2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS: Bitchin' iPod Interface
September 10, 2009
Our 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS has one of the best iPod interfaces going.
I'm not saying that because you can connect your iPod to a simple USB port in the center console with the standard white iPod cord you use to synch-up with your computer.
And I'm not just saying that because you get full menu control, with podcasts and audiobooks broken out in their own top-level menu categories alongside song, artist, album, etc.
Neither am I saying that because you get easy access to all of that with the above standard display instead of having to fork over major bank for a navigation system and a touch screen.
These things are indeed true, but the real reason I am giddy about this interface is that GM has also provided an elegant solution to one of the most vexing in-car iPod control problems that I encounter on a daily basis.
Say you want to listen to a particular song or artist, and that song or artist's name begins with the letter U, such as U2's Unforgettable Fire. Furthermore, you own an 80Gb iPod with some 2,000 songs by 500 artists.
In many cars it's a tedious process to work your way up through the alphabet to the letter U. Our Honda Insight, for instance, shows 5 songs at a time on its navigation screen, but you can only page up in increments of 5 songs at a time, and you must "press" a touch screen button for each of those 5-song jumps. It...takes...forever.
The Ford Flex's touch screen is a little better because it allows you approach the problem library style: You can select from A-F, G-K, L-Q or R-Z (or letters to that effect). That's a bit better, but these sub-groups can still represent hundreds of songs for those with large song libraries. [I'm intentionally ignoring voice commands because they are unreliable.]
Things are all better in the Camaro SS, though at first it seems like a case of "Here we go again." Twirl the Menu/Select knob at your usual speed and the interface will sift through the menu at a song-by-song pace.
But when you twist said knob with more vigor or if you perform a quick left-right-left flick the software jumps into something called "Alpha Acceleration" mode and each detent begins to represent a letter of the alphabet. All of a sudden you can scroll quickly from A-songs to the U-songs in (pardon the upcoming pun) record time.
Back off your twirling speed for a sec and song title scrolling drops back into song-at-a-time mode.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 3,543 miles