We’re here at California checking out the new 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and the Plug-In that mainly we’re going to take a look at the BlueLink service with Android Wear and Apple Watch, talking about things like starting your car, honking the horn, finding your car and a lot of cool stuff. So let’s get into it.
So what we’re looking at here is the 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid and Plug-In but keep in mind that this will basically work with all Hyundais that feature BlueLink. Also if your vehicle already has BlueLink and you have an Android Wear device and Android phone, you can do what we’re doing right now and it’s also coming very soon to the Apple Watch. So first things first, we have to take a look at the app on the phone and the experience is fairly similar across both platforms.
Looking at the Android variant first, we can see that we have some pretty cool actions on the home screen. You can do some very basic yet very important stuff like lock and unlock your vehicle, flash your lights, set the alarm, and even start your vehicle. The cool thing here is that you don’t have to be a certain proximity away from your car. You can do it right next to your car or even on the other side of the city or country and you can do any of these commands. One really interesting feature on BlueLink is the ability to start your car and set things like AC and heat settings plus put a time allotment for how long you want your car to be on for.
If we switch over to the Android Wear companion application, which we can start by either going to the apps and clicking on the icon or by saying “Okay Google, launch BlueLink.” Once you’re in, you are given a nice list of basically the same functions you found on the Android app counterpart. But there is one addition to that. Up on the right hand corner is a microphone button. Hit that and say something like “Start my car.” Once you’ve entered your PIN number for security reasons, the command will be sent to your vehicle and it will turn on. The usefulness of the Android Wear app is fantastic, especially with Google Now integration.
Switching over to the iOS application, you’ll see much of the same thing. The app looks basically the same and works in the same way. You press a command, enter the PIN and your request is sent to your car.
One cool feature that is unique to Plug-In Hybrids such as this 2016 Hyundai Sonata is that you can set the charge time and cycle for when rates are the lowest. You simply go into the charge manager, set the time and your car will start and stop charging when you set it to. This is really, really helpful to keep the cost of ownership down with these electric vehicles.
Over to the Apple Watch companion application, you can also launch this app by saying “Hey Siri, open BlueLink.” And you also have the same list of commands plus the same microphone on the right hand corner. Press on any of these commands and it will be sent to your car and the actions will be done. Again, very similar to the Android Wear application.
The one thing that I found very interesting yet somewhat confusing on the Apple Watch variant is that you still have to enter the PIN number even though Apple’s confident enough to not ask you to verify yourself when using Apple Pay. I was chatting with an Engineer of BlueLink about securities on the Apple Watch since Apple Watch asked you to authorize it anytime it actually leaves your wrist so we could see this app work a little more seamlessly without PIN numbers in the future. But when this app is available on the Apple Watch in the next few months, this is basically what you will get.
I also have to speak a little bit about the Hyundai Sonata. Over the course of our media drive, I definitely enjoyed this vehicle, especially the Plug-In model since it has a little bit more plunge, thanks to the all-electric drive range of 24 miles. Also, I think it looks fairly good from the outside. It looks very different compared to your typical gas-powered 2015 Sonata. And also to wrap this up in a nice bow-tie, Android auto is officially available on the 2015 Sonata, including this 2016 if you pick up the navigation package.
Controlling your vehicle from your smartwatch was awesome and it really does come in handy, especially during those “Did I lock my car?” moments. But I want to hear what you guys think about the technologies so make sure to leave your comments below.