2012 Los Angeles Auto ShowJust the Facts:
- Chevrolet introduces two new MyLink systems. One is on the high end of functionality and comes in the 2014 Impala, while the other is on the lower end in the Spark and Sonic.
- The Impala's next-generation MyLink features enhanced customization and natural speech recognition.
- The Spark and Sonic's MyLink Radio can integrate with iPhone's Siri.
LOS ANGELES — Chevrolet introduced two new versions of its MyLink electronics at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. Though the two MyLink systems share a common name, they are different from the current MyLink systems found in several current Chevrolet and Buick models, known as Intellilink.
One version of the next-generation MyLink system will be offered in the 2014 Chevrolet Impala. It builds off the current MyLink hallmarks of customizable menu screens and enhanced smartphone app connectivity and then adds in additional functionality from Cadillac's CUE system. It introduces some Chevy-specific items as well.
The ability to customize the organization of various menu icons — audio, navigation, phone, Pandora, etc. — is consistent with the previous systems. However, instead of putting them in order as a list in a settings menu, they can be moved by sliding your finger around the touchscreen much as you can on an iPhone. You can also choose which icons get permanently "docked" at the top of the screen.
Customization goes one step further by allowing the driver to choose among four different "themes" that change the icon design, background color and graphics. Not surprisingly, the simpler designs are easier to use.
The final piece of the next-generation MyLink puzzle is the natural voice recognition system. No longer must you remember specific voice commands. Whether you say "play XM channel 151" or just "channel 151," the car will know what you're talking about.
Voice controls play a key part in the second new system known as MyLink Radio. Available on the Spark LT as well as the Sonic LTZ, RS and new EV, this LG-sourced touchscreen system relies heavily on the owner's smartphone. Ideally, said owner will have an iPhone 4S or newer since the system is designed to work with Apple's Siri.
Pressing the steering wheel's voice command button hails the familiar Siri tone that signals the system is ready for a command. Most Siri functions are available, including reading texts and calling up specific music tracks. Basic Siri searches will work, but more complex ones will not. For instance, "what was the score of the Yankees/Blue Jays game?" should elicit a score. However, asking "what are the Yankees" will not instigate the sort of search you'd get if you were actually holding the phone.
This system also allows for navigation functionality through an app called Bring Go. This app downloads all map data to your phone, therefore eliminating the need for a smartphone navigation program like Google Maps to constantly download map data. The goal is to offer the Spark or Sonic buyer a less expensive navigation option with all the added security and enhanced audio functionality factory systems usually bring.
The Sonic and Spark systems are available now, whereas the Impala and its next-generation MyLink will arrive in showrooms next spring.
Edmunds says: GM is quickly improving its onboard infotainment systems on both ends of the cost spectrum. It's a smart move as long as both systems provide equal amounts of usability to the respective buyer.