can use imply voice commands to operate the media, tuner and phone features on the system with incredible ease. You can gain access to the hands-free vehicular climate control settings without batting an eyelid. This goes a long way to help ease the distraction off of operating the interface and instead, lets you focus solely on driving.

Perhaps what makes the MyLink such a favourite with tech junkies is its easy-to-scan text and icons coupled with a generous helping of analogue controls. Another model, the Bolt EV to be precise, kicks the traditional infotainment features up a couple of notches. Using an 8” display, it also offers information about its battery charge time so that you know exactly what to expect before you embark on your journey.

Smartphone Integration: Compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Windows, there isn’t much that Chevrolet’s system can’t do by way of smartphone integration functions. Offering you in-built OnStar telematics connectivity, you can enjoy unlimited hours of FM/AM/satellite radio when on the go. MyLink also supports USB connectivity, Bluetooth and auxiliary devices to make your experience that much smoother.

What the interface lacks in graphics (these aren’t the most impressive when compared to other mainstream infotainment systems), it makes up for in other departments. You have the pleasure of streaming over 100,000 radio shows and podcasts on demand using the Stitcher mobile app. MyLink also doubles up as a powerful 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot that can accommodate up to seven devices at a time without any restrictions.

Sound and Music: Chevrolet reinforces its commitment to owner satisfaction at every step of the way. MyLink is no exception in this regard. On the home screen, you have the ability to access your audio settings, making your interaction with the system extremely hassle-free. Engineered to deliver phenomenal acoustics, some of the models come equipped with top-of-the-line Bose sound systems.

With the Chevrolet Bolt, you can enjoy premium sounds with 7 high-performance speakers that also include one Richbass woofer. The Corvette kicks things into high gear. There are several packages that you can choose to invest in. One of these includes a premium Bose sound system that boasts of SurroundStage and Centerpoint technologies and 10 high-performance speakers. Alternatively, you could opt for the package that offers 9 high-performance speakers and delivers similar acoustics at a lower price.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Getting to your destination is an absolute breeze with the Turn-by-Turn navigation and the OnStar Guidance – a mainstay GPS feature in most Chevy models. Because convenience is key with the manufacturers at GM, there are several options that you can choose in order to input your destination; you can tell the Advisor exactly where you want to go after pushing the blue OnStar button; you can relay your destination through the myChevrolet mobile app; you can input a destination into the MyLink system.

So that you remain on par with the ever-changing road infrastructure, MyLink is updated every year with new roads, speed limits, signage, points of interest and addresses to provide you with extremely accurate information. With every map update, your system’s routing functions are optimized, guaranteeing that you stay on the right course and reach your destination on time, every time.

 

Chrysler

Control Method: The Uconnect 4 infotainment system as seen in the Chrysler Pacifica and the Chrysler 300 is definitely one for the books as far as quality and unparalleled performance go. With a whopping 8.4” display, or a 7” display available with certain Pacifica minivan trims, you get to enjoy stunning visuals, quick responses and easy-to-navigate menus. Being that the manufacturers at Chrysler always put that extra level of detail into their products, the Uconnect Theatre lets you stream movies on the optional rear displays – perfect if you have a restless toddler in the backseat!

The on-screen controls allow you to interact with the interface while exerting minimal effort. Chrysler also has a slew of physical buttons to augment most operations but those are somewhat redundant, considering the on-screen controls. Moreover, Uconnect offers hands-free operability of the technology that includes navigation, voice commands, entertainment and phone systems. Without compromising on driver control, you can easily exert full control over your car’s connectivity.   

Smartphone Integration: Supporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity not to mention satellite radio, two USB ports and auxiliary connectivity and Bluetooth, the Uconnect sure knows how to pack a punch! Perhaps, a bit of a shortcoming here is that both the USB charging ports and the Aux-In port is located in the central console storage bin. Some drivers might see this as an odd layout considering there are none on the dash within convenient reach.

As you cruise down the street, the UConnect lets you quickly scroll through and use a wide range of apps such as Tidal, MixCloud, iHeartRadio, Whatsapp and Google Play Music that are compatible with both Android and iOS. Given that the screen itself is quite a large and accommodating display, there is plenty of real estate for each app to optimally display information and run simultaneously with each other. While UConnect doesn’t come with a wireless charging pad, the Bluetooth does support Siri Eyes Free. However, Google Assistant is not included in the package. This intuitive infotainment marvel also lets you press a single button to activate the Voice Command functionality that far surpasses Siri and can even run when CarPlay is activated.

Sound and Music: UConnect uses Voice Command that lets you call text and access music that is stored on your USB stick or your Smartphone. For its 300C model, Chrysler uses Boston Acoustics. The basic models come with this standard audio package and it is capable of producing clean, powerful and balanced acoustics like no other. You have the option of upgrading to the SRT Design-spec 300C which has a touchscreen sat-nav and a speaker system with integral 20GB hard-disk. The in-car audio system doesn’t leave you hanging. It has a pre-loaded Gracenote compact disc database that can be used for conveniently ripping and storing all your favourite tunes from your CDs. The long and short of it? You can enjoy unlimited access to 1600+ tracks with absolutely no need to lug around your iPod. The system also supports 3.5mm external audio sources.

There are several infotainment systems that produce far more advanced acoustics than the UConnect. However, considering how affordable the latter is, we couldn’t possibly fault it. The system uses big drive units located at an optimal distance from the driver and this helps amplify the sound quality. Besides this, the Boston Acoustics package lets you crank up the bass quite significantly without giving in to that lagging effect that some sounds systems have. All in all, the superior acoustics make this sound system a keeper!

Maps and GPS Functionality: UConnect prides itself on partnering with Garmin – manufacturers of the most superior navigation systems in the world. The GPS is loaded with over 6 million points of interest and boast of highly-detailed maps. With the infotainment’s capacitive 8.4-inch screen that is thoroughly responsive, the UConnect makes swiping and zooming practically effortless – a feature that lets you interact with the maps quickly. This means that you can get directions fast without ever taking your eyes off the road. It features lane assist technology that highlights and guides you to the right lane and makes unfamiliar roads that much easier to navigate.

The unparalleled functionality doesn’t end there. You can also enjoy realistic 3D road signs and junctions en route on the display, with arrows that highlight the proper direction to your destination. Besides the turn-by-turn directions that provide personalized voice directions, you can also get your exact coordinates, the nearest intersection and addresses and the closest police stations, hospitals and gas stations.

 

Dodge

Control Method: Dodge models employ an older version of the UConnect interface as seen in Chrysler vehicles. However, the system is nonetheless jam-packed with highly intuitive features that promise you a very pleasurable ride. The UConnect system itself is constantly being evolved to meet safety, security, lifestyle and information needs. The Dodge Charger and Challenger come with either 7- or 8.4-inch touchscreens. Both of these support Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, aux and USB ports and satellite radio. The Journey model, the oldest in Dodge’s line, comes with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and is compatible with AM/FM radio, satellite radio, USB ports and Bluetooth plus aux.

