2016 Chevrolet Volt: MyLink Android Auto Update
by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on March 31, 2016
When the 2016 Chevrolet Volt was first introduced to the media, its 8-inch MyLink touchscreen audio system was touted as being able to support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. But there was an asterisk: CarPlay would work at launch, but Android Auto fell into the automotive abyss called "late availability."
We later learned this meant the necessary reflash would become available to Chevrolet owners with the supported MyLink touchscreen audio systems in March 2016. March was nearly over when I decided to call our Volt dealer to set up a time to bring it in. But the person I talked to seemed unsure and said something about the update being delayed until April. Funny: I hadn't read any such press release.
Unsatisfied, I called Guaranty Chevrolet, which should have been my first choice because it's barely two miles from my home.
"Sure," they said. "Bring it right in." In 15 minutes, I was doing paperwork with Andrew, the service writer.
Andrew noticed that our car's VIN was flagged for a service update to correct the potential for an engine misfire. We'd never experienced anything of the sort, but the necessary reflash would only add 10 minutes to the process.
I'd been warned that it might take two hours or so, even though everything I'd read suggested it was a 30-minute job. It didn't matter much because I had my laptop and plenty of work to do, and they had WiFi access, a nice waiting room desks and hot coffee.
In the end, it didn't take 30 minutes, but it didn't take 2 hours either. The car was back in the drive dripping from a fresh wash a little more than an hour after I'd cracked open my laptop and attempted to ignore The View on the waiting room TV.
I immediately plugged in my new Galaxy S7, but it didn't seem to work. Turns out the car was prompting the phone to download the necessary Android Auto software and get me to accept some Terms and Conditions. This all had to be done in Park with the brake set.
After five minutes I was in business and on the road, where the system worked beautifully. And I mean that literally because the full-width Google Maps and the audio and phone display graphics looked great.
That's right: Google Maps. This alone puts Android Auto on a plane above Apple CarPlay, which forces you to use the dreaded Apple Maps.
As with CarPlay, pressing and holding the voice control button bypasses the GM voicemail and jumps to Android voice commands, which understand natural language amazingly well.
I'm still figuring it all out, including which apps are supported and which aren't. So far it seems the Android Auto update was well worth the wait. It was also worth the price, which was a warranty job that cost zero, zilch, nada.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,699 miles