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2018 Mazda6 to Get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto

Jack Nerad

No, Mazda hasn't announced that each of its new models will offer a steering wheel, but the Hiroshima-based brand’s announcement that it will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the 2018 Mazda6 has a similar ring to it. In the course of the past 36 months, the Apple CarPlay/Android Auto duo have gone from a rarity to nearly universal availability here in North America. The current Mazda6 is a car we like a lot, and it has a well-regarded infotainment system, but it was diminished for its lack of the two predominant smartphone integration systems. Now all that is changing. In September the Mazda6 midsize sedan will offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as a dealer-installed upgrade for Touring trim level and above at no extra cost. It’s like the sun has broken through some very dark clouds, isn’t it?

But there’s more news. Starting in November, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay will become original equipment on the 2018 Mazda6 Touring trim level and above. The highly anticipated and much sought-after update for Mazda6 owners will enable drivers and passengers alike to access their familiar phone applications through the MAZDA CONNECT infotainment system.

So let’s say you’ve recently taken delivery of a 2018 Mazda6. Will you be left in the lurch? Mazda says it wouldn’t do that to you. Instead, owners of 2018 Mazda6 Touring, Grand Touring, Grand Touring Reserve and Signature models are invited to schedule an appointment with their local Mazda dealerships starting next month. They will get the upgrade to the two popular systems performed at no additional cost. Mazda says the hardware and software updates take approximately two service hours.

Getting the upgrade is a good idea because, in addition to installing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the vehicles that get the service will also receive a more powerful, faster-charging 2.1-amp USB port in addition to the latest software version of MAZDA CONNECT. That’s a nice bonus.

The integration of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in the Mazda6 enables the use of Mazda’s “Commander” knob and associated buttons. The knob and buttons ease the ability to switch between different user interfaces and manage the capabilities. The integration adheres to Mazda’s “Heads-Up Cockpit” philosophy designed to help lessen distraction. Users can perform native and smartphone-based functions like listening to terrestrial radio while simultaneously using a compatible phone-based navigation app. And driving a car.

The 2018 Mazda6 is the first Mazda vehicle in North America to offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility via dealership installation. But it might not be the last.