How ‘nice’ is Carplay?

Hello all.

My trusty old car is getting a bit long in the tooth. I’m still more than happy with it, but might be making more trips with the kids in mine, so were looking for something a bit bigger/newer.

I commute 30m to work in the mornings, 30 back in the evenings, and other than this - don’t really spend much other time in the car.

One of the models I’m looking at, is a smaller hatchback, a 2018 release, more aimed at 1st time buyers, but perfectly acceptable for my type of driving/route to work.
It has Carplay.

The other, a sedan, (2017) is the typical reliable workhorse. Rental car companies like to use them. Nothing fancy, but bigger engine, and bigger boot/storage space, pretty-much bulletproof etc.
It doesn’t have Carplay, but its built-in touchscreen is perfectly fine. And it has a USB-in with Bluetooth.

My current car has neither of the above. So I drive to work with my airpods in, and listen to podcasts on Overcast. This works perfectly fine, since the Airpods still allow surprisingly much of the external noise in, to the point of being able to hear the engine, hooting etc.

To be clear, this is a vehicle that I will be using 90% of the time, so, with finances not being an issue, it really is my call. And in case it wasn’t also apparent, whereas I like cars (and car shows), the bug really hasn’t bitten me to the point that I feel anything much about my vehicles. It’s just something to get me from A to B.

The safe-reliable sedan should be the no-brainer. But the Carplay on the slightly smaller, newer model, has given me pause.

I’m mad, right? If I spent way more time in the car, then Carplay might be a consideration. But I don’t, so it shouldn’t be?

Would really appreciate some views on how ‘nice’ Carplay is? Is it more than a ‘meh’, and just a nice-to-have, as opposed to a ‘have-to-have’?

I have CarPlay and I think it is fantastic. Not only does it provide really easy access to Apple Music and podcasts, the satnav functions are good too and I often use the CarPlay satnav over the built in one. Siri works well and allows you to take notes, make reminders, compose and listen to messages etc. I highly recommend. I can’t say whether or not it is more of a priority than other aspects of a car eg size, but if I was buying a new car now I don’t think I would want anything on the shortlist without CarPlay

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Dammit. :sunglasses:

Thanks! That just made things a bit trickier!

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I use CarPlay all the time. I know it doesn’t provide me access to all apps, but that’s kind of the point. Even though our newest vehicle came with NAV, I use Maps way more often (> 9/10) to get places, listen to music/podcasts off my phone, and it also ties in better than Bluetooth ever could for phone calls.

I’m not sure I want a new vehicle without it.

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Our recently acquired new Honda came with CarPlay. We really like it. Would not get another car without it.

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I’ve had carplay in my VW Jetta for the past two years and won’t buy another car without it. Overcast and maps are great and the UI allows you to get just enough done without being distracted all the time. Having SIRI available all the time lets me make quick reminders, make calls, send texts, and take notes without having to take my hands off the steering wheel.

With some of the updates announced at WWDC, it’s only going to get better and allow additional third-party app integration. I’d highly recommend it!

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I priced out upgrading my 2005 Murano to add CarPlay. It was over $1500 with all the needed components. I’ll stick with the Bluetooth connection I added 10 years ago replacing the unused satellite button.

That said, when I played with CarPlay in the store it was nice. Not $1500 nice, but nice.

And you really shouldn’t be driving with any earpods in. Even if it lets some external sound in, it can still be a distraction.

The ability to get CarPlay — and to be able to use it on a large console screen — was one of my main reasons for upgrading from a 2013 Subaru Outback to the 2018 Outback. (That and all of the new Subaru safety features!)

The best CarPlay app for me is Apple Maps. The ability to quickly check the console screen for upcoming lane choices in Apple Maps, and the ability to see the Apple Maps notice card for the next turn or exit to look for (and how many tenths of a mile away it is), makes CarPlay a winner for me.

Another big plus for CarPlay is the enjoyment of listening to Overcast Podcasts through my car’s speaker system. And the USB connection keeps my iPhone fully charged.


I’ve had Carplay for two years now, and recently had to borrow a car for a month while waiting for the local Kia auto dealer to receive some spare parts, and this car was without Carplay.

Long story short; I use Carplay every time I’m behind the wheel of my car for directions, music, podcasts, answering / placing calls through Siri, and sendig / receiving iMessages and texts through Siri, and I’m never going without Carplay again.

So, if you’re considering getting Carplay, i’d say go for it :muscle:t2:


When we were shopping for a new car, CarPlay was high on my list of desired features. However, for a long while the cars we were looking at for other reasons did not support CarPlay (Toyota, Mazda, Subaru), and I almost compromised. Finally one came along that checked nearly all the boxes on my list AND had CarPlay (Hyundai). We’ve now owned the car for 9 months, as well as rented a few with and without CarPlay. I will never buy another car without it! (And we LOVE the car for other reasons as well!)

Echoing those above, the biggest uses for me are Maps and Overcast. Yes, OverCast supports CarPlay too! CarPlay also makes using Siri a little easier, though Siri still needs improvement. Fortunately, Siri can be improved without buying a new car!


Agree with the opinions above. Use CarPlay every time I get behind the wheel. It’s safer and easier than using the phone itself.

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Carplay is a must. I have used it for a year and a half and wouldn’t consider a car without it. Regarding it being “crippled” the available apps and their user interfaces are cut down to what you can safely use while driving. I get on fine with Apple Maps, but 3rd party maps like Waze are coming in iOS 12. I also use both Apple Podcasts and Overcast. Audiobooks are another option. Siri powered phone and text messaging.

+1. Agree with many above. I just got a newer car last month with CarPlay. I really like Siri, Maps (with traffic and speed limit), Overcast, Music, Phone, and Messages (in a low distraction format).

I installed an aftermarket CarPlay stereo in my Honda and have never regretted it. It’s so much easier to make calls and ask for directions via Siri. I use Overcast extensively and find that the Siri-Apple Music works well enough that I get the right song about 70% of the time.

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FM transmitters work well as long as you aren’t driving through areas with lots of FM stations. Otherwise you end up constantly scanning for a clear station.

Another option is to get the more practical car and replace the radio with an aftermarket head unit compatible with CarPlay. I’m pretty sure that’s what @katiefloyd did.

I recently added CarPlay to my older vehicle. (My car originally had a tape deck - I tend to drive cars for > 10 years.) While I realize it can be more difficult to upgrade newer vehicles that have so much integrated into the dash, don’t completely discount the possibility. I added CarPlay to my car for less than $600.

David recently added CarPlay to his (much newer than mine) car.

If you really like another car that is not CarPlay comparable, or if you have an older car that you plan on keeping a while take some time to investigate the options for adding it yourself. You may be surprised. I’d suggest you speak to a specialized audio dealer (rather than just a big box store) as they’ll be most familiar with the options available.


I use CarPlay all the time on my Ford. It is better than the Ford default system. As my car does not have its own navigation system, I would expect that once Wave or Google Maps comes onto iOS 12 CarPlay then it will become even more helpful. Certainly if I were to purchase a new car or a new radio, it would be a factor that I would take into account in what I bought.

Appreciate all the replies. Clearly some food for thought.

I hardly ever require navigation, but do use Waze occasionally to predict my arrival time at work - so its integration is something meaningful.
But the tight integration with Overcast, and Siri i.r.o. being able to text/read via voice, is something that could also be useful.

I’ll just say that I haven’t been thrilled with my experience with Carplay. I have a new Honda 2018 hatchback with CarPlay. It wasn’t an option and at first, I was thrilled with it. BUT, as anything having to do with Siri, it just doesn’t work well for me. I’m French Canadian, but use my device in English. That means Siri expects text in English when I dictate to her, which means I can’t “talk” by text to my kids or wife which speak French and which have their device in French. So Carplay for text is useless for me in that sense. I do use Maps a lot, Music and Downcast (a podcast app). If you have ANY trouble with Siri on your iPhone then don’t expect miracles with CarPlay.