Android Auto has been out for a few months and available via in-dash receivers, such as Pioneer’s AVIC-8100 NEX head unit. But if you wanted it built-in on your car from the factory, you’ve been out of luck . . . until now.
With its 2015 Sonata, Hyundai has beat other automakers to the finish line as the first company to feature Android Auto on a production car. Android Auto comes as part of Hyundai’s 8-inch touchscreen Navigation system on the Sport, Eco, Limited, Sport 2.0T and Limited 2.0T models (starting at $23,175), but not the $21,150 base SE model.
Hyundai has also said that existing 2015 Sonata owners will be able to upgrade their cars with Android Auto by getting a USB download from dealerships later this summer.
Android Auto is a big deal for potential car buyers, as it provides a familiar interface on their car’s navigation system so they can text, look up points of interest and make hands-free calls using Google’s voice recognition software. It also includes support for many popular media apps, such as Spotify, iHeartRadio and Google Play Music, so the tunes you love on your phone can soothe your ears in the car.
Just remember that you still need to plug in your phone (running Android 5.0 or later) using the car's USB connection. This locks down your phone while driving, and shifts control to the touchscreen in the dashboard.
Other car makers such as Audi, Honda and Chevrolet have pledged support for Android Auto, but won’t be ready to feature it in their cars until later this year. To get a feel for what Android Auto is like to use, check out our test drive of Pioneer’s Android Auto in-dash receiver.
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