2017 Audi A4. As a member of the Volkswagen Group, Audi is likewise looking to offer more cars with Android Auto, and the all-new 2017 Audi A4 is leading the way. In fact, it takes a leading-edge approach to technology in a lot of different areas. Audi smartphone integration, also supporting Apple CarPlay, is standard with the car’s new infotainment system, and that setup serves up 4G LTE connectivity, too, along with 7- and 8.3-inch MMI screens and an optional “all-in-touch” haptic control interface. There’s also more audio bang for your buck, courtesy of a Bang & Olufsen sound system with 19 speakers, 755 watts of power and a 16-channel Class D amp. But the coolest tech cues are available with the Audi “virtual cockpit” instrument display, complete with a 12.3-inch screen that’s powered by NVIDIA quad-core processing and provides both Google Map data and typical vehicle-system info.
2016 Chevrolet Malibu. The Bowtie brand continues to bring new technologies to the mainstream with the 2016 Chevrolet Malibu, which is just one of the current Chevy cars with Android Auto among its multimedia resources. And though it’s not standard on the entry model, it is part of the package with the Malibu LS that starts at a mere $23,120. At that price point, the car’s MyLink infotainment system features not just the Android tech, but also Apple CarPlay, a 7-inch capacitive touchscreen, a rearview camera, and Bluetooth for both hands-free calling and audio streaming; OnStar’s mobile Wi-Fi hotspot and 4G LTE connectivity is standard on all Malibus, while the more premium editions offer an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, wireless phone chargers and rear-seat USB ports. Customers also should remember that the 2016 Malibu represents an all-new generation for the popular midsize sedan, showcasing larger dimensions, lower curb weights and a standard turbocharged engine.
2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Because the technology is still relatively new—and because some brands don’t want third parties to access their data—there are surprisingly few luxury cars with Android Auto. However, that is beginning to change, thanks to premium sedans like the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Touting top technologies across the board, the new E-Class is especially impressive in the cabin, where an available dual-screen display, comprising two adjacent 12.3-inch screens that share the same glass cover, delivers virtual instrumentation and infotainment resources while also serving as a decidedly futuristic design element—which can be further fine-tuned with three driver-selectable themes. Naturally, those just-mentioned infotainment features include smartphone integration and Mercedes’ COMAND Online services, as well as some serious sound technologies: The “Frontbass” system uses spaces in the body structure of the car to act as resonance chambers, boosting the bass considerably, and the optional Burmeister setup brings 3D surround sound backed by four roof speakers.
2017 Mitsubishi Mirage. Pricing has yet to be set for the 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage, but it will certainly be among the least expensive cars with Android Auto when it goes on sale this spring. After all, the current Mirage opens at just $12,995, although that is for the 2015 model—Mitsubishi skipped the 2016 model year for the car, perhaps spending the time in developing the many upgrades offered for the 2017 version. But drivers will reap the rewards whatever the reason, since the Mirage not only supplies smartphone integration, but also an available Rockford-Fosgate audio system with EcoPunch technology for high-efficiency hi-fi sound. Mitsubishi designers also freshened the car’s appearance, restyling the hood, grille, bumpers, wheels, lights and more, with engineers pitching in with suspension and braking tuneups for a more refined driving experience. There’s even a small uptick in output, to 78 horsepower (with an unchanged 74 lb.-ft. of torque).
2016 Volkswagen Beetle. VW is another brand that’s going all-in with smartphone integration, betting on its popularity by supplying it throughout the lineup, even on the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle. But be aware that VW entries like the Bug go beyond most cars with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay to also deliver MirrorLink compatibility, from a leading third-party connectivity company that’s particularly prominent on the global scene. The Beetle additionally boasts a relatively affordable MSRP: In its 1.8T SE trim, the Beetle bundles smartphone integration, a 6.33-inch touchscreen, a rear-vision camera, and VW’s Car-Net App-Connect service for $21,350. A final Bug bonus is found in the convertible models, as those cars combine the same technologies with the inimitable excitement of an open-air driving experience—and an available sound system that bolsters 400 watts of power with all of the audio expertise you’d expect from the great ears behind Fender guitars.
Cars with Android Auto may not get the same kind of buzz as those with Apple CarPlay, yet they both provide much the same sort of advanced smartphone integration that, essentially, puts owners’ homescreens front and center on the vehicles’ infotainment displays. It’s a simple, affordable way to go online while on the road, allowing owners to access the wide range of apps and service they’re used to using in their daily lives. The range of vehicles offering the service is narrower, however, although the pioneers presented here will no doubt be joined by more entries as time goes on.