New In-Car Tech

At long last, Infiniti updates its infotainment system in 2020 models

Infiniti has updated its key models with a new infotainment system for the 2020 model year.

Photo courtesy of Infiniti Motor Company Ltd.

Infiniti has updated its infotainment system offering for the 2020 model year in the Q50, Q60, QX50, and QX80. This next-gen system replaces an aging set up that had become a pain point for the Hong Kong-based automaker in the last few years.

The system now consists of two twin high-definition touch screens and replaces button and knob controls in previous years' models. It keeps the Infiniti InTouch nomenclature, operates using a faster processor, and features an improved interface.

"Connectivity on the move is more important to drivers than ever – it allows them to keep up-to-date with the latest traffic information, while passengers can stream, surf, video call and more at their leisure," said Eric Rigaux, General Manager of Product Strategy & Planning, Infiniti Motor Company. "Having listened to feedback from our customers, we have vastly improved the system's features, intuitive use and functionality."

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard for U.S. customers. Users can utilize a USB port to connect their smartphone to the system. They can then access call making, message sending and receiving, navigation, and music capabilities. Apple users can enjoy Siri Eyes Free.

Buyers can add navigation capabilities to their InTouch system. The system incorporates 3D mapping, street and satellite view imagery, Destinations by Google, and points of interest.

Navigation-enabled vehicles feature a Wi-Fi hot spot with the ability to connect up to seven devices. This hot spot also enables over the air updates for the system.

The system also enables Bluetooth connectivity with easier pairing ability and a new high-definition microphone. Multiple phones can be connected to the system and owners can prioritize their favorite device within the system.

Infiniti's 2020 model year vehicles begin arriving at dealerships later this year.

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The 2022 Lexus ES will debut next week.

Photo courtesy of Lexus

The meat and potatoes of the Lexus sedan lineup, the ES, is due for a refresh, and it will get one. The 2022 Lexus ES will be shown publicly for the first time this Sunday as part of the festivities of the Shanghai auto show.

While the photo doesn't tell a lot, there's some things you can bet on in the 2022 ES. For starters, look for all the improvements that the auto has gotten over the last two years to carry over into the new model. That includes the addition of all-wheel drive to the lineup and standard blind spot monitor and rear cross traffic alert.

The ES Black Line may not make its way to the 2022 version of the midsize sedan. Generally, blacked out editions are available only at the tail end of a model run ahead of a refresh or generational redesign. However, the blacked out elements could become available as part of a package.

The headlight photo that Lexus has offered as a teaser shows a housing that is not dissimilar to the one that the Lexus IS wears. However, the daytime running light is on the bottom here, instead off the top. Like the IS, there are strong hood lines.

At the back, the preview video shows a vehicle that is very similar to the current model. It's taillights, a strong chrome line that runs the width of the year, and rear lip spoiler all look mostly same as before.

As for what to expect underneath the body of the car, there's not a lot of indication from the teasers, which leads one to believe that's where the biggest changes are coming. There's a good chance that we'll finally say goodbye to the Lexus touch pad in favor of a touch screen display that's within a comfortable distance.

It's also likely that Lexus will fine tune the dynamics of the ES in a similar fashion to how the Lexus IS got more performance-focused driving dynamics in its latest redo.

Stay tuned for more specifics are the curtain is pulled back on April 19 in China (April 18 in the U.S.).

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The new Maps+ app will allow drivers to use a navigation system who had not previously purchased navigation.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

General Motors is giving its vehicles a new navigation solution. Maps+, an in-vehicle, app-based way-finding program, will begin rolling out to approximately 900,000 model year 2018 and newer Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles by the end of 2021, starting on April 30.

"We know customers want an easy and convenient in-vehicle experience that improves over time," said Santiago Chamorro, GM vice president of Global Connected Services. "We listened to customer feedback and developed a product that works seamlessly with our current infotainment systems and provides a highly personalized experience that will iterate throughout the lifetime of the vehicle."

Maps+ was developed in partnership with Mapbox. The new app replaces navigation functionality in already-purchased vehicles that had purchased a navigation system. It provides navigation functionality to drivers of vehicles that did not opt for navigation at the onset.

The new application features Alexa build-in voice control that allows users to listen to music or podcasts using the system's integrated audio apps. A search box allows users to find points of interest, shops, restaurants, parking, and more. There is also embedded speed alert, low fuel recognition, predictive keyboard entry, day and night modes, category shortcuts, rear-time traffic routing, and dynamic mapping capability.

"Our obsession is the driver," said Peter Sirota, CEO of Mapbox. "The map is the canvas for providing the driver with a delightful, easy-to-use experience. From discovering new places to avoiding traffic on your commute to paying at the pump or the plug, Maps+ lays the foundation for an excellent navigation experience. We are excited to build upon this with GM to continue to drive adoption."

GM and Mapbox are committed to continuing Maps+ post-launch, developing new features and improvements based on feedback and metrics.

Maps+ will be available on select vehicles through Connected Vehicle, Premium and App Access subscription plans. Current eligible Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners will be notified when their vehicle is eligible for Maps+.

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