Quick Facts About Infotainment Systems
Large, flashy infotainment systems on new vehicles are significant selling points for many prospective car buyers. As technology advances, infotainment screens are getting bigger, better, and more capable. While most newer cars have competitive infotainment systems to adjust the radio and climate control settings, others go above and beyond with design, functionality, and more.
Our guide considers infotainment screen size, capabilities, and design. Keep reading to see what cars have the best infotainment systems.
What Is an Infotainment System?
A vehicle’s infotainment system is an integrated media system that delivers information and entertainment functionality to drivers and passengers. The infotainment screen is the digital control panel for adjusting the cabin temperature, audio volume, and other preferences. A driver may use the screen at the top of the center stack for navigation and operate their phone.
In most newer cars, the system comes in the form of a single screen, while some higher-end models feature two touchscreens or more. The Jeep Grand Wagoneer boasts over 75 inches of available display area on seven LCD screens throughout the vehicle.
Older vehicles may have early generations of infotainment systems consisting of a small display and rarely a touchscreen. Adjustments require turning knobs or pressing buttons. Manual controls are becoming less common today as automakers are trending toward putting everything on an interactive screen. This feature is especially prevalent in newer electric vehicles (EVs).
Mercedes-Benz launched its all-electric EQS sedan in late 2021 with arguably the most beautiful infotainment system, dubbed the MBUX Hyperscreen. It features a combination of three screens stretching 56 inches from the driver’s side to the passenger’s, where they can adjust their preferences or play games like Tetris.
Along with its design and size, the Hyperscreen has voice control where you can give the car commands like “give me a massage.” One of the most remarkable functions of the screen is AI decision-making. It picks up on the driver’s habits, like when you usually call your mom and suggest you do it.
The Hyperscreen is only available in the EQS, but other Mercedes-Benz models have smaller variations.
This EV giant was among the first manufacturers to remove physical knobs and buttons from the infotainment system. Screen size varies by model, as the Model 3 and Model Y have 15-inch screens, and the Model S and Model X have 17-inch screens. The larger screens have a tilt feature where the screen adjusts to face the driver, making accessing the infotainment system easier.
Since Tesla’s infotainment system eschews knobs, you can handle temperature, speaker volume, finding charging stations, and more from the screen. However, that doesn’t make it one of the best infotainment systems. All of the other cool features do.
For starters, you can play real video games in your car. If you have a gaming console, you only need your controller, and you can play select games in the vehicle. This feature is a convenient way to pass the time while charging at a Tesla Supercharger station. In addition to video games, the infotainment system has easter eggs, like a light show, and the ability to change your horn’s sound!
Tesla is often on the front end of innovation, and the infotainment system is a primary example. The company claims the system will improve over time, likely coming in over-the-air (OTA) updates.
Lucid is another EV company looking to bring attention to their cars with big screens. In its Glass Cockpit, the Lucid Air boasts a 34-inch touchscreen stretching from the driver’s side to roughly the center console. Lucid split the screen into three sections while still being one long screen. From left to right, the system displays vehicle controls, driving details, navigation, and media on one screen. But it gets even better.
The car features a pull-out screen in the center console dubbed the Pilot Panel, which contains functionality for navigation, audio controls, phone calling and messaging, and temperature settings. If you prefer physical buttons, they remain available above the center console.
Like most EVs, Lucid continuously sends drivers OTA updates to improve the driving experience. While the updates likely won’t include adding Apple CarPlay or Android Auto anytime soon, the infotainment system does feature voice control.
Kia and Hyundai are corporate cousins, and while they are far from the same vehicles, their infotainment systems are nearly identical with different names. Kia’s infotainment system is Kia Connect, while Hyundai’s is Bluelink.
Like most newer infotainment systems, the systems do not have any buttons outside of volume and temperature controls. The two infotainment systems are straightforward to use. Unlike Tesla’s system, these vehicles are compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to improve the driving experience.
These infotainment systems are smooth, sleek, and easy to use — earning them a spot on our top systems list.
Audi is taking a unique approach to their infotainment systems. Instead of one big screen, as seen in the A6, Audi employs two screens stacked atop each other in the A8. The top screen allows drivers to handle all their media needs and navigation. Meanwhile, the bottom screen provides driver assist features, temperature, and other conveniences such as seat warmers. With haptic feedback, Audi’s technology works to have a quick system and has voice control to keep you focused on the road.
The luxury brand separates itself from other manufacturers with its double-screen infotainment system. The look is slick and comes with all the necessary functions. Plus, the screens have a slight tilt to help prevent a glare that tends to distract drivers.
In Ford’s newest EVs, the Mach-E and F-150 Lightning, the manufacturer introduced an innovative 15.5-inch infotainment screen. The screen is mounted vertically in the dashboard’s center rather than horizontally.
Despite such a large screen, Ford does not entirely abandon the classic knob most drivers are used to using. In the bottom center of the screen, there is still a large volume knob to help drivers keep their eyes on the road when they want to adjust the volume.
Due to the way it’s mounted, it’s a one-of-a-kind infotainment system with the technology and functionality to match the design. The system uses technology to learn the driver’s habits and even allows up to three driver profiles to make the driving experience more immersive. In addition to this, the system is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and even a hotspot.
Be on the lookout for OTA updates, as Ford intends to improve the system continuously.
Stellantis brands Ram, Jeep, Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat have some consistency with their infotainment systems. The system blends modern technology and old-school physical buttons and knobs to appeal to younger and older generations.
The infotainment is one screen, and the size can vary depending on the vehicle. The Dodge Challenger has an 8.4-inch screen, while the Ram 1500 has a 12-inch screen. And although the truck’s system is a touchscreen, you will still notice a button for nearly everything.
UConnect brings modern technology with the addition of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and even Amazon’s Alexa. The system is intuitive, and users can easily navigate its functions. The design fits the bill if you want a car with an above-average infotainment system.