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by Rebecca Chaplin, 6 Dec 2015

We rate the best in-car entertainment and sat-nav set-ups on how easy they are to use, including Audi, Ford and Vauxhall systems

In-car entertainment or ‘infotainment’ systems are becoming increasingly important in modern cars, with the latest models offering a vast range of technology, from familiar audio systems through to ‘sat-nav’ navigation aids and smartphone pairing. The infotainment system’s role is to make it simple for owners to get the most from their car’s technological offering, but some are more successful than others.

According to research by BookMyGarage.com, over 70% of British adults don’t know how to use the in-car entertainment set-ups in their cars. With such a large portion of the driving population currently clueless about their cars’ current technology, it could be argued that perhaps most people aren’t interested in what their vehicles have to offer. However, a figure from the same study shows that over 50% of those people actually bought their cars because those same systems were included.

What is the point in people filling their cars with the very latest in navigation, audio and connectivity tech just for it to go unused? Is it the case that they want all of the functionality but can’t use the control system because it’s not intuitive enough? Or is it the case that they simply like the idea when configuring their car, but in real life simply don’t need it?

We teamed up with Alphr.com to test all the main manufacturer fitted systems and see how intuitive they are. We tested the 10 most searched-for car brands, and broke our test down into five sections, rating infotainment systems on their usability, performance, connectivity, sat-nav, and, finally, their cost. Each car got a score out of five for each section of the test - here’s how we did it…

Usability

How quickly can the in-car entertainment system be used? Are the functions simple? How many steps does it take to change a setting? Driver distraction is a key factor in road accidents, with your risk of an accident increased 24-fold with every two seconds looking away from the road, so this is really important.

Performance

Is the interface simple but comprehensive? We tested the colour quality and brightness. As we all know, a slow system can be extremely irritating and distracting, so we tested the car’s internet speed and voice control system.

Connectivity

As most of us now consider our mobile devices to be an extension of ourselves, the option to connect these to the car is vital. We looked at how easy it is to link various phones to each system, also testing whether the device was remembered after being paired. We also tested any onboard apps or systems, such as Mirrorlink.

Satellite navigation

Sat-nav is one of the most used functions in modern cars, so we tested the same route across all the systems, looking for map quality, accuracy and ease of use.

Cost

The bottom line. How much does it all cost? We compared systems and various add-ons to see how far your money goes on each manufacturer’s set-up.

Verdict

There were distinct winners and losers when taking each area of focus into consideration, but all of the infotainment systems we tested scored more than an average of 3 out of 5.

For the winners and losers: Infotainment test: best in-car entertainment systems reviewed | Auto Express
 

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Interesting ford place well, considering the negative rep some forum members give it, some of the comments here would make you believe a clock radio provided more functions and sounded better.
 

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Interesting ford place well, considering the negative rep some forum members give it, some of the comments here would make you believe a clock radio provided more functions and sounded better.
Not a clock radio , just an analog clock in a Bentley Bentayga is a $170,000 option:
Bentley Bentayga Has A $170K Option | car News @ Top Speed

YMMV,

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I do like the MMI a lot and I don't even have the newest one that they tested. I'm hoping the Sync 3 is as easy to use as Audi's system.
 

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I had the best setup in my 84 Civic, sadly my tape deck in my 84 Civic broke this week, now I can't use my phone's tape adapter for music/navigation audio. At least the 84 still has an antenna so I get FM, even though I hate the ads. May look online for one of those CD changer Aux input kits for it and wire it in that way, should improve sound quality over tape deck adapter too.
 

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I can't compare with every system out there, bur have used new system in BMW, Merc, Audi, Porsche, and Cadi. My 2015 ExSport with the full sync nav system was the worst system I have ever used. The touch was terrible and buggy, the system constantly froze and crashed, layout was horrible. A 52k truck shouldnt have a system that looks and feels like it was built in 2001. Just my two cents. Sync isn't a deal breaker for me in the RS because I want the car, but Sync2 is far inferior to most everything else I have tried. Maybe its better then other cheaper imports, but it is still terrible.
 

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I had the best setup in my 84 Civic, sadly my tape deck in my 84 Civic broke this week, now I can't use my phone's tape adapter for music/navigation audio. At least the 84 still has an antenna so I get FM, even though I hate the ads. May look online for one of those CD changer Aux input kits for it and wire it in that way, should improve sound quality over tape deck adapter too.
Ha! Do what I did for my Alero and get a new headunit with bluetooth. I bought a Kennwood that does pretty much everything including handsfree calling except for CDs. When was the last time you used those anyway? My previous ST spoiled me and I couldn't live without those features.

Amazon.com: Kenwood Digital Media Receiver with Built-in Bluetooth (KMM-BT312U): Electronics

It would have been nice to see how Sync3 stacked up in this comparison.
 

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Ha! Do what I did for my Alero and get a new headunit with bluetooth. I bought a Kennwood that does pretty much everything including handsfree calling except for CDs. When was the last time you used those anyway? My previous ST spoiled me and I couldn't live without those features.

Amazon.com: Kenwood Digital Media Receiver with Built-in Bluetooth (KMM-BT312U): Electronics

It would have been nice to see how Sync3 stacked up in this comparison.
I've kept my old pioneer tape deck in the house so I can make tapes for this car. I actually like having an "OEM" looking dash. Really the only parts on the car not from Honda are engine mounts, axles, clutch, exhaust, filter/Intake before TB, bushings, shocks, panhard bar, front brake pads, driver seat (during race season) and the roll bar. Oh and the hood pins and 3000GT hood caps to hide the holes in the hood from the camber/caster kit.
 

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I can't compare with every system out there, bur have used new system in BMW, Merc, Audi, Porsche, and Cadi. My 2015 ExSport with the full sync nav system was the worst system I have ever used. The touch was terrible and buggy, the system constantly froze and crashed, layout was horrible. A 52k truck shouldnt have a system that looks and feels like it was built in 2001. Just my two cents. Sync isn't a deal breaker for me in the RS because I want the car, but Sync2 is far inferior to most everything else I have tried. Maybe its better then other cheaper imports, but it is still terrible.
I'm not a fan of sync 2 either, but from what I've heard sync 3 is a big improvement. Too bad the EU doesn't get it.
 
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