2015 Hyundai Sonata: Navigating with Android Auto
July 23, 2015
Back in May, Hyundai announced that Android Auto would be offered in the latest navigation system update for the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Our friends at Hyundai helpfully sent us a thumb drive so that we could do the update ourselves in our long-term Sonata.
But it turned out we'd already gotten this update, apparently during a service visit for an airbag light in late December 2014. The dealer never mentioned that detail to us, though. No one on staff had been motivated to poke around for Android Auto either, since most of us have iPhones. I am one of the few editors with an Android phone.
I've started using Android Auto with my Sony Xperia Z3 Compact running the Lollipop 5.0.2 operating system. Although this interface is still in its infancy, I like it a lot so far.
To enable Android Auto for the very first time, you go into the Setup menu and click the Connectivity icon.
Doing so takes you to this screen, though I imagine in the future, there will be an option to choose either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay (which isn't yet available), depending on which type of phone you have active in the car.
I clicked the button at the top right to turn on Android Auto and that brought up this are-you-sure-you-want-do-this screen.
The homepage for Android Auto is familiar if you already use the Google Now "cards" on your phone. Generally, the destination I'm headed to is already in the cards (as in the lead photo of this post), either because I go there frequently or I've just researched it. But if not, it's easy to key in your destination when the car is stopped. I already have "Work" saved as a favorite in my Google Maps profile.
Just like in the Google Maps app on your phone, the Android Auto version gives you multiple route options in most cases.
The graphics are really crisp and colorful. They feel like an upgrade over the standard navigation software in our 2015 Sonata. But the main reason, in my opinion, to use Google Maps via Android Auto is for the traffic rerouting logic. It's more accurate than any factory navigation system (which can't be updated as often or as cheaply).
At the same time, it's nice to have Google Maps running on a large (8-inch), centrally located screen. Sure, I can run it on my phone, but at best, I'll have my phone in a holster suction-cupped to the windshield. This is better.
We've noted before that our Sonata's touchscreen has swipe capability like on a smartphone. This is really important for Android Auto, because most of the hard buttons surrounding the screen become non-functional once it takes over. If you want to zoom in or out on the map, you can pinch-zoom on the map and that brings up the + and - buttons you see here. After a while, they disappear. And just like in the phone version of Google Apps, you hit Resume to go back to guidance mode.
Here's a quick video of the Google Maps navigation system in action as shot by my front passenger. As you'll note, the voice guidance is just the same as it would be on your phone.
As much as I like the Google Maps interface, it's actually Android Auto's other apps that have me excited about this interface. (Indeed, Android Auto is the reason I switched from an iPhone to an Android phone.) I'll cover these other apps in my next couple posts.
Erin Riches, Deputy Editor @ 10,877 miles