Mazda Australia has confirmed that from late 2018, all new models equipped with the company’s MZD Connect infotainment system will feature Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring technology as standard equipment. This means that one criticism aimed at the company’s products from critics and customers alike will finally be amended.
But, unlike a lot of other manufacturers, the technology will also be available for owners of older Mazda cars that have an MZD system – the first car with MZD was the current shape Mazda 3, which started production in 2014. Mazda is yet to announce the cost for the upgrade for older models, though did confirm it is a hardware (not just software) upgrade.
A Chasing Cars mock-up of what CarPlay will look like on the inside of the MX-5 roadster.
Speaking to local media at the launch of the new seven-seat CX-8 SUV, Mazda Australia marketing director Alastair Doak said that “Mazda Australia will offer, by year’s end, an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto upgrade kit, which will work seamlessly with our MZD system and commander knob.” said Mr Doak.
“So a customer buying a CX-8, or any other SUV or car will be able to have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in their vehicle by the end of the year.”
The news will be welcome for current Mazda owners, and those who have owned the brand’s products since Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring technology became common in new automotive products in around 2015. Many of Mazda’s competitors – Kia, Holden, Volkswagen to name just a few – offer the smartphone mirroring technology across their range and at no extra cost. Mazda does offer the smartphone mirroring tech on all 2018 BT-50 utes, though that product doesn’t use the company’s MZD Connect infotainment system.
CarPlay and Android Auto continue to evolve as each technology company offers updates for their products. It was recently announced that CarPlay will start to offer Google Maps and Waze navigation connectivity whilst Android Auto continues to evolve.
Yet unlike other manufacturers, Mazda will also be offering the connectivity technology to those with older Mazda models with MZD Connect for an as-yet undisclosed fee – owners of older models from other manufacturers must upgrade their infotainment systems aftermarket, or buy a new car to receive the tech.
“Mazda Australia will offer, by year’s end, an Apple CarPlay and Android Auto upgrade kit for all current customers, which will work seamlessly with the MZD Connect system. It will be available for all customers with an MZD Connect system that first went on sale with Mazda 3 in early 2014.” said Mr Doak.
It’s believed that one reason behind the ease of the update is that the MZD Connect layout will not change with the upgrade, rather, adding another connectivity option in the media section of the screen – instead of selecting FM or AM radio, owners will select Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and the mirroring will be active. For many owners, CarPlay and Android Auto are better infotainment options when travelling, especially the ability to use hands-free Siri or Bixby voice activation whilst on the move.
“It will look exactly like what we currently have except you will be able to use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto,” said Mr Doak.
Stay tuned to Chasing Cars for Mazda news and reviews. Read our Mazda CX-8 review here.