In this day and age, staying connected matters. Modern technology, fortunately, offers increasingly popular media through which we can stay connected to each other in new and innovative ways. New cars often feature infotainment systems so that all those connections can remain active while driving, few of which receive as much consistently high praise as Chevy’s Infotainment 3 system. Standard on models from the 2021 Chevy Trax to Suburban and more, we’re going to break down what the system offers as an example of how the modern automobile connects us more than ever.
We have smart homes to operate our lights and modulate the thermostat. We have voice assistants that can perform basic research and logistics. We have smartphones that know the places we like to go, the things we want to buy, and the music we like to hear, plus all our contacts and calendars. Now we can have it all in a car. Hands-free technology reaches new heights every year, allowing drivers to perform more and more communications, logistics, and research on the road than ever before.
A History of Making Connections
Modern communications technologies have been integrating themselves into automobiles for almost a century. Motorola traces its origins to the 1930 car radio bearing its name, and two-way radios appeared in police cars of the 30s. Radio Telephones could be found as early as the 1940s, and car phones became increasingly popular in luxury vehicles well into the early 2000s.
Cell phones spelled doom for car phones – lighter, easier to use, and able to go anywhere, they made the car phone obsolete but presented a serious problem: distracted driving. Awareness of the dangers of distracted driving rose as fast as technology advanced. At a time when mobile technology was more advanced than it had ever been before, it was impossible to use while in the car.
A transformation in the automotive industry, started by Chrysler in 2000, aimed to solve this problem. Bluetooth technology created a wireless link between two devices – compatible phones and car systems could be linked for hands-free cell phone operation. When smartphones were released, and we started using our cell phones for music, navigation, and logistics, Bluetooth connectivity became essential to every phone and automobile. It made physical media like CDs and auxiliary cables obsolete and opened the door to levels of automation and control that we could only dream about 20 years ago.
Chevy Infotainment 3 – A “Smart Car” System
The most modern systems today offer a seamless integration of your smartphone to your vehicle. The Chevy Infotainment 3 system not only provides Bluetooth connections; it also features Apple and Android integration functions, an app store of its own, and more, even on entry-level models like the 2021 Chevy Trax LS. The system does more than hands-free phone calls – text messaging, music streaming, navigation, and even reservations and orders can all be managed through your infotainment system.
Almost any infotainment system made after 2015 features a touch screen, Bluetooth connectivity, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto compatibility, and voice command technology. From model to model, features might be limited to certain trims (built-in Wi-Fi hotspots and navigation systems still come at a premium on almost all models), but those are the basics. The Chevy system stands out for including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot on all 2021 models.
The most basic presentation of the Chevy Infotainment 3 system might be the one on the 2021 Chevy Trax. It features Bluetooth connectivity for up to 2 compatible devices at a time, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot capability which can support up to 7 devices at a time, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a 7” touchscreen as well as voice command functions.
There are 4 versions – base, Plus, Plus with Navigation, and Premium with Navigation. Features such as navigation connectivity, wireless Apple/Android connections, screens of 8-10” or more, downloadable apps, and more can be had with the upgrades. While not all models can take advantage of the system’s full capabilities, the scope of in-vehicle tech and the standout myChevrolet app are aspects that set the Chevy Infotainment 3 system apart from the rest of the industry.
Advancing technology makes it possible to operate the locks, ignition, and lights of your car through your smartphone. Available on Apple and Android devices, the myChevrolet App enables you to remotely start or lock/unlock the car (as long as the vehicle is equipped to do so) directly from your handheld device. You can even honk the horn or use Vehicle Locate to find it on a map. Boundary alerts and customizable arrival/departure notifications can serve as parental controls. System status values such as fuel range, oil life, tire pressure, and odometer can be checked, and all of this can be handled using voice assistants.
The app provides a control center through which you can check for recalls and schedule service. You can search the owner’s manual or watch how-to videos to take advantage of all that your Chevy has to offer. Check on your driving habits through the Smart Driver feature, collect and redeem rewards earned at participating GM entities, and manage your onboard Wi-Fi hotspot all in the palm of your hand.
The app also offers specialized functions for Chevy’s specialized vehicles. Essential for the Bolt EV is the Energy Assist function that helps you plan and adjust routes based around your range and available charging stations. At the other end of the spectrum, Silverado owners can use the app to activate trailer lights remotely or to help calculate the combined truck and trailer weight.
The Infotainment 3 system enables seamless integration of your phone to your car for all your entertainment, navigation, and communication needs. Personalize the setup by rearranging icons, saving your favorite stations, and downloading apps that deliver all the information, entertainment, and utility you could ask for.
It starts with the Apple CarPlay / Android Auto plug-in. Seriously, that’s it – download the app on your phone, plug it into the car with your factory lightning cable, and you’re done! Your apps and personalized settings will be accessible via the infotainment touch screen. That means your Siri / Google Assistant voice assistant, music apps, maps, and contacts are all ported directly to the car.
On top of this, available in-vehicle apps mean you’ll still be connected even without plugging in your phone. Spotify, The Weather Channel, Pandora, Marketplace, myChevrolet app, Fox Sports, and USA Today are all available for music, weather, sports, news, vehicle management, and shopping.
Marketplace is particularly interesting – developed specifically for Chevy; this first-of-its-kind app allows you to interact with merchants while you’re on the road. Order takeout from partnered chains like IHOP and McDonald’s, or pay for gas and collect fuel rewards from the driver’s seat. Make reservations at over 4,000 restaurants via Yelp or find hotel rooms, with special Chevy owner discounts, nationwide through Priceline. Finally, when you’ve reached your destination but don’t know where to park, ParkWhiz will find a nearby spot for you.
Connected navigation, if available, uses real-time traffic info to plan and adjust routes on the go. The system can save favorite locations, allow you to search by points of interest, and disable the turn-by-turn directions for a quiet ride. As you travel, you can listen to over 150 commercial-free stations on SiriusXM with your favorites bookmarked, and alternative profiles so your family and friends can save their favorites, too.
Last but not least, Alexa integration makes it possible to access your Amazon account and even do some shopping while you’re on the road. Alexa can pull in your Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Music playlists, and when the journey is done, you can connect to and operate your smart home devices, so everything is just right by the time you step in the door. Your car is basically an extension of your home office at this point. A long commute has never been so productive.
A Fully Connected Infotainment System
It’s amazing what today’s cars can do. GM’s infotainment system is lauded for intuitive, user-friendly operation and a broad list of standard features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Wi-Fi hotspot come standard even on the base 2021 Chevy Trax LS and other entry-level Chevy models, allowing full integration of your smartphone into any new Chevrolet. A long list of available apps, including the innovative Marketplace and myChevrolet App, greatly surpass the liberty and utility that car phones of the past used to provide. Never mind making calls from your car – now it’s possible to adjust the thermostat, book a hotel for tomorrow’s trip to the city, order takeout, and buy an anniversary present, all without taking your hands off the wheel on your Friday evening commute. In a world where staying connected matters more than ever, it’s hard to imagine a better media system than Chevy Infotainment 3.