With infotainment systems playing a larger and larger role in new vehicles, a recent study from Consumer Reports found some interesting data in regards to which types of software owners prefer, which varies greatly by brand. Ford owners, for example, enjoy their factory Sync systems, rating them higher than Android Auto but lower than Apple CarPlay. Lincoln owners, on the other hand, not only rated Sync higher than the industry average in terms of OEM software, but also above Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, it seems.
While CarPlay ranks higher than OEM infotainment systems in most cases, that isn’t the case with Android Auto. Overall, 57 percent of members said they were satisfied with Apple CarPlay versus 50 percent for built-in systems, while Android Auto brought up the rear at 44 percent. The study found that for three out of five owners, CarPlay and Android Auto actually improved the user experience versus the least-satisfying brand systems, though more than 25 percent said they never bother to use either. Regardless, with physical controls absent from many modern vehicles, having a decent infotainment system can make a big difference in the driving experience – which makes GM’s decision to ditch CarPlay and Android Auto in its future EVs seem a bit misguided.
“In many newer models, common tasks that drivers used to accomplish with the simple press of a button or turn of a knob now require navigating through multiple screens, which means more steps, more time, and more attention,” said Kelly Funkhouser, manager for vehicle technology at CR‘s Auto Test Center. “The last thing you want is for your infotainment system to become a source of distraction and frustration that causes you to fuss with your phone or a screen while you’re driving.”