LA Auto Show: VW Does Infotainment the Right Way

VW Does Infotainment the Right Way

The 2015 LA Auto Show showcases the best of the auto industry—well, at least according to car companies. Increases in horsepower, better fuel economy, and most importantly—the latest tech—is all on display during the 10-day event in Southern California.

Once of my first missions at the show was to figure out who is putting the most care and thought into in-cabin electronics, mainly the ones that guide us around and play our music, affectionately known as "infotainment."

Android Auto with Google Maps displayed.

Let's get right to it—Volkswagen got it right, and it's because thier options were much more vast than that of other manufacturers. This means that no matter if you have an Android, an iPhone, or even a "dumb" phone with Bluetooth, you can connect.

So what do you get? Well, with their own VW Car-Net system, you have both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with MirrorLink for additional options for Android devices.

While other manufacturers are either slowly integrating some of these services, or just eschewing them altogether for their own systems, Volkswagen is really playing to their customers here, offering this system across their lineup in just about every trim.

Android Auto music app selection.

It took me under a minute to get my Android connected, and I was ready to go—music streaming from Google Play, contacts and messages synced, and apps at the ready.

Apple CarPlay's main screen.

Apple CarPlay is also pretty nice, although you're slightly more limited as to which apps you can use. Basics such as phone, maps, and messages, along with music and podcasts are right up front, with certain third-party apps offering support as well.

MirrorLink simply offers a different interface than Android Auto, and honestly, you'd be hard-pressed to use it over Google's product. It's differentiating factor is the fact that it actually mirrors whatever would display on your phone, although the app choices are quite limited. But hey, it's there, and options are awesome.

Other manufacturers need to take a note here from V-Dub—except for emissions testing, of course. But when talking about connected tech, you'd be hard pressed to find a better solution than the one offered by Volkswagen.

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