Infotainment systems are now slowly becoming a standard feature in cars and it's one of the features that drivers/users have seen some prominent changes in over the last 2 decades. The first ever car radio on a mass-production car was build in the 1930s and was sold as an aftermarket accessory by Motorola and cost a whopping $130 at that time. With time, the demand for radios in cars went up and slowly buttons made it to the dashboard. In many ways, these radios were the first form of in-car data storage.
Soon radios played a crucial part of a car and individual companies like Blaupunkt started to earn profits from this business. The 1960s saw the introduction of modern stereo systems. The first ever car stereo system was developed by Becker in 1969. Then came 8-track cassette tapes that appeared on Ford cars developed by Motorola. In fact, the Beatles released some of its initial albums that experimented with stereo 2-channel music.
Then GPS gained popularity and created the need for a proper touchscreen infotainment system, Toyota Celica was the first ever car to come with in-built navigation. Bluetooth technology allowed mobile phone connectivity options and all these had to be embedded onto a single system to develop the best user interface options. The demand for this technology increased over time and with car sales booming it was possible for carmakers to scale up the production of this infotainment technology which is now almost standard and one the most desired features on cars and SUVs.
Carmakers have realised that the millennials and modern day buyers expect new cars and SUVs to come with a touch screen as a standard feature supporting navigation and Apple Car Play and Google Android Auto. Here are the top SUVs under Rs 15 lakh you can buy with a complete and modern infotainment experience.
With the launch of the facelifted Ford Ecosport in November 2017, the company replaced the button-heavy dash and replaced it with its 8-inch touchscreen and SYNC 3 technology. This has enabled GPS navigation and phone connectivity on the Ecosport along with reverse parking camera. Ford's SYNC 3 technology on the Ecosport also supports Apple Car Play and Android Auto. While the regular audio system with speakers and Bluetooth is now standard on the base variants of Ford Ecosport, the touchscreen infotainment system are available on Trend, Trend +, Titanium, Titanium + and the recently launched Ford Ecosport S. The Suncy 3 with voice navigation and Apple Car Play, Android Auto are enabled only on the top Titanium + and Ecosport S variants.
Honda WR-V sub-compact SUV one of the top rivals to Ford Ecosport. Being sold only in two variants, the top-variants of Honda WR-V gets a 17.7 cm capacitive touchscreen infotainment system with inbuilt navigation. It has a 1.5 GB internal memory and supports MirrorLink support for smartphone connectivity and supports voice commands for media, navigation and calling. It does not support Apple Carplay and Android Auto connectivity options.
Hyundai Creta comes with a touchscreen infotainment system which supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It also gets AUX, USB, iPod, MP3 and audio-video navigation system. The infotainment system is available in the E+ variant and a full-fledged version with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link is offered in the S+, SX+ and SX(O). Bluetooth compatibility is available in all variants except the base trim and the Creta also gets 1GB of internal memory. The infotainment system is assisted by steering mounted controls for audio and phone.
The recently launched Mahindra XUV500 is sold in 10 variants out of which 9 variants get the 18 cm Colour Touch Screen Infotainment
Display with GPS, USB (Audio/Video) and Bluetooth. The XUV500 also supports smartwatch connectivity along with smartphone connectivity. The SUV also supports Android Auto but misses out on Apple Car Play. For the size of the car one might argue that the screen size is a bit small but still has been accepted widely.
Market leader Maruti Suzuki has introduced a touchscreen navigation on all its new cars and it supports Apple Car Play, navigation and android auto. Its a simple touchscreen system with good response. Maruti's Smart Play infotainment system is available only on the top-trip ZDI+ on both manual and AMT versions and supports mirror link.