There’s a new competition emerging amidst new car manufacturers, and it’s not the traditional titles like Best New Car or Best SUV of 2015. Car companies are vying to be the reigning champions of the gadget world, with the basis planted to the right of the steering wheel in most new cars. We’re talking about the electronic addition to cars that has been dubbed, the infotainment system.
Each manufacturer has a different name for their system, but they all function on the same level. They serve as the way for a driver to access their phone, control the stereo system, and utilize the GPS. Whether they are presented in a fancy package with all the bells and whistles or if they feature a simple design and function, these systems are taking over the new car market.
Making an informed decision is important when selecting any additional features for your vehicle, so what are the best infotainment systems on the market?
- GM Systems – Each GM Brand’s Infotainment System has a different name, but they all feature mostly the same functions, and this is known as one of the most user friendly systems out there. Chevrolet’s system offers not only hands-free, but eyes-free options for IPhone users, using Siri. The GM infotainment system also allows for hands-free navigation control, radio set up and management, and access to all cell phone contacts. Within all GM models, the infotainment system offers a safe alternative to traditional phone usage. It offers almost completely hands-free and voice controlled use, so drivers don’t have to take their eyes off the road. Safety and convenience all at the touch of a button. While the GM systems all differ slightly, some offering different designs and different functions, they all seem to function on a quite user-friendly level.
- Kia – Kia’s UVO System is making waves in the competition, as Kia is one of the more affordable cars that seems to have maxed out on technology. UVO offers the ability to synch your system with an app on your cell phone that allows you to save the GPS coordinates of your parking location, perform diagnostics and schedule service appointments, and save your favorite destinations. For a budget-friendly car, the infotainment system is doing battle with the more expensive systems of its kind and holding its own. This system offers all the convenience of the pricier systems with a great little price tag and no subscription fees.
- Ford – This system is getting mixed reviews for function, but it is garnering raves for its ease of use. Ford’s SYNC 3 technology, the newest in a long line of Ford infotainment systems, has gone almost entirely voice-controlled. SYNC3 promises a less buggy system, as they drop the Microsoft connection and go with a completely different operating system that they claim is much more streamlined. With SYNC, drivers are able to send audible text messages, thus completely allowing for safe driving. Newer cars are also offering Wi-Fi enabled systems that allow for internet access for convenience.
- Honda – Honda may be one of the most popular cars on the market, but their infotainment system has been somewhat lacking in comparison with the bells and whistles of the other systems. In new versions of their system, Honda will be integrating NVIDIA graphics and a color touch screen into their infotainment. What it lacks in exciting design, it makes up for with function and ease of use. The system works remarkably well with very few bugs and an easy synching ability. Honda infotainment also offers the ability to synch more than one phone to each system. If a driver opts for higher trim levels, the infotainment upgrades as well.
- BMW – BMW’s Infotainment system is coming in at the top of many lists, as it is nearly a perfect system that doesn’t require drivers to take their eyes off the road at all to operate it. It can also be used with one hand, and in most model the system is voice activated. Perfectly positioned for glare-free viewing, the iDrive system is part of what drivers have come to expect from BMW, high quality and user-friendly service and function. iDrive has a slightly different design than others of its kind, as it uses a small knob to access its menu, which is conveniently positioned to the right of the gear shift.
No matter what you’re looking for in an infotainment system, most car brands are going to have the features all drivers require. What are the key items you find necessary when considering the purchase of a new car that has an infotainment system?