For drivers who feel like they spend as much time commuting as they do at their desk – and maybe even more time behind the wheel than at home relaxing – the amenities of the modern connected car have made sitting in the driver’s seat pretty accommodating these days. But not all cabins are created equal, even in an age where connected devices have bridged seemingly all communication gaps and can deliver entertainment content from seemingly anywhere.
And sadly, paying a premium for a luxury interior may not get you a stock infotainment system that’s worth its weight in gold. Even some of the most respected brands in the industry have frustratingly convoluted or ineffective infotainment systems that make accessing content, information or even a GPS system as complicated as fumbling with a road atlas.
The 2017 Subaru Impreza features the latest version of the brand’s Starlink infotainment system, which is actually impressively fast and has a refreshingly intuitive interface. Every other model in the lineup, however, is still stuck with the slow, cartoonish-looking previous-generation dash interface until the new Crosstrek and Outback hit the market at the end of the year.
The outgoing system still requires a smartphone companion app to take advantage of the majority of the system’s multimedia features. This is more than a little strange, given that drivers will already be distracted enough waiting for the lag-prone console to load and pushing non-responsive commands, not to mention having to juggle their smartphone to access “standard” features like satellite radio.
Despite the brand’s reputation for safety, it’s more than a little surprising that they installed a tablet-sized display console with a bevy of convoluted menus for their premier infotainment system. Even more confounding is how unresponsive the otherwise sleek and large display is, forcing drivers to repeatedly take their eyes off the road to assure that they are in fact touching the correct commands. Appearances definitely align with the aesthetic of competing luxury systems, but the lag in functionality can be frustrating and dangerous.
But the Sensus system is actually far from the worst of the luxury batch. In fact, brands like Lexus, often considered the gold standard of clean, luxury design, often feature infotainment consoles that can make drivers long for the days of eight track.
However, just because a car’s infotainment system may be lacking, that doesn’t mean they have to replace the whole vehicle – especially for Volvo and Subaru owners who purchased otherwise excellent machines that lead their class in terms of safety and drivability.
LINK, for instance, allows drivers to bring 2 TB of content – pretty much their entire digital worlds – into the car with them. From there, passengers can use LINK to create a WiFi bubble within the vehicle to share and connect with almost any device or platform to help make the ride more enjoyable. Learn more about all LINK can do to connect any technological gaps hindering your commute.