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Hyundai Promises to Retrofit Some Sonatas with Free Apple CarPlay After Latest Delay

img1053596514 1442344699602 jpg 2016 Hyundai Sonata; | Manufacturer image

CARS.COM — With some Hyundai Sonata owners reportedly steaming over the  delayed introduction of Apple CarPlay, Hyundai now says it plans a free retrofit of CarPlay into certain 2015 Sonatas, as well as into early 2016 Sonatas that missed it, though it still may be “months” away, according to a spokesman.

Related: Will Smartphone Integrations ‘Future-Proof’ Your Car?

Hyundai will offer a free software update to retrofit Apple CarPlay into all 2015 Sonatas equipped with the optional 8-inch screen with navigation system, as well as into all 2016s built before CarPlay was added with an assembly-line change on Jan. 15, spokesman Miles Johnson told Cars.com. CarPlay now is standard on the 2016 Sonata, which has a new, 7-inch touch-screen as its base multimedia system (an 8-inch screen with navigation still is optional). (You can typically find the month a car was built on a sticker in the doorjamb.)

When the retrofit finally happens, it will consummate Hyundai’s announcement more than a year ago that the Sonata would be its first car to support CarPlay.

The latest delay stems from a required upgrade to the navigation system’s mapping software. Hyundai decided to package the Apple CarPlay software with the required map update and make the bundle available for free. The map upgrade originally was going to cost around $150 per owner, Johnson said. It’s also an apparent reversal from December 2015, when Hyundai told the Detroit Free Press that the CarPlay upgrade itself would cost extra.

“We looked at it and said, ‘Wait a second, let’s delay this [map update] and package it together so that when they do the download, they get both the CarPlay software and the updated navigation map software in one load,’ ” Johnson said.

But that decision delayed the rollout.

“Most recently, we said [the CarPlay upgrade] would be out at the end of the first quarter” of 2016, Johnson said. “The reason why we didn’t make the first-quarter deadline was that issue with the map software.”

Asked if Hyundai would provide a timeframe for when anyone with an early-2016 Sonata or navigation-equipped 2015 car would be able to get Apple CarPlay, Johnson only said it would be months, not weeks, down the road.

“I know why these customers are upset – it’s because CarPlay and Android Auto are outstanding systems, and people want them,” he said. “We’re going to do this.”

When the update finally comes for navigation-equipped 2015 models, it will via an update for the multimedia system’s SD card. Johnson said you’ll have to eject the card from the car, insert it into a computer, download the online update to the card, insert the card back into the car system and stay parked with car on for “about half an hour” for the update install. The update will be on Hyundai’s owner website, myhyundai.com, and owners can sign up to be notified of its availability at hyundaiusa.com/phoneintegration.

Johnson said to expect a “similar” process for owners of 2016 Sonatas built before January, but those with the 7-inch touchscreen will get the update via USB stick, while those with the 8-inch navigation system will have an SD card update. The 2016 Sonatas missing CarPlay amount to a significant population, given Hyundai began production of the sedan’s 2016 model year last July. But the automaker won’t provide a timeframe for when those updates will come, as they’re part of a broader series of updates to retrofit various Hyundai models — not just the Sonata — to accept Apple CarPlay.

For Android smartphone users, Hyundai added Android Auto to all navigation-equipped 2015 Sonatas in mid-2015; the feature is standard on all 2016 Sonatas regardless of production date.

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Former Assistant Managing Editor-News Kelsey Mays likes quality, reliability, safety and practicality. But he also likes a fair price. Email Kelsey Mays

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