The first vehicle on the road with Android Auto built in is the 2015 Hyundai Sonata. Fresh off the lot, we have a 2015 Hyundai Sonata Sport here that we've been driving for about a week now, and testing out Android Auto. More importantly, seeing the differences between having Android Auto built into the car, and having an after-market unit from Pioneer or Kenwood. Hyundai announced back in May that all 2015 Hyundai Sonata's that get the tech package will come with Android Auto, with Apple's CarPlay coming next year.
This is the first car on the road with Android Auto, so what's it like to drive the car? Pretty sweet actually. We did a nice collaboration with our buddy Kevin the Tech Ninja for our video review of this car, which you can check out below.
Hyundai's infotainment system is front-and-center here, as it should be. That's a big selling point for any car maker. Hyundai has integrated Android Auto into their system, so that you don't always have to use Android Auto, but you can also use their own. Their maps and navigation is quite good as well. I did try that out a few times this week to see how comparable it was to Google Maps. It even showed traffic, although it was a bit slow to show the traffic unfortunately. One thing that Hyundai's maps had that Google Maps didn't though, is showing the speed limit. Which is very helpful in areas you've never driven in before.
Onto the part you care about, Android Auto. Hyundai has a 5-inch display here, that is actually really great. I've been using the Pioneer AVH-4100NEX in my car for a few months, and the display Hyundai has chosen to use is way better. Not only does it look better, but it's easier to press, and takes less force. Hyundai has made Android Auto pretty fast. Just plug it in, then select Android Auto on the screen and you're good to go. Takes about 5-10 seconds. On my Pioneer unit, it can take longer, depending on the device.
Otherwise, Android Auto is basically the same. As you may remember, car makers cannot skin Android Auto at all. So you're going to get the same experience, basically, on every car. Which is a great thing. The button all the way on the right side, they can skin a bit though. They can add options for roadside assistance and stuff like that. Hyundai just has a link back to "My Hyundai", which is sufficient enough, I think. The left button is for Google Maps, which will use the car's GPS instead of your phone. The after-market units will use your phone's GPS, thus making it hot and using more battery. Then you have the phone, where you can make phone calls, answer voicemails and more. There's also your music section, where you can have any of a number of apps installed and usable on Android Auto. Including Spotify, Google Play Music, Pocket Casts, Stitcher, and much more.
With Android Auto you can also reply to texts that come in. When the notification comes in on the screen, just tap on it, and the car will read you the message. To reply, hit the voice button and say reply, and just follow the voice prompts to send the message. It actually works pretty seamlessly. Although, you need to make sure that when you connect your phone to the car via Bluetooth, that you give it access to your contacts as well.
Hyundai has steering wheel controls here for Android Auto, as well as a few other things. So you can easily adjust the volume, skip or go back to a previous song, answer or end calls as well as do voice commands. So if you press and hold the voice button you can give it a place to go, or reply to a text message.
In the console there are plenty of controls. We have all kinds of options here including the radio, Sirius XM, and going back to media. So you can actually just hook up your phone via Bluetooth to play music. But of course, we want the whole Android Auto experience. The controls are nicely spaced out and are also nicely labeled, so you know what everything does.
The not so technical, review of the actual car
As most of you know, I don't review cars for a living. I review Android devices, like Android Auto. So we won't be getting super technical here with the car, talking horsepower and all of that. But just how it drove, how it handled, etc., during my time with the car.
They Hyundai Sonata Sport with the tech package – that is needed for Android Auto – will cost you about $27,560 out the door. And according to Hyundai, the Sonata Sport is supposed to get about 24 MPG in the city and 35 MPG on the highway. On the car in the instrument panel, it actually shows you what MPG you're driving at, it was usually around 26-28 for me. As I drive on a mixture of highways and city streets.
Driving the Sonata Sport was really nice. It handled nicely, and didn't have any issues when people decided to cut me off. There are a few pretty cool features in the Sonata Sport that I really liked (of course this is coming from someone driving a car from 2009 every day). Those include the lane-assist. So there's a light that pops up in your side mirrors to tell you that there is a car in your blind spot. And if you turn on your blinker while someone is in the blind spot, there's a much louder noise that comes out to let you know. Definitely a nice addition, and should keep more people from getting into accidents.
This car does have BlueLink technology, I didn't get a chance to use it as the car was registered to someone else (likely the one that had the loaner ahead of me), so I just kept to using Android Auto. But with BlueLink, you can do some awesome things like starting your car from your Android Wear watch. I think it's a pretty big deal that they have Wear support, can't wait to see what the other car makers do with Wear.
The seats inside the Hyundai Sonata Sport are very, very comfortable. I could definitely sit in there all day and drive across the country without any issues. They're made of leather, and it's not the cheap leather either. I'm pretty impressed with how nice looking and feeling the inside of this car feels, actually. You can see lots of pictures of inside the car in the gallery down below.
I definitely wouldn't hesitate to recommend this car to anyone. It's a great mid-size car with some technology, but not too much. Being the first with Android Auto is a huge milestone though for Hyundai and is definitely going to get them on the map.