Chevy offers two MyLink systems

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  • Image: aei-sparkMylink.JPG
  • Image: aei-mylinkImpala.JPG
Image: aei-sparkmylinkmap.jpg

Spark MyLink uses BringGo app to display map without using data plan and if out of cell reception area.

Chevrolet has a next-generation MyLink infotainment system; in fact, it has two systems with that name, one on the 2014 Impala and a second on the 2013 Chevy Spark and Sonic. Like all General Motors cars, they also come with OnStar.

The Spark/Sonic system version of MyLink is low-cost, with its navigation component a $50 smartphone app originally called Gogolink but renamed BringGo. The cars also will have the first automotive use of Siri, Apple’s voice-recognition system that functions as a personal "answerwoman" and, of course, works with an iPhone. It also works on these cars with Google Android and RIM Blackberry smartphones, plus Windows Mobile and phones with the Nokia Symbian operating system. An iPhone or iPod can be plugged in; all can be paired with Bluetooth.

BringGo loads maps into the phone memory, so the system does not use a data plan, even for turn-by-turn directions. BringGo goes into the data plan for Where am I?, live traffic, points of interest, and 3D maps. The MyLink radio, which is available with a 7.0-in touch screen on Spark and Sonic, has Pandora and Stitcher as embedded apps, and in 1Q/2013 adds Siri.

AEI tested a Siri-equipped Spark in “Eyes Free” mode, engaged by pressing the push-to-talk button on the steering wheel. Siri exhibited good voice-recognition capability, easily going through a smartphone to announce the score of a specific football game the day before, the upcoming weather forecast, and similar information. For safety, it declines questions that would require reading a webpage, even though we were in a parked car. Example: “What is a waterfall?” elicited a refusal, an issue that, it would seem, would be a technically feasible bypass. Siri also makes voice-activated calls, checks the driver’s calendar (and adds appointments), and composes/sends text messages.

MyLink in the 2014 Impala, derived from Cadillac’s CUE, is more upscale, with standard 4.2-in or optional 8.0-in touch-and-sweep screens that look and perform like a smartphone. The driver pairs the phone, puts it away, and shouldn’t use it while driving the car because the touch screen is intended as an in-car replacement. But it’s not just a display that draws everything from a “well-apped” smartphone, which aside from the embedded apps, is what the Spark-Sonic system really is.

Impala MyLink smarts are embedded in the infotainment system, including the navigation. The voice command is Nuance’s Naturally Speaking, but unlike Siri, it doesn’t do Internet-search Q&A. The choices are navi with 3D city maps, phone, audio, and weather, which is integrated into the navi. It will read text messages and stream audio from the smartphone when updates arrive (“soon”). All features, however, work with the car moving. There’s a choice of home screens, each with artistically different icons, to match mood and/or the particular driver. They are Main Street, Contemporary, Edge, and Velocity, with Edge aimed at young drivers and Velocity at those who think a carbon fiber background with glowing neon means driving excitement.

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