These days, staying connected is a priority for many, and the feature that makes this possible when you’re behind the wheel is your car’s infotainment system. These systems range from excellent to so-so, and in some cases, there’s a significant learning curve as you stumble awkwardly through a sea of unfamiliar menus.
Android Auto makes that awkwardness a thing of the past. This technology is a smartphone-mirroring interface designed to work with phones that use the Android operating system. Android Auto allows you to access your phone’s most useful features when you’re behind the wheel, via your car’s monitor or touch screen. There’s no wrestling with unfamiliar layouts and menus, since the interface is a slightly modified version of the one you’ve used thousands of times before on your cell phone.
Android Auto Benefits
Like Apple CarPlay, Android Auto can simplify your life behind the wheel in key ways. Here are some important benefits:
Affordable, Easy-To-Use Navigation: Voice-activated navigation can be a costly option in some cars. The expenses don’t end once the option has been purchased, since many navigation systems need pricey updates on a regular basis to keep their maps current.
Certain vehicles – even economically priced choices such as the Chevrolet Sonic and Trax – provide Android Auto as standard equipment, providing no-cost access to this technology’s superb navigation capabilities. Best of all, you don’t have to pay for map updates with Android Auto, since this technology used cloud-based maps that are updated on an ongoing basis.
Another Android Auto navigation perk has to do with ease of use. Many factory-installed navigation systems can be clunky to operate. Android Auto offers a pretty seamless navigation experience that gets you from A to B with no hassles or head scratching.
Waze Access: Waze is an app that facilitates crowd-sourced traffic monitoring. If there’s an accident up ahead on the freeway that’s caused a big slowdown, you can use Waze to report the incident and alert other drivers. Millions of users sharing data in this way could change the way you experience traffic on the road. At the Google I/O conference that took place earlier this year, it was announced that Waze would be added to Android Auto’s list of apps.
Safer Operation: If you want to access your phone’s features in your car, it can be tempting to just buy a mount and secure your phone on the dash. However, there are significant benefits to choosing Android Auto over this approach.
Using Android Auto provides you with access to a much larger interface than you’d get if you were working directly with your cell phone. From a safety perspective, navigating the smaller graphics and buttons of your cell phone can be recipe for disaster when you’re behind the wheel. Android Auto allows you to tap the features you need without taking your focus off the road, and this can work quite powerfully to prevent accidents.
Android Auto’s safety benefits add up to more than just a larger interface. This system was purpose built to comply with recognized automobile safety standards. Its list of features has been streamlined to eliminate those that might overwhelm you when you’re driving. Most notably, the system relies heavily on voice commands, which are less distracting than using a keyboard or manual controls.
2017 Models Offering Android Auto
More and more vehicles are offering Android Auto, and the list has grown significantly for the 2017 model year. Android Auto is either standard or optional on the 2017 models listed below:
Encore, Envision, LaCrosse, Regal
ATS, ATS-V, CTS, CTS-V, CT6, Escalade, XTS, XT5
Bolt, Camaro, Colorado, Corvette, Cruze, Impala, Malibu, Silverado, Silverado HD, Sonic, Spark, Suburban, Tahoe, Trax, Volt
Acadia, Canyon, Sierra 1500, Sierra HD, Yukon, Yukon XL
(Note: The 2018 Kia Rio and 2019 Kia K900 offer Android Auto.)
Levante, Ghibli, Quattroporte
B-Class, CLA, CLS, E-Class, GLA, GLE, SLC
Mirage, Mirage G4, Outlander
Beetle, CC, Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan
S90 (late availability), V90 Cross Country, XC90 (late availability)