2007 Dodge Charger SRT8: Exploring Android Auto (With Video)
by Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor on December 28, 2015
With Android Auto finally working in our 2007 Dodge Charger SRT8, I was eager to pair it with my Nexus 6P and use it as my primary infotainment system for a few days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it works just as fluidly as its Apple CarPlay counterpoint, but also has the advantage of Google's suite of products like Maps and Search.
So it's better.
Below is a video of how it works, similar to how we explored CarPlay.
Using either Auto or CarPlay feels immediately more intuitive than any infotainment system (especially that of our Pioneer head unit), because we spend more time using our phones. You don't have to learn a new interface with these systems.
Once Auto boots up, it presents you with a home screen that displays Google Now cards. The cards prompt you with navigation directions you might be interested in, upcoming reminders, or notifications of missed phone calls or text messages, for example. Weirdly, you can't swipe left to dismiss cards like you can on the phone. I'm looking forward to test Auto on other cars to see if this trait is specific to our Pioneer head unit.
Of course, the big draw over CarPlay is Google Maps. Use the voice search to find a restaurant and it gives you the directions, as well as the restaurant's phone number and hours of operation. My only disappointment is the off-blue color palette, which can be hard to read at a glance. I wish it retained the same color as Google Maps on the computer or on my phone. Alas, I couldn't find a way to change it.
Voice recognition works well too. You have full access to Google Search, so you can ask it to perform math or find out the release date of an upcoming movie. The system also reads out text messages and you can dictate replies, though the obnoxiously loud aftermarket exhaust on our car drowns out the interior at freeway speeds, making voice commands near impossible.
Also, we're still unsure of how well it pronounces "Smiling pile of poo." Further testing is required.
Carlos Lago, Road Test Editor