To interact with the system, you can use the extra on-screen displays to change vehicle settings. These controls even let you monitor engine data and record your acceleration and brake times. It must be said that the on-screen climate controls aren’t all that user-friendly. To augment the on-screen controls, Dodge provides its drivers with physical buttons as well that some might, perhaps, view as redundant.

Smartphone Integration: The most exciting thing about Dodge’s infotainment system is that your smartphone integrates seamlessly with it and lets you text hands-free and take calls on-the-go. Because the interface supports Apple CarPlay, all you have to do is plug in your iPhone and gain access to Apple Maps and Apple Music – either through the touchscreen or by using Siri to voice your commands. With Android Auto, you can groove to Google Play tunes and enjoy Google Maps, voice recognition and easy touchscreen navigation no matter where you go.

With SiriusXM Guardian, you can lock or unlock your vehicle remotely as well as kick-start the engine. If that wasn’t enough, you can also send destinations from your smartphone to the inbuilt navigation system with unbelievable ease. Even the longest of road trips become a blast with the unlimited number of entertainment options offered by this system. This tech is activated with a single touch letting you access over 150 channels on SiriusXM Satellite Radio as well as the latest news, sports updates and the likes.

Sound and Music: With its top-tier sound system, the makers at Dodge pull out all the stops to provide an exhilarating driving experience. It is a self-described brain and brawn interface that combines innovation with state-of-the-art technology. The 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 comes with a standard Sound Group Package that offers a 6-speaker system and a 276-watt amplifier capable of delivering high-quality acoustics. The Sound Group 2 package in certain trims do allow you to access 9-Alpine speakers to elevate an already sublime listening experience. This also includes a 506-watt amplifier and a subwoofer. There is yet another upgrade for those who demand an even more superior listening journey. With the Harman Kardon Premium Sound Group, you can enjoy unsurpassed acoustics created by 18 speakers, two subwoofers and 900-watt amplifiers.

While you can access the standard radio, Dodge has created a few trims that enable access to HD radio stations. With a few models, you can opt to have radio 3.0 in the cab. Along with Apple Music and Google Play, you have the option of streaming over 45 million tracks without interruption, making you a master of the road and a master of your musical experience.

Maps and GPS Functionality: As already mentioned, not only can you activate your vehicle’s engine remotely using your smartphone, you can also send directions directly to the infotainment system using Send & Go as well as easily locate your parked car with the Vehicle Finder app. The intuitive UConnect system receives constant updates as highways, streets, lanes and road infrastructure evolve. This means that the driver gets to enjoy access to up-to-date maps, turn restrictions, address, points of interest and street signage as well as traffic updates.

The 8.4-inch interface can be upgraded to support SiriusXM traffic navigation and travel data. The system is so advanced, in fact, that it can provide routing accuracy, estimated arrival times and be updated should you switch your destination en route – ensuring that you do not waste any time getting to where you need to go. This complex stream of data is so well integrated within the system that interacting with it is child’s play. In addition to what is already a feature-rich navigation interface, you can also avoid idling in traffic jams as UConnect reroutes you quite accurately, thus reducing fuel costs. Rest assured that, every time you get behind the wheel of your Dodge car, you will enjoy an optimized driving experience!

 

Ford

Control Method: Ford’s infotainment system has come miles and miles from its original rendition – the MyFord Touch. While this early version was error-prone and very difficult to navigate through, the current Sync 3 infotainment system features responsive touch screens, voice-command activation and intuitive menus. This enables the user to interact with the system more freely and easily.

The base models feature non-touchscreen AM/FM radio, USB and auxiliary inputs and basic voice command features. However, the stark upgrade in the Ford Sync 3 infotainment system has completely revamped the game. It uses 6.5 or 8-inch interfaces and accommodates satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and other optional navigation functionalities. To augment the touch screen interactivity, Ford’s infotainment comes with physical volume and tuning knobs for your convenience. The interface is also perfect if you want to adjust the climate control settings as well as the heated steering wheel settings quickly.

Smartphone Integration: The Sync 3 has long since proven to be every tech junkie’s dream infotainment system. As mentioned before, it is compatible with Android and Apple smartphones and you can remotely access your vehicle’s features as well as track its location using your phone. You can start, lock, unlock and check the fuel levels easier than ever before with your device. Newer models with the Sync Connect offer a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot option that lets you connect up to 10 devices simultaneously. This hotspot can be accessed within a 50-feet-radius of the car, letting you browse the internet with immense ease.

While the overall system might not be the most attractive thing out there, it does allow for tremendous user-friendliness as it lets you integrate the AppLink app to things like AccuWeather forecasts and Slacker internet radio. Additionally, with the Sync AppLink, you can launch and interact with all your favourite mobile apps using voice control or swiping through them on the highly responsive touchscreen.

Sound and Music: Long distances and daily commutes fly by with Ford’s innovative and ingenious B&O Play audio system that truly elevates the consumer experience. A team of music specialists at Harman collaborated with Ford to produced refined acoustics over a period of 24 months. To get the audio just right, about 1,200 hours were invested into each vehicle. This has manifested in a next-level custom-tuned audio experience for the driver.

Ford focuses on everything from amplification to speaker placement in order to negate unwanted vibrations, no matter where the listener is seated. The Ford EcoSport features a B&O Play system with 10 speakers and 9 amplified channels – all propelled by a 675-watt digital signal processor. On the other hand, the Ford Expedition uses a B&O Play system with 12 speakers and 10 amplified channels – powered by a 1,100-watt digital signal processor. To any tech-savvy driver, it’s clear that the cleverly devised speaker architecture and measurements (carefully tailored for every Ford model) are what deliver consistently high-quality acoustics.

Maps and GPS Functionality: With the latest Ford navigation system map, locating new roads, points of interest, addresses and street names is a breeze. The regular updates to the GPS system ensure that you can always identify the most efficient routes, thus saving on money and time. The Sync 3 allows you to browse through tons of navigation options, either through voice control or by using the light-tap touchscreen.

To further complement this experience, Ford has partnered with Sygic, a GPS app, that is available to both Android and iOS smartphone users. Using AppLink to seamlessly integrate Sygic to the Sync 3, the driver is able to project navigation apps directly onto the vehicle’s touchscreen from their smartphone. This means that you never have to take your eyes off the road or your hands off the wheel when receiving turn-by-turn directions.

 

Genesis

Control Method: The Genesis infotainment system is a force to be reckoned with.

With the affordable and bite-sized G80, the driver enjoys an infotainment software that has all the standard features along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. The highly responsive and intuitive 8-inch display also gives you the option of adding a 9.2-inch screen that comes with a rotary controller on the centre console. Similar to Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment system, the G80’s system quickly responds to on-screen touch commands and also displays clean and easy-to-peruse menus that can be easily navigated through with a scroll wheel. This avoids the driver getting distracted from the road in order to interact with it. Overall, the software boasts of a clean and bright display that promises to impress with its clarity, size and user-friendliness.  

Smartphone Integration: The G90 features a 12.3-inch touchscreen and supports AM/FM, satellite radio, Bluetooth, USB and auxiliary ports. The interface is compatible with SiriusXM traffic and travel information and also lets you charge your smartphone wirelessly. The major pitfall here is that it isn’t compatible with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. As previously mentioned, Genesis’s improved infotainment – the G80 – does support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Additionally, the G70 doesn’t have a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot or LTE which drastically cuts down on the driver’s ability to stay connected. With the Bluetooth, the driver is able to use Google Assistant and Siri Eyes Free. The primary USB port is located in the lower part of the dash, accompanied by the Aux-In port and the 12-volt socket. Here, you can also find a Qi wireless charging pad with a rubber cover that makes cleaning very easy.

Sound and Music: Coupled with its engineering excellence, Genesis has proven itself to be a music connoisseur by partnering with state-of-the-art audio giant, Lexicon. The Genesis G80 model boasts of an impressive 17-speaker Lexicon system. This premium audio system offers stunning surround-sound acoustics to rival that of a customized theatre, thus giving you unparalleled tonal accuracy. The package comprises of one 100mm mid-range speaker located at the centre front for rich and full tones, one 25mm tweeter to create the highest frequencies on each track, four 80mm mid-range speakers located at the front and rear door to bridge the gap between the tweeter and the bass, four 160mm mid-woofers to send the most optimized sound to every seat and five compact 25mm tweeters that lets you enjoy the full harmonics of your favourite music.

Besides these, the car also comes with two 80mm mid-range speakers on the rear deck, one 250mm Dual Voice Coil Subwoofer and one 900-watt 12-channel amplifier to balance tonal blending and enhance the overall quality of the track.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Genesis has made it easier than ever before for its tech-savvy customers to communicate with their vehicles. You now have access to millions of miles of roads, highways, streets, signages, traffic updates, points of interest and the likes. It is estimated that roads change about 15% every year across North America. With Genesis’ latest and ongoing navigation updates, you can discover the best routes on-the-go, thus facilitating greater familiarity and security no matter where you go.

Besides these, the infotainment system does you one better. You can also view new hotels, restaurants, banks and other such in-demand locations that are constantly shifting. In the long run, not only will you be able to reach your destinations with more efficiency, but you will also save big on fuel.

 

GMC

Control Method: With its state-of-the-art infotainment system, GMC has chosen to follow in the footsteps of Buick and Chevy by offering a rebranded version of the same. You get to enjoy none-too-shabby visuals on a 7- or 8-inch touchscreen display depending on the trim level. Using the myGMC app you can perform a wide range of functions remotely such as locking or unlocking your vehicle, sending destinations to the navigation system, viewing your car’s diagnostic data and locating your vehicle.

To curb the possibility of you getting distracted while driving, you can send texts or make calls while keeping your eyes on the road and hands on the wheel. GMC has gone above and beyond to streamline this process even further. Just by pushing a conveniently located button, all you have to do is say the name of any of your phone book’s contacts and the infotainment system dials the number for you. What’s more, via simple voice commands you can also access the Natural Language Voice Recognition that lets you stream unlimited tracks in your playlist and access radio stations without so much as batting an eyelid!

Smartphone Integration: GMC’s system comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and lets you carry out several hands-free tasks with your phone. With the built-in 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, stay connected to information, entertainment and people with unbelievable ease. It supports up to seven devices simultaneously and lets you stream music, access your apps and the likes. You can also connect up to ten different Bluetooth-enabled devices – from music players to smartphones.

Because the focal point of this technological phenom is user-friendliness, the system also alerts you of incoming texts, reads them out loud and is even capable of responding by using the system’s pre-programmed database of responses. Using Siri Eyes Free, you can also compose texts and emails via voice commands. This keeps you connected and informed no matter the situation. It gets better. The infotainment system is compatible with SiriusXM that can be activated at the touch of a button. You can quickly access over 120 channels including comedy, sports, news, talk shows, commercial-free music and more!

Sound and Music: Long rides are a drag. GMC’s infotainment system lets the miles fly by without you even realizing. You can enjoy FM, AM, SiriusXM satellite radio as well as tons of international radio stations. The GMC Terrain delivers superb sound quality with the Pioneer Premium Audio System. The 250-watt 8-speaker system boasts of a powerful DSP amplifier that not only creates a tight bass but also produces high-frequency acoustics. The sound is altered between the left and right speakers, creating an immersible and spacious sound environment for all passengers.

Besides that, the system also comes with a 3.5” centre speaker for precise reproduction of vocals, optimally positioned tweeters to smoothly deliver high-frequency sound waves, 6.5” low-mid range speakers to emulate a live sound stage, 6.5” rear full range speakers to guarantee that rear passengers enjoy the same experience and an 8” dual voice coil subwoofer that delivers powerful tones and fresh energetic bass sounds. What more could you ask for?

Maps and GPS Functionality: The GMC infotainment systems come with in-built navigation as an option with a couple of its high-trim models. This intuitive piece of tech lets you access maps from multiple viewpoints, updated traffic information, turn-by-turn driving directions and your most frequently used routes and destinations – all from your car’s touchscreen. The system itself is extremely easy to activate as you can do so by either pushing the Destination button or the on-screen Navigation icon. Not only is the interface customizable, you can also avail of the audio prompt feature so that you never have to take your eyes off the road.

 

Honda

Control Method: Honda is a car brand synonymous with affordability and quality. It’s infotainment system, HondaLink, doesn’t fall too far from the tree in this regard. With the lower trim levels, you can expect to enjoy a 5-inch display. With higher trim levels, 7- or 8-inch touchscreen interfaces are at your disposal. While these systems are quite responsive and easy to use, there is a noticeable lack of physical tuning and volume buttons on most models. However, the Honda Accord has addressed this inconvenience.

Some users do complain that the on-screen graphics (especially on the 7-inch screens) are a little too crude for their liking. The 8-inch screens have more than made up for this shortcoming. They boast of high-resolution and fresher graphics as seen in the tile-based layout in the Odyssey and Accord. However, there are a lot of functions that require you to hop through several menus to be executed. It should be said that there are other features that do help this infotainment save face. The HondaLink can be fully integrated with Pandora internet radio and also provide the option of reading out your texts so that you don’t have to take your eyes off the road.

Smartphone Integration: The standard version doesn’t offer either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay compatibility. However, higher trim levels rectify this issue. HondaLink lets you enjoy customized assist, service and connectivity features that will make for an extremely pleasurable ride. The HondaLink First Generation lets you seamlessly connect compatible smartphones which means you can access social media, your contacts, music and so much more. On the other hand, with 2014 and later models, you get the HondaLink Next Generation which lends you unlimited access to radio, news, talk and sports stations, podcasts and audiobooks, local listings for coffee and food, and more.

What’s more, the HondaLink app also lets you access tons of your favourite tracks through iHeartRadio. If that isn’t for you, you can always use the several other Live stations or better yet, create a Custom station consisting only of your favourite music – all available at your fingertips!

Sound and Music: Honda believes that the perfect soundtrack makes even the dreariest of rides more exciting. Its 450-watt, 10-speaker premium audio system that comes standard with its Civic Sedan almost lives up to this standard. The Honda Civic Hatchback Turbo has a slightly better infotainment system, however, the acoustic quality is still subpar and it does not include a CD player. If you’d like to enhance your listening experience, the 550-watt 11-speaker premium audio system comes standard on the Elite model.

There are quite some customers who complain about the quality of their stereo in Honda’s factory audio system. The most common amongst these complaints is the fact that the audio quality is mushy, pitchy and weak at best. The best solution to this dilemma is to add a subwoofer to the mix. This will nicely augment the existing system and provide a sturdy foundation for all your favourite tunes. It greatly relieves the small interior speakers from having to take on heavy bass frequencies.

Even a single 10” subwoofer and a 250-watt amplifier would add quite nicely to the overall sound quality. The amplifier will replace the insufficient factory Honda audio speakers to give you a truly mind-blowing acoustic experience.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The HondaLink Navigation app lets you access a comprehensive navigation system right from your compatible smartphone. You can use turn-by-turn navigation and view real-time street navigation to guide you to your destination without any delays. The destination address that you set into your phone shows up on the Display Audio System’s 7” touchscreen. This will let you pinch, swipe or tap your way into new territory.

You can control the app through the button on your steering wheel or through the virtual keyboard. To avoid barring your on-screen view, the keyword vanishes when you’re in motion. The app even comes with a parking mode option that puts a pin on the map so that you can identify your vehicle in a busy parking lot. Perhaps a downside is that the service provides only a limited amount of features with the built-in system. If you want to diversify the available features, you might have to pay a fee of CAD $84.99.

 

Hyundai

Control Method: Hyundai’s BlueLink navigation system is both simple to navigate and attractive to the eye. While it may not be the most sophisticated infotainment system in the market, BlueLink boasts of a sensible layout menu, fast processors and an adequate number of backup analogue controls. It uses a 7” or 8” touchscreen interface depending on the model you invest in. Some describe Hyundai’s touchscreens as not having the flashiest graphics, however, they more than makeup for that in legibility, ease of use and speed.

If you choose to go for a larger screen, you can expect great resolution. The smaller screens that come standard with most Hyundai models are not quite as impressive.

With the 2018 Hyundai Accent, you will get a 5” touchscreen that has auxiliary ports as well as a USB jack to connect your devices to the interface. The 7” touchscreen is a more advanced piece of tech and is offered with SEL and Limited trims. The larger screen also offers SiriusXM satellite radio.

Smartphone Integration: There are a ton of features you can enjoy with BlueLink. The infotainment system is compatible with AM/FM, Bluetooth, satellite radio, auxiliary and USB connectivity and also offers optional navigation. The USB port itself is located on the back of the center console, allowing the driver easy access. Every Hyundai model supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Most users have confirmed that the Auto and CarPlay integrations are phenomenal and that the built-in navigation is very convenient to interact with. On certain higher trim models, you can enjoy wireless phone charging as well.

Hyundai offers users free software updates that are available through myhyundai.com. These updates allow the user to access a do-it-yourself feature for smartphone integration, thus expanding the availability of the multimedia system. This makes for a more layered and enjoyable ownership experience.

Sound and Music: When accessing your playlists, podcasts and radio stations, there’s nothing more important than outstanding acoustic quality. The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV crossover knows how to perform as promised! Different available models will naturally vary ever so slightly in sound quality. The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe XL Ultimate, Luxury and Limited (all these come with an 8” HD touchscreen and 12 speakers in the standard version) and the Santa Fe Sport 2.4L Luxury (comes with an 8” HD touchscreen and 12 speakers in the standard version) are great options for those drivers looking for a premium sound quality experience.

If, however, you looking to be a little more cost-cautious and are willing to skimp a little on sound quality, you could opt fo any of the remaining 2018 Sante Fe XL and Sport models.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Given that you lead a very travel-intensive lifestyle, you rely heavily on your navigation system to get you places – fast! This is why it’s very important to stay abreast of map updates to enjoy the best experience. Studies show that roads and places of interest change roughly around 15% every year. When you have the latest maps on hand, you can save time by taking the most optimal routes. In the long-run, this bodes very well for your fuel consumption!

With Hyundai, you can download the latest map versions as and when they are made available. Map updates usually occur a couple times a year. You can gain access to thousands of kilometres worth of new roads, over 700,000 restaurants and 7 million points of interest. You will also be able to avail of other nifty features such as an enhanced user interface, updated junction views, detours, signages and so much more. However, these updates are available for select models only. You will have to visit the official website to know whether your car qualifies.

 

Infiniti

Control Method: The Infiniti QX30 offers a 7” touch screen with its standard version. The QX80, on the other hand, offers an 8” HD display. The QX50, Q60 and Q50 all boast of a dual-screen system that has the 8” display as the upper touchscreen and the 7” display as the lower touchscreen. All Infiniti models come with a jog dial to augment their touch support features. Depending on what you’re comfortable with, you never have to take your eyes off the road when interacting with the system.

Most users are very happy with Infiniti’s single screen systems and do not report any major issues. However, they have stated that the navigation graphics, in particular, are a bit dated. Additionally, the in-built functionality is not as impressive as the company makes it out to be. When assessing the dual screen interface, the lower screen features crisp graphics, while the upper screen is somewhat lacking. All in all, the Infiniti infotainment system does seem to be lagging behind a pace or two compared to its more advanced rivals.

Smartphone Integration: Perhaps the biggest drawback with this infotainment system is that it doesn’t support Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Owing to the lack of this major feature, it puts Infiniti’s system way behind its counterparts. It is compatible with basic FM/AM/satellite radio and Bluetooth. The standard versions come with auxiliary connectivity and a USB port.

With the Bluetooth hands-free phone system, you have the freedom to receive and make calls on the go. This is a great feature as it allows for better accessibility, greater convenience and safer communications. To know which models and trims offer this particular feature, you will have to visit the official website. All in all, Infiniti is aware of its shortcomings and is taking steps to catch up with the competition. Recently, it revealed plans to release a top-of-the-line system in its next-gen cars somewhere around 2020.

Sound and Music: Infiniti’s audio system promises to pack a punch. It uses award-winning inventors to completely transform the way you listen to music while on the road.

The Q50 features a Bose performance system that has 16 high-performance speakers, AudioPilot, Centerpoint, Advanced Staging, SurroundStage and Active Sound Management technologies. The Q60 features a similar ensemble with 13 high-performance speakers. The Q70 does you one better. It brings to the table 14 high-performance speakers, TrueSpace signal processing and 5.1 digital signal processing besides the other standard features mentioned above. You also have the option of choosing the 10 speaker package.

With this top-of-the-line acoustic package by your side, you’re sure to have an enjoyable ride!

Maps and GPS Functionality: Infiniti focuses on fuel efficiency – not just about miles per gallon but also how quickly you can get to your destination using the most direct route. A couple of times every year, it updates the navigation system to provide you with the latest addresses, signages, detours, points of interest, roads, restaurants and much more. As highways and streets evolve, your system map does too so that you’re never left in the lurch en route.

Depending on the map update you choose, you can access modified data that will hone the accuracy of your navigation system’s estimated travel times and routing predictions. It uses high-tech lane guidance to help you approach junctions. To pave the way for further convenience, you can use the text-to-speech voice recognition so that you never have to take your eyes off the road.

Infiniti promises functionality and accuracy and helps you avoid unwanted traffic violations.

 

Jaguar

Control Method: Jaguar’s infotainment technology comprises InControl system that has been divided into two models: Touch and Touch Pro. Both models deploy touchscreen navigation method, though the operation may vary slightly as per the car make you choose. The basic Touch system which comes as standard on XE, XF and F-Pace models has an 8-inch display screen flanked by buttons to the right and left for home, navigation, camera, settings and so on. The TouchPro system is more advanced and exciting, expanding to a massive 10.2-inch central display, sans the buttons, and hosting various on-screen buttons along the bottom for you to explore, such as phone, music, navigation, parking assistance and more.

When it comes to driver display, the standard display on Jaguar XE, XF and F-Pace models features 2 analogue dials with a colourful 5-inch digital panel in the middle to show driving-related information. You can use your steering wheel controls to modify information in this central panel, as well as customize a lot of other car options, without using the main display at all.

Smartphone integration: You can connect your smartphone through the USB port. Jaguar also supports iPod compatibility and gives you 3.5mm aux input if you wish to connect other hardware. Moreover, you’ll also have regular Bluetooth support for calling.

Jaguar supports Connect and Connect pro connectivity systems that will expose you to more options in case you want to use your smartphone. Through this functionality, you can get remote access to a host of features, such as preconditioning the interior of car remotely, remote lock and unlock etc.

Jaguar doesn’t support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, instead, the brand focuses on using its in-built InControl Apps. The idea is – you need to download the Jaguar app on your phone and when you connect your phone to the car, that provides a bridge to actually use the app. Though it’s a bit restricted than Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, you can use many InControl apps to enhance your driving experience.

Sound and Music: Jaguar essentially offers 3 sound system options: standard audio which entails 6 speakers, 80W; Meridian sound system which entails 11 speakers and subwoofers, 380W; and Meridian surround sound system comprising of 17 speakers, 825W. The availability of these sound systems is in part tied to the fact whether or not you have Touch Pro or Touch system in your vehicle.

On XF, XJ and F-Pace models, you can also have a TV, given that you have the specified TouchPro version. However, you can watch through the front display only when the vehicle is standing still.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The absence of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto apps in Jaguar models shouldn’t be a drawback as all models have some form of navigation. TouchPro models have taken navigation to the next technologically advanced level through Pro navigation feature that lets you enjoy 3D mapping. The TouchPro combined with Connect Pro can make the navigation more engaging – allowing you to view real-time traffic, along with an ability to arrive at the destination and continue through public transport or on foot using the same app.

 

Jeep

Control Method: All Jeep models feature at least 7 and 8.4-inch touchscreen with Uconnect 4.  A voice-activated, comprehensive in-dash infotainment system, Uconnect comes either as a factory-installed or dealer-installed option. The level of Uconnect functionality you can access depends on which model of Jeep you have. The Compass, Renegade and new Wrangler all provide 5-inch touchscreen on their base models, with older Uconnect software version 3 which doesn’t support Android Auto or CarPlay. Uconnect system boasts of clear and bright graphics with simple navigation menus and quick response. You’ll love to play around with on-screen climate controls (on Jeep with a 7 and 8.4-inch display), though the automaker also provides buttons for most operations.

Smartphone Integration: Besides standard Bluetooth connectivity, the Uconnect system enables WiFi and mobile hotspots functionality which brings forth utmost convenience when combined with the voice command system. In some newer models, you also get to text hands-free and charge your smartphone wirelessly through the centre console. The latest version of UConnect also supports CarPlay and Android Auto which will expose you to a whole new avenue of exciting features to explore.

Sound and Music: The sound quality of Jeep Uconnect systems is second to none, with Alpine, Beats Audio, Infiniti, Harman Kardon and Boston Acoustics multi-speaker sound systems throughout Chrysler lineup. Many new models even have inbuilt HD sound (besides HD video). The entertainment will be a non-stop event when you have access to a bundle of options such as SiriusXM satellite radio, rear seat dual screen Blu-ray/DVD player, and more.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The maps feature in Uconnect lets you find the points of interest easily and quickly through 3D graphics and a detailed view of cities, terrains and landmarks. The sensor-assisted GPS does a great job in giving you the accurate position of your car – this feature is especially handy when you travel through underground parking garages, tunnels or other areas where GPS signal is highly likely to be obstructed.

 

Kia

Control Method: Kia has a 7 or 8-inch touchscreen on all its models, along with an upgraded UVO3 that integrates the infotainment and telematics system into one interface to ensure the driver stays entertained and informed. Right from the roadside assistance with just a push of a button to 911 Connect in an emergency, Kia is clearly on its way to set a benchmark. The touchscreen is not as feature-rich as some prominent car makers, but it works flawlessly. The 2019 K900 model has a 12.3-inch touchscreen with navigation as standard, together with a rotary controller to operate the interface.

Smartphone Integration: Bluetooth wireless and USB port connectivity are standard on Kiya. Moreover, every Kia vehicle supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, in addition to Pandora internet radio -a feature-set that has turned into more of a necessity than a luxury to have in a car these days. Well, here’s more – hands-free calling and texting, as well as the ability to add your favourite places on the smartphone app to sync with Kiya, and have all your trip info in one place.

Sound and Music: All Kia vehicles are equipped with Infinity’s advanced audio technology to ensure an enjoyable audio experience for all music lovers. The Logic 7 technology gives excellent sound quality in the enclosed environment of a vehicle. Kia Optima has 12 speakers placed in 8 different locations along with 11-channel DSP amplifier for a harmonically rich sound, whereas the Sorento model has 11-channel amplifier comprising 12 speakers in 10 locations to deliver top quality sound.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Kiya UVO includes in-built navigation technology with GPS, Google Maps, voice recognition and SC card feature. Through CarPlay, you can get suggestions on where you want to go, depending on the past addresses in your iPhone.

 

Land Rover

Control Method: An 8-inch touchscreen comes as a standard feature, with optional Land Rover InControl Pro – a 10-inch system with navigation. The Range Rover Velar is equipped with a much-enhanced infotainment system referred to as Touch Pro Duo that flaunts twin 10-inch touchscreens. The function of the lower display is to operate the secondary functions such as seating and climate controls. The dual touchscreen system means you can view and interact with more than one features at the same time, for example using the upper screen for maps navigation while the lower screen is playing your favourite video.

Land Rover also integrates special menus detailing off-roading info such as 4-wheel-drive status and the car’s angle. An impressive addition is a head-up display that lets you keep your eyes on the road whilst driving, projecting transparent driving related info directly on the windscreen.

Smartphone Integration: Land Rover doesn’t support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. To compensate for this, Land Rover facilitates 3 features through Connect: InControl Apps that will allow you to use compatible smartphone apps on your car’s touchscreen; 3G Wi-Fi hotspot that will allow other occupants to connect to the internet (up to 8 devices); and Remote Premium that lets you interact with your car from a distance, such as viewing fuel levels, windows, doors etc., and setting the cabin temperature in advance remotely.   

Sound and Music: The Touch Pro integrates Meridian sound system to deliver excellent sound quality through up to 12 speakers and a dual channel subwoofer. Trifield technology blends the surround and centre channels with right and left channels to provide a consistent experience for the occupants. However, this function is available only on selected models. Some other audio features on Touch Pro that are worth mentioning are cabin correction and digital dither shaping.

Land Rover pays equal attention to rear-seat entertainment, encompassing 2 independent 10 or 8-inch screens placed on the front headrest, along with headphones and wireless remotes.  

Maps and GPS Functionality: Navigation Pro is further enhanced by Connect Pro, allowing it to learn the regular routes and update you on the traffic, ETA and other relevant aspects. The graphical interface on Range Rover and Range Rover Sport is boosted immensely through virtual instrument display that ensures you have a high-tech 3D map viewing experience.

 

Lexus

Control Method: The design and interface of Lexus infotainment system exceed the expectations, especially in the LS model that boasts an impressive 12.3-inch centre display, along with a 24-inch head-up display. There is a huge scope for customization, for example, you can customize a particular image to welcome you whenever you hop on the car. The dynamic touchpad and steering-wheel controls are also intuitive and fluid. An optional upgrade is a 10.3-inch display screen operated by Remote Touch Interface, which resembles a mouse controller embedded on the centre console.

Smartphone Integration: Lexus offers AM/FM/satellite radio, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free for iPhone users, USB and auxiliary output and input for Scout GPS app. Just like Toyota’s Entune suite, Lexus has an Enform app suite that allows you to use certain apps that are downloaded on your smartphone. The 2019 ES is the only model that facilitates Apple CarPlay connectivity, but no Android Auto.   

Sound and Music: Lexus promises superb sound experience in all its models through a high-quality premium audio system with Bluetooth connectivity. The ES 350 boasts of a 15-speaker Mark Levinson audio system that exemplifies hi-end audio quality for music enthusiasts. The higher you go in Lexus models, more improved sound experience you can expect to get from your Lexus car.   

Maps and GPS Functionality: Lexus has a rich infotainment system which is further enhanced through a dynamic navigation feature that monitors the traffic while planning different routes for you, by using onboard connectivity. Besides the standard functionality of providing the users with information on their points-of-interests, it will stay current with new map content.

 

Mazda

Control Method: Starting from the 2018 model year, each new Mazda car is proud is have a 7-inch centre touchscreen, referred to as Mazda Connect by the automaker. There is also a rotary knob on the centre console, apart from the touch interface, that can be used to operate the system. The entire infotainment system has been found to be fairly responsive to the inputs, with sharp graphics and fluid navigation features. However, one thing that may put off ardent car lovers is that once the car is on the move, all the touch controls will be locked out, leaving you to use the Command Controller knob or voice commands instead.    

Smartphone Integration: AM/FM radio, Bluetooth, auxiliary and USB ports, Stitcher internet radio, and support for Aha, Pandora are some standard features on Mazda. Optional features include navigation and satellite radio which you can get based on the trim level. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are unavailable on all Mazda models, but fortunately, the automaker is now planning to introduce support for both these systems on its 2018 Mazda6.   

Sound and Music: Mazda ensures uninterrupted music experience for occupants through AHA radio, Stitcher radio, Bluetooth audio, AM/FM radio, CD player, Aux and USB mode. Automatic Level Control is a remarkable feature that adjusts the sound quality and audio volume as per the speed of your car. The AutoPilot Bose sound system will continuously adjust the audio settings to cancel the background noise while taking into account the vehicle speed. To ensure a more spacious and wider sound field, Mazda integrates Bose surround sound functionality that converts stereo signals from existing radio, MP3s or CDs to achieve precision in sound quality.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Keeping up with advanced technologies, Mazda allows you to enjoy 3D views of cities and landmarks. Primary features of the Mazda navigation system include on-screen speed limit, traffic patterns depending on historical data, and an advance alert on the right driving lanes and upcoming exits. Moreover, Mazda Connect also provides map updates for three years –  beginning when your car has travelled 63 miles with SD card inserted.

 

Mercedes

Control Method: Mercedes uses the Comand infotainment system which may slightly vary in different versions based on the model range and age of each car. The system has a dashboard-mounted display which is operated through a touchpad and scroll wheel. While more affordable Mercedes models such as A-Class, B-Class and C-Class have a free-standing iPad-like display, the upmarket makes such as the S-Class and E-Class come with a slick built-in setup featuring a pair of 12.3-inch display screens. The menu structure is logical, making the navigation simpler through rotary dial and touchpad.

All the future Mercedes models will be using a more technologically advanced touchscreen system called MBUX that uses 7 or 10.25-inch screens, together with impressive voice controls.

Smartphone Integration: Comand system offers USB, Bluetooth and Auxiliary connectivity, in conjunction with Satellite/AM/FM radio. Both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are supported as well. Wireless phone charging and Wi-Fi hotspots are optional features though.    

Sound and Music: Many Mercedes cars such as CLA have a Harmon Kardon Logic 7 stereo that features maximum audio output of 450 watts. The entire system consists of tweeters, subwoofers and a DSP amplifier, along with 12 speakers in different locations in the vehicle, so that everyone in the vehicle can fully enjoy a high-quality sound.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Most Mercedes vehicles integrate GPS tracking system, and a hard drive for storing points of interests, maps and so on. The maps are generally in 3D view to deliver a more realistic view of the route. You can even choose to integrate the navigation aspect into the car’s audio system for receiving detailed voice instructions. Some other features include optional lane recommendations, alert on highway signs and exit ramps.

 

Mitsubishi

Control Method: For most of its lineup, Mitsubishi provides a standard 7-inch touchscreen that can be operated through the touchpad positioned on the centre console. The menus are straightforward, though the response time is a little sluggish. Mid-grade versions of Outlander Sport feature a 6.5-inch screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.   

Smartphone Integration: Mitsubishi offers the FUSE hands-free link with Bluetooth system so that you can make phone calls as well as control music through a simple voice command. The FUSE system has an advanced speech recognition software embedded into it, which lets you link more than one phone with the system, thus multiple people can get their voice recognized to use the command.

Sound and Music: With Mitsubishi, the best sound system is 9-speaker Rockford Fosgate premium that comes with a 10-inch dual voice coil subwoofer, PremiDIA-WIDE surround, Dolby Volume, DTS Neural Surround and Digital Signal Processing.

Maps and GPS Functionality: If you have a model with a 7-inch touchscreen, you’ll get to have a 3D touch-based navigation system that displays road speed limits, expanded points-of-interests, and real-time traffic updates; yearly map updates are offered as well. It’s all free, meaning you don’t have to spend on subscriptions.

 

Nissan

Control Method: Nissan offers a variety of infotainment systems depending on the car model, for example, standard models such as Versa, Titan/Titan XD, and Frontier have a 5-inch touchscreen, whereas other models such as Versa Note, Kicks and Rogue come with 7-inch screens. Some cars such as Maxima, Armada and Pathfinder have an 8-inch screen as a standard feature. NissanConnect infotainment system which is available in most new models is simple and easy to use, even for those who are not very tech savvy. Apart from the steering mounted controls, the system also works smoothly with voice commands, allowing you to use most apps just by talking to your car.

Smartphone Integration: Only a handful of Nissan cars come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, such as the Kicks, Murano (optional), GTR, Leaf (optional), Rogue and Maxima (optional). The 370Z lineup comes with a basic CD/FM/AM system with a couple of added features, aside from Auxiliary and Bluetooth connectivity.  The 2019 Altima is expected to have an 8-inch touchscreen (as a standard feature), with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Google Assistant voice, Siri Eyes Free, Satellite radio and Bluetooth – navigation is going be an optional feature.

Sound and Music: The sound quality of basic AM/FM/CD is good, though you can go for Single DIN (2-inch tall) or double-DIN (4 inches tall) aftermarket models. The Nissan Altima has an optional Bose Premium audio system – a 9-speaker audio system with a Bose amplifier which strategically spreads sound in the cabin.      

Maps and GPS Functionality: Navigation is optional in many Nissan cars, which doesn’t make much of difference if you have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support. The Nissan GT-R makes navigation a breeze through its 8-inch touchscreen with various special displays showcasing car and engine related data. The cars with NissanConnect system can avail the benefits of built-in map system and SiriusXM traffic that provides real-time route and traffic avoidance info to ensure a calmer, safer drive.    

 

RAM

Control Method: RAM uses Uconnect infotainment system which is one of the most responsive and easiest ones to use in the market currently. The 2019 RAM 1500 has a 5-inch touchscreen as standard, and you’ll also love the 8.4-inch touchscreen available in step up models. The new RAM 1500 has a 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system that impresses, attracting comparison to the Tesla’s tablet-like infotainment display. It’s responsive and lightning fast, with a crisp and bright screen, making driving I. Since it is essentially 2 of 8.4-inch screens combined together, the system can display 2 apps simultaneously, however not like the integrated navigation and Apple Carplay at once.        

Smartphone Integration: The 2019 RAM 1500 offers USB and Auxiliary inputs, as well as AM/FM. The system with an 8.4-inch touchscreen which is standard on the Laramie model, but optional on Rebel and Big Horn, comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, in addition to satellite radio. Hands-free calling and voice text reply features are pretty awesome, though voice texting is not compatible with iPhone.

Sound and Music: The availability of SiriusXM Satellite Radio enables you to enjoy more than 150 channels, encompassing news, comedy, entertainment, commercial-free music and a lot of other programming. Using Bluetooth Streaming audio, you can link up to 10 smartphones to your car, and prioritize as per your desires.

Maps and GPS Functionality: Navigation is a piece of cake with RAM’s infotainment system that will guide you to your destination through sensor-assisted GPS technology. With SiriusXM Travel Link, you can get in-depth weather information such as weather maps, 5-day forecasts, storm alerts, fuel prices in the area, sports scores and a lot more.

 

Subaru

Control Method: Subaru uses StarLink smart access platform in all its models, with touchscreen sizes varying as per the car model. Depending on the Subaru car you want to buy, you can choose from 6.4-inch, 8-inch, 6.2-inch, 7-inch, and 6.1-inch infotainment system. The infotainment system with a 6.5-inch multi-gesture, high-resolution touchscreen has an intuitive swipe and scroll function. On higher trim levels, Subaru offers a voice-activated GPS system, as well as a Harman Kardon amplifier and speaker.    

Smartphone Integration: Almost all models of Subaru have Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard features, as part of StarLink system; BRZ is an exception. The Premium models have a 6.2-inch display that offers Auxiliary and USB ports, CD player, Bluetooth, connectivity for Aha, Stitcher and Pandora Internet Radio, and satellite radio. The 7 and 8-inch touchscreens have more integrated apps, such as iHearRadio and Stitcher Internet radio, Glympse social navigation, Yelp and eBird.   

Sound and Music: In 6.5-inch screens, a 4-speaker set is standard for base trim levels, whereas a 6-speaker set can be found on higher trim levels for select models. With the 6.2-inch system, you’ll have a lot of options to stay entertained, including iPod/USB integration, Bluetooth streaming audio and AM/FM/CD/MP3/WMA, and a free 3-month subscription to SiriusXM satellite radio.   

Maps and GPS Functionality: The responsiveness of maps in 7-inch infotainment system is beyond impressive. You can select horizontal or vertical map view as per your preference, as well as use the compass there to add value to your navigation experience. Other features that you’ll love to use while driving includes updated traffic-related alerts pertaining to your route, a walkthrough of the route in advance, and finding places of interests nearby such as restaurants, gas stations etc. You can activate the voice command button on your steering wheel to get turn by turn voice-commands.

 

Tesla

Control Method: As you probably already know, Tesla is “next generation” in everything it does, and the same is true when it comes to its car infotainment system. Living up to the brand’s stellar reputation, Tesla Model X and Model S rely on a whopping 17-inch screen for most of their control options which looks like a massive piece of tech. Through its latest model 3, the brand has upped the ante by getting rid of the traditional gauge cluster and using a centre 15-inch screen for many secondary vehicle functions, including even the mirror position, wipers and lights – now that’s something most Tesla’s counterparts would like to aspire for.

The interface is as awesome as it can be, allowing you the flexibility of either using the entire screen just for one app, or splitting it vertically to display many apps and even swap the apps, top to bottom. Want to listen to your favourite tracks while navigating through the map on the same screen? Tesla has you covered.

Smartphone Integration: Model X and Model S have Bluetooth, built-in web browser, 2 USB ports and FM and HD radio; no AM radio like most electric cars. Neither of these systems, however, support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Thanks to the bigger size, all menus for actions like hands-free calling are clear, bold and big to ensure drivers’ convenience.   

Sound and Music: Tesla has equally impressive multimedia playback, allowing you to play tunes from your smartphone or mass storage devices, stream music via TuneIn radio and numerous other internet radio stations. Model S comes with a 7-speaker array for a base price, though you can upgrade to Ultra High Fidelity Sound package – a 12-speaker combination including 8” subwoofer that delivers remarkable sound quality to each individual in the cabin. For a richer sound, you can always go for more powerful amps. What this means is that if you go for pano roof, you’ll have a different setup than another individual who has a solid roof.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The navigation is made simpler and easier through Google Maps across the gigantic tablet-like screen. Swiping around the map is a breeze through multi-touch support, whereas other activities like zooming in and out feel like working on those fancy, extremely high-tech machines.

 

Toyota

Control Method: Like Nissan, Toyota has a great variety in its infotainment systems as per the model. Many models have 7 or 6.1-inch touchscreens, such as Corolla, Yaris, Prius, Highlander, Tundra and Tacoma, whereas the 86 and C-HR have only 7-inch screens. The Sequoia, Prius C and 4Runner have a 6.1-inch touchscreen only, and the Land Cruiser has a massive 9-inch display. The in-built Toyota Entune infotainment system has been designed to integrate the functionality of a smartphone into the centrally mounted touchscreen display.

The Toyota Yaris iA is an exception and uses MazdaConnect infotainment system (based on the Mazda2). Another exception is Toyota Prius Prime that has a 7-inch display as standard, but also offers a portrait-style 11.6-inch touchscreen as an optional upgrade on some trim levels.

Smartphone Integration: Many newer Toyota models are available with Entune 3.0 – an updated version of infotainment system that introduces a wider feature-set comprising Bluetooth, AM/FM and USB and auxiliary inputs. Some upgraded models have added more features such as Scout GPS navigation through a connected smartphone, and satellite radio. With Entune app on your connected smartphone, you can gain access to apps such as NPR One, Pandora, and Slacker. No Toyota vehicle supports Android Auto, and the Corolla hatchback with an 8-inch touchscreen as standard is the first and only model to facilitate Apple CarPlay support.    

Sound and Music: Who doesn’t love the deep vibrations and amazing clarity of sound while cruising through the open road? Toyota adds more to this experience by introducing JBL sound quality in all of its vehicles; Camry features a revolutionary Clari-Fi music restoration technology, with 8-speaker set and 800W amplified power, whereas Tundra has a massive 12-speaker set with 8-channel DSP AMP and 440W amplified power. The Land Cruiser integrates exceptional off-road prowess and delivers engaging sound to occupants, through its amazing JBL Synthesis 7.1 Surround sound, 14-speakers set, 605W amplified power and 11-channel DSP AMP technology.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The Scout GPS Link is an improved version of the previous one, introducing helpful features such as by-the-turn directions and local searches. By upgrading to Entune 3.0 Premium Audio system, you can get access to additional features such as Dynamic Navigation and Remote Connect, so you don’t have to worry when you are on to exploring every nook and cranny of the destination city. What’s more, you’ll also enjoy having access to Sirius XM, Siri Eyes Free, The Weather/Traffic Suit, and an advanced voice recognition feature.  

 

Volkswagen

Control Method: Volkswagen has attempted not to fall behind its counterparts in the infotainment realm through the introduction of touch-screen system as standard in all new models. The newer 8 and 6.5-inch displays are crisp, bright and effortless to use whilst driving, with fast response time. Especially the 8-inch display is quite easy to view and serves its purpose of making navigation easier well. In models with Digital Cockpit (E-Golf, 2019 Jetta and Golf R), you have the freedom to completely avoid the infotainment screen, and move to a full-colour digital cluster to gain useful information right in your sightline.

Smartphone Integration: The models with 6.5-inch touchscreen provide Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support, along with Bluetooth, USB and Auxiliary connectivity. The 8-inch version adds a satellite radio and CD Player, and there is an optional upgraded version providing built-in navigation. Using Car-Net App-Connect which is available on select models, you can access certain smartphone apps right from the dashboard, such as messaging, music, maps and more.

Sound and Music: Volkswagen has teamed up with Fender in select vehicles to enhance drivers’ road trip music experience. The Beetle models have the Fender Premium Audio system that consists of 400 watt of power and 9 speakers, which delivers uncompromised clarity at high or low volumes, detailed mid-range tones, and a powerful bass response – the perfect recipe to create raw emotions of a live performance. The front dual-voice coil speakers cut through the noise or other distractions, providing you with excellent sound quality.

Maps and GPS Functionality:  The Car-Net system has an integrated satellite navigation functionality that will make it easy for you to get around. The mapping system will give you live weather and traffic updates, closest gas station alerts, sports scores, and much more. SiriusXM is also available with a 3-month trial to provide drivers with effortless entertainment experience.

 

Volvo

Control Method: Sensus touchscreen infotainment system, which is a standard on all new Volvo models, features a 9-inch portrait-style touchscreen stationed on the dashboard. The platform is intuitive and gives all basic functions on the home screen for drivers’ convenience. An optional head-up display and voice control enables you to keep your eyes on the road. The overall design is clutter-free, with an easy-to-use and intuitive interface. Most vehicle functions such as car settings, climate control etc. can be controlled through Sensus.

Smartphone Integration: Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard features across the XC90 lineup. Other standard features include Aux input, Bluetooth phone and audio, USB and voice command; 4G LTE and mobile wi-fi are optional.

Sound and Music: Each Volvo vehicle has a state-of-the-art audio system that delivers the finest quality of sound. The Sensus Connect System on the 2018 XC60 features a premium sound system by Bowers and Wilkins comprising 15 separate loudspeakers, 1400W output and a 10-channel amplifier, which means you are sure to have an immersive sound quality while listening to your favourite music on the go.

Maps and GPS Functionality: The Sensus Navigation feature can be operated using the steering wheel or voice controls, with road directions shown conveniently on the large touchscreen. With in-car apps that come as part of Navigation suite, you can share your location with family and friends, locate the best parking spot, find a coffee place in the city, and send the destination from your phone to your car (using Volvo On Call app). Additional benefits include real-time traffic information, free map updates and an ability to synch meeting destination from the personal calendar with the navigation.