Every Apple CarPlay and Android Auto car for 2016
Each year, automakers bring out their latest vehicles to the Los Angeles Auto Show (LAAS), one of the biggest platforms to introduce cars for the next model year. Los Angeles kicks off the auto show season that lasts through the spring. There was a common theme among new vehicle announcements this year: plenty of driver assist technologies and smartphone integration technologies.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are the new must-have features for the 2017 model year vehicles, so I scoured the show floor and sat through press conferences to find the latest cars that are completely new – or underwent a mid-cycle refresh – to introduce CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. Below are the new-for-2017 vehicles separated by segment: premium brands, trucks, SUVs and cars.
Buick took to the stage and introduced the all-new Lacrosse, sporting a sharp new design that borrows styling elements from the Avenir concept. Inside, the 2017 Lacrosse features Buick's IntelliLink infotainment system that supports CarPlay and Android Auto. A frameless, 8-inch touchscreen display runs the show.
OnStar 4G LTE brings Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities to the Buick, too. There's even an integrated Qi wireless charger in the car. Sadly, that becomes worthless if you plan on taking advantage of CarPlay or Android Auto, as those features require wired connections.
There's plenty of driver assist technologies available on the new Lacrosse, too, including front pedestrian braking, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, automatic park assist for perpendicular and parallel parking, forward collision alert, back-up camera and GM's safety alert seat. A head-up display rounds out the driver assist technologies suite in the 2017 Buick Lacrosse.
Cadillac debuted its replacement for the aged SRX crossover with a completely new vehicle that uses the company's new nomenclature, the XT5. The new XT5 features Cadillac's CUE infotainment system with CarPlay and Android Auto support.
Unfortunately, the rest of the interior consists of gloss black accents and capacitive touch buttons. The buttons feature haptic feedback but lack the tactile feel of regular buttons and knobs.
The coolest tech feature of the XT5 is the Rear Camera Mirror system that combines a conventional rear view mirror with a video stream that provides a rear view equivalent to a convertible with its top down. Cadillac's Rear Camera Mirror system is made possible with a 1,280 x 240-resolution display that sports a respectable 171ppi and a rear mounted HD camera.
Those that want a traditional auto-dimming rear mirror can turn the video function off via toggle switch. Expect the usual suite of Cadillac driver assists, including head-up display, blind-spot monitor, lane departure warning, pedestrian mitigation technology and 360-degree camera system, too.
GMC Sierra Denali Ultimate
GMC expanded its truck lineup in LA with the new Sierra Denali Ultimate and Canyon Denali trim levels. The Sierra Denali Ultimate is the penultimate luxury pickup truck that dials up the amount of chrome and lavishness with its large, in-your-face grille, standard lane keep assist system, trailer brake controller, active noise cancellation and, of course, IntelliLink navigation with CarPlay and Android Auto support.
There's even a device hub with four USB ports to connect and charge all of your gadgets, standard Qi wireless charging and OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot to get work done on your laptop.
GMC Canyon Denali
Scaling things down to 75-percent size is the GMC Canyon Denali (pictured above). It receives the Denali treatment with plenty of chrome and higher quality interior materials than lesser trim levels. GMC IntelliLink with navigation, CarPlay and Android Auto is standard on the range-topping Canyon.
The driver assist technologies are limited to passive systems, with forward collision alert and lane departure warning as standard features. Three USB charging ports are available: one in the center console and two in the back of the console, in addition to a USB data port for the infotainment system.
Kia used the LAAS to officially debut the all-new Sportage for North America. The Sportage supports Android Auto right away, but CarPlay support comes after launch, which is similar to the recently launched Optima and 2015 Hyundai Sonata, unfortunately.
Sportage EX features a standard 7-inch display while stepping up to the SX upgrades the screen to 8 inches and adds factory navigation capabilities.
Driver assist technologies available on the Sportage include autonomous emergency braking, lane departure warning, blind spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert and adaptive headlamps. Adaptive cruise control isn't available, unfortunately.
Honda Civic Coupe
Honda rolled out the all-new Civic Coupe to join its recently unveiled sedan in LA. Topping the smartphone connectivity suite is CarPlay and Android Auto support on models with the Display Audio, 7-inch capacitive touch display.
The Android-based infotainment system supports audio streaming from Pandora, too. There's an optional Honda Satellite-Linked Navigation system powered by Garmin for higher trim levels as well.
The new Civic Coupe offers a nice suite of driver assist technologies dubbed Honda Sensing. Driver assists available through the Civic Coupe's Honda Sensing include lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control with low-speed follow and Honda LaneWatch.
Hyundai used its opportunity at the LAAS to reveal the North American 2017 Elantra compact sedan. The new Elantra goes toe-to-toe with Honda's latest Civic, and focuses on infotainment and driver assist technology.
Android Auto connectivity is available with the 7- and 8-inch touchscreen infotainment systems, but CarPlay isn't mentioned at all. Nevertheless, this could become a late addition, as the 2017 Kia Sportage uses the same infotainment hardware and promises CarPlay at a later date.
Driver assist technology options for the new Elantra include adaptive cruise control, adaptive lighting, lane keep assist, blind spot detection and rear cross traffic alert. Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system is available on the new Elantra, too, which lets owners control some car functions via either a smartphone or wearable app.
Volkswagen Beetle Dune
Volkswagen (VW) used LAAS to unveil the production of its 2016 Beetle Dune trim, which is essentially a lifted new Beetle inspired by the old Baja Beetles. The Beetle Dune features the VW MIB II infotainment system, with its 6.3-inch capacitive touchscreen and gesture controls.
VW goes beyond the standard CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and adds MirrorLink, too, for all two phones that are available with the technology. We're not sure why MirrorLink is included, as modern phones that support MirrorLink are usually Android-based and support Android Auto.
On the budget side of things is the refreshed 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage, one of the most affordable cars you can buy with CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. The new, smartphone-linked Display Audio infotainment system debuts as standard equipment on SE and GT trim levels.
Other than CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, the Mirage doesn't have much going for it in terms of technology or driver assist technologies. It's the definition of basic transportation, although higher-end trim levels do get flashier LED tail lights.
Mitsubishi did not reveal pricing details on the 2017 Mirage, though it mentioned that pricing remains similar to the outgoing 2015 model, which tops out at $17,105 (£11,999, AU$17,240) with optional navigation.
Putting a bow on LAAS
The 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show is only the start of the auto show season, but it provides an early glimpse of what to expect from automakers. The focus for new vehicles is in smartphone connectivity and driver assist technologies. CarPlay and Android Auto are showing up in completely new and refreshed cars. There was a staggering total of nine new vehicle announcements with either CarPlay or Android Auto.
Driver assist technologies are trickling down to compact vehicles, as Honda and Hyundai debuted new cars with adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist systems. These features were once only available for those willing to pay a lot of money over a decade ago, but soon you can have them in your daily commuter.
Despite all of the technology in these vehicles, my favorite LAAS debut was the Alfa Romeo Giulia. It doesn't support CarPlay or Android Auto, but this speedster driver assist technologies such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
However, the Giulia isn't about technology, it's about performance. From the glorious-sounding, Ferrari-derived 2.9-liter twin turbo V6 that drives the rear wheels mated to a 6-speed manual transmission, all topped with gorgeous Italian design – that does it for me. The best part: this marks the return of Alfa Romeo to America in a more practical vehicle, albeit with 505 horsepower.
Stay tuned for when I get to test some of these cars out in the coming year – though probably, sadly (oh god, why?) not the Giulia.