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Connectivity is key in lower segments

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What used to be the prerogative of luxurious German battleships has now trickled down to the lower vehicle segments. Inside every new small or compact car on show in Frankfurt during the IAA the eye is drawn to a tablet or even iPhone-like interface which mirrors your smartphone apps via Apple Carplay, Android Auto or MirrorLink.

Simply impressive is the system aboard the new VW Polo. Never before did a car in this segment offer such an advanced interface, featuring capacitive technology to facilitate operation. Wi-Fi hotspot, integrated and mirrored apps, connected services: this pocket-sized Golf raises the bar above the competition. In case you were wondering: indeed, the same system can be found in the T-Roc and – more or less – its Spanish cousin Seat Arona.

At the Citroën stand, all the spotlights are on the C3 Aircross, which on top of its practical perks features an intuitive 7-inch touch screen. The optional TomTom Traffic provides real-time traffic info, weather reports and local POI search, while Connected Box is the brand’s name for an assistance platform which reaches out to you when your car breaks down or when you have an accident. Such an e-call system becomes mandatory for new cars in the EU next year.

Hyundai equally stresses the connectivity factor of its brand-new B-segment SUV, the Kona. The optional 8-inch touch screen integrates all navigation, media and connectivity elements. Moreover, the system comes with 7 years of free updates to the TomTom Live services. The Kona also introduces Display Audio, which allows passengers to project their smartphone content onto the car’s standard 7-inch display.

As smartphones are becoming an integral part of the vehicle’s ecosystem, and navigation apps being mirrored onto the car’s display, one might expect the OEM navigation system is on its way out. The only reason for customers to pay extra for a factory-fitted device would be true added value which cannot be found in the app store.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 11:15Dieter QuartierCar ManufacturersEurope
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