Driving the 2018 Hyundai Accent is proof that the idea of basic transportation has evolved. Like its sister vehicle, the 2018 Kia Rio, the 2018 Accent offers Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, two apps that are bringing new features and in-car connectivity to more consumers across a wide range of segments, including entry-level vehicles bought primarily by price-conscious customers.
In addition to the 2018 Hyundai Accent and 2018 Kia Rio, a number of vehicles from other automakers have eschewed built-in navigation systems. Instead, they rely on Android Auto or Apple CarPlay as the center piece of the multimedia experience. Even if this is a cost-cutting measure, it’s one that doesn’t come with much repercussions because you gain access to a wide range of apps including Google Maps, Waze, and Spotify on the car’s main screen by merely having a compatible smartphone.
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are the democratization of features once unavailable to affordable vehicles. Just a few years ago, you’d needed to move up to at least a compact car to get features such as navigation and a USB port. However, now that USB ports are standard in many vehicles, your mobile device can be fully integrated with your vehicle and give you access to features such as navigation and music apps with minimal distraction. You do, however, need to watch your mobile data because using apps within Android Auto and Apple CarPlay does eat into that. Additionally, the map apps become less useful when you lose cell signal, meaning you won’t have be able to use Google Maps, Apple Maps, and Waze in specific areas. That means they can be unusable if you plan on going out on an adventure into the wilderness. Thankfully, Google Maps and Waze allow you to download maps to use offline, which should help alleviate that issue. Keep in mind, however, that you’ll need to re-download the maps on Google Maps after a certain time to keep it updated. The phone and media apps won’t have the same level of functionality because your contact list and media folders can’t be accessed while Android Auto or Apple CarPlay are active, forcing you to guess a person’s phone number and whether or not you have songs from a specific artist.
Expect an increasing number of cars to get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as automakers debut updated versions of their infotainment systems, keeping everyone well connected.
With that said, most new affordable cars such as the 2018 Hyundai Accent can’t really be called basic. Even the base model, the SE trim, comes with Bluetooth and a rearview camera. As you go up the trim levels, the 2018 Accent adds more features including a 7.0-inch touchscreen and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, moving it further away from bare-bones transportation.
The definition of basic transportation has changed as a result of cars becoming more connected to smartphones and other mobile devices. You are no longer forced to put up with a dated user interface because you decided to buy an affordable car. With entries such as the 2018 Accent, getting a more affordable car no longer equals having to live without tech features.
The 2018 Accent joins the Chevrolet Spark, Sonic, Bolt, and Trax in a growing list of vehicles moving to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Unlike the Accent and the Rio, the Bow Tie brand’s subcompact vehicles all offer smartphone integration on all trims, not just the top two or the most expensive ones. Mitsubishi is also following the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay bandwagon with its latest infotainment system that features both apps and a 7.0-inch touchscreen but no onboard navigation system. Like the 2018 Accent, however, the base trims of Mitsubishi’s Mirage, Outlander, and Outlander Sport are not available with any smartphone integration apps. Nissan has also recently discontinued offering a full-featured version of NissanConnect on the 2018 Versa and Versa Note, hinting that it might also switch to Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the future for its entry-level models…