Top Picks for Car Infotainment Systems: UConnect, Google Built-In, and More

Choosing the best car infotainment system is like picking a favorite smartphone; it’s a matter of personal preference. Sure, you can measure response times and screen loads, but ask a group of people who’ve tried various systems, and you’ll get a range of opinions.

The Overall Winner: UConnect 5 in Stellantis Products

Our unanimous favorite is the UConnect 5, found in various Stellantis products. Why? It’s all about simplicity. UConnect keeps things straightforward with a user-friendly interface that places essential functions at the bottom of the screen. Tapping on icons instantly brings up the corresponding menu, making it easy to navigate without distracting from the primary task—driving. Whether it’s in a Maserati or a Jeep, UConnect impresses with flexibility, ease of use, and a sleek design that doesn’t overwhelm with unnecessary features.

Luxury Pick: Volvo with Google Built-In

For a touch of luxury, Volvo’s infotainment system with Google Built-In stands out. This Google-powered interface seamlessly integrates your favorite apps, offering a familiar experience. Google Maps takes the lead in navigation, providing a cohesive connection between the central touchscreen and the digital instrument cluster. The system’s flexibility allows users to stick with familiar Apple CarPlay or Android Auto if Google isn’t their cup of tea. Volvo’s commitment to a user-friendly layout and smooth performance makes it a top contender in the luxury segment.

Everyday Excellence: Google Built-In in Various GM Products

If you’re not seeking luxury but still want a reliable infotainment system, look no further than Google Built-In in various GM products. Similar to Volvo’s system, it incorporates Google Maps, voice control via Google Assistant, and access to a plethora of apps from the Google Play Store. The intuitive interface, combined with stickied controls on the left side of the screen, makes navigating a breeze. Plus, the presence of hard volume knobs and physical home buttons adds a practical touch to the overall user experience.

Honorable Mentions: Hyundai and Kia’s Connected Car Navigation Cockpit

Hyundai and Kia earn honorable mentions for their Connected Car Navigation Cockpit. Although sharing similarities, each brand maintains a straightforward, quick, and visually uncomplicated approach. The menu structure allows easy selection of apps, and the radio interface is a joy to navigate. While wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto updates are on the horizon, the current plug-in option doesn’t pose a significant inconvenience. However, the peculiar “Sounds of Nature” feature adds a unique touch to the overall experience.

Special Mention: MBUX in Mercedes-Benz

For the tech-savvy, Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX system deserves a nod. While not the easiest to use, its cutting-edge features and visually enticing interface make it stand out. The latest version, with a “one-screen” approach and portrait-oriented displays, improves user experience by offering easy access to frequently used apps. MBUX’s speed, on-screen haptic feedback, and customization options set it apart, making it a compelling choice for those willing to invest time in learning its intricacies.