Honda Announces New Display and Connectivity Systems

Honda refreshed its Civic sedan for 2013, with a focus on exterior changes; the automaker is concentrating on connectivity systems on the updated 2014 Civic. It announced two new features that will debut on the sedan: the Display Audio touch-screen and the next generation of the HondaLink application-based platform.

Honda says the Display Audio touch-screen, which we got a close look at during the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show, offers the largest screen in the class and brings smartphone-like functionality inside the vehicle. Drivers use phonelike pinches, swipes and taps to access audio, phonebook, media, vehicle information and navigation features. Pandora internet radio is built into the interface, and functions like giving a song a thumbs-up or viewing the album art can be done via the screen.

The added connectivity functionality is a plus, but it comes at the cost of easy-to-use physical buttons; the Display Audio system trades physical controls for touch-sensitive panels. There's no longer a volume knob, for example. Steering wheel controls are standard, however. The 7-inch touch-screen system will be available on EX models and above, and will also be on the redesigned 2015 Honda Fit, due next spring. Honda says the 2014 Civic with Display Audio also marks the first factory installation of Apple's Siri Eyes Free mode with Siri operation; it’s available through the steering wheel controls when a compatible iPhone is connected and was previously a dealer-installed option.

Also new on the 2014 sedan, an updated version of the HondaLink app integration system brings apps from your smartphone to the in-car display. The automaker is launching four new apps this year. The Connect app provides local weather and location information, as well as maintenance reminders and access to the owner's manual. The Navigation app features real-time traffic data, 3-D maps and turn-by-turn routing through the audio system. Honda says you can also pre-plan your route on your phone and send it to the car. The Aha app gives drivers access to music, news, audiobooks and social media sites. Lastly, the Launcher app helps you find and organize more apps that are compatible with the system.  

Initially the HondaLink app integration system will only be compatible with iPhone 5, 5S and 5C models. Honda says it expects to offer Android platform compatibility next year.

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