In the not-too-distant past, buying a new car meant that you were able not only to flaunt the latest styling for a few years but also to relish the latest-and-best set of technology and entertainment features.
Today it’s all on a much shorter timer, as vehicle dashes are far more influenced by the pace of the personal electronics sector than they ever were in the past; and the 18-month lifecycle for a smartphone doesn’t always match up so well with the 12- or 15-year lifecycle of a vehicle. Automakers haven’t been very generous on upgradability, either; far too often in recent model years, if you bought the wrong model year (or in some cases, the wrong build date within a model year), you were simply out of luck.
So it’s heartening that Hyundai is offering some do-it-yourself upgrades for the infotainment and navigation systems in several of their recent models, some going back to the 2015 model year.
The upgrades bring full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity with existing hardware, and they apply to select 2015-2016 Hyundai Sonata, 2015-2016 Hyundai Genesis, 2016 Hyundai Tucson, and 2016 Hyundai Elantra GT models, plus 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe models that have already been delivered.
Both of these systems let you use core apps from your phone, yet with the vehicle’s touch screen (with larger font sizes), the microphone, and sometimes its steering-wheel toggles. Meanwhile the phone itself is locked while in this mode, helping you to resist the urge to pick it up.
To upgrade the software, owners will need to visit MyHyundai.com, input their vehicle identification number (VIN), and provide a USB memory stick or the SD card from their navigation system. Installation guides are posted there, and further video instructions can be found on the Hyundai USA YouTube channel.
CarPlay works with iPhone 5 and newer models, and requires iOs 7.1 or newer plus a Lightning connector. Android Auto requires the 5.0 operating system, a companion app, and a micro USB cable.
Depending on which system you have, the total time for the upgrade is either 15-30 minutes or 1-3 hours. Or dealers can perform the upgrade for a labor fee.
Consult the graphic below for a summary of what's available now. Own a different late-model Hyundai? CarPlay and Android Auto announcements are on the way for the Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-In Hybrid, Veloster, and Azera, according to the automaker.