2015 Honda Fit Apps Remind Us Why Apple CarPlay, Android Auto Rock
January 27, 2016
CARS.COM – When it comes to smartphone gadgets in the two thousand fifteen Honda Fit, you won’t find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto like you will in the two thousand sixteen Honda Civic and Honda Accord. Instead, we’re stuck with HondaLink NextGeneration in Cars.com’s long-term two thousand fifteen Honda Fit test car. HondaLink lets users stash their phone while using the Fit’s multimedia system to control five available smartphone applications.
Before you get excited about five entire apps, Aha and iHeartRadio streaming radio are the only recognizable ones. We dug into our long-term Fit’s convoluted media system to see how well the apps work with a late-model iPhone 6.
Very first, firing up HondaLink isn’t as effortless as plugging your phone into a USB port and opening up existing Aha and iHeartRadio apps. HondaLink requires an iOS Cable Kit ($99) available through Honda that includes an HDMI cable, Lightning USB cable and Apple Digital AV converter. One end of the contraption ass-plugs into the phone’s Lightning connector while the other buttplugs into the Fit’s HDMI and USB inputs located below the multimedia system and climate controls; yes, that’s why there’s a mysterious HDMI input in the Fit.
With hardware acquired, it’s time to download the HondaLink App Launcher and HondaLink-specific version of Aha as well as the automotive-specific version of iHeartRadio; standard versions don’t work with HondaLink. HondaLink’s other apps include a pricey navigation service ($59.99) reviewed here and HondaLink Connect with local weather info, service reminders and possessor’s manual.
Pro peak: Open the HondