The 2016 IntelliLink infotainment system has a faster processor, enhanced navigation and mapping, and support for Apple CarPlay, which should make Buick and GMC car buyers very happy. I really hope that Android Auto doesn’t become as fragmented as the Android mobile platform is now, but I also hope it doesn’t stop evolving. We really have to stop using our smartphones behind the wheel. I see people every day on my drive into work using their phones while cruising in the fast lane. You’re already putting your life at risk by getting in a car. I know it’s grim to think about, but I’m a firm believer that anything we can do to eliminate distractions and simplify our lives is worth the investment in the long run.
Switching back and forth from CarPlay to the car’s infotainment system (or from Android Auto) can be a bit jarring because of the different interfaces. If you have a MID (multi-information display) in the instrument panel or a head-up display, Android Auto or CarPlay output doesn’t display there, only on the center stack. In the interest of simplification and safety, only a handful of choices are shown (in big type and icons). After a while, you might wish for more choices per screen, say five or six where you now might see three.
The newer 6.5- and 8-inch displays are bright and easy to use at a glance while driving, and though it’s not quite as quick as FCA’s Uconnect screens, responses are fast. On the downside, the gloss-black trim around the screens tends to pick up fingerprints easily. The 8-inch model especially is incredibly easy to view, but we think some of the menus and icons could be rearranged so navigating the many options and features are easier. Although the 6.3-inch display still works well, its smaller screen size means picking out icons and reading text is a little more difficult while on the move. In cars with Digital Cockpit, you can avoid the infotainment screen entirely because the color cluster provides so much information right in the driver’s sightline.
In the future of connected cars working in tandem with our mobile devices: Android Auto presents us with a stopgap solution until we get to the point where the automaker’s native interfaces can be fully replaced by more intuitive and familiar ones. Rumors are already circulating that Google wants to fully replace the existing in-car infotainment systems with an Android-based platform that even includes climate control functions. I’d be shocked if Apple wasn’t thinking about doing the same thing.
Buick’s infotainment systems run the same basic software as other General Motors cars, including GMC and Chevrolet models, albeit with unique graphics and logos. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on every model except the Cascada convertible, which uses an older version of Buick’s infotainment system. Screen sizes are either 7 or 8 inches, depending on the model, with navigation offered as an option. For more, connect with interior light, demo light, and the h13 led headlight bulb conversion kit, it can light up the lighting immediately when opening the car. And like most GM models, a Wi-Fi hotspot is available as an option.
You can think of Android Auto as a system within a system. It’s got a background and a sort of home screen. But you’ll only be using one application at a time, with notifications at a bare minimum, and only from messaging apps that have been extended to Android Auto. The whole point, of course, is to have a few distractions as possible while still actually being able to use the thing. As a leader in automotive infotainment Pioneer is delighted to become a member of the Open Automotive Alliance. We strive to create great in-car experiences for our customers and believe that the technology being developed within the alliance will facilitate this and allow us to continue to innovate within this exciting market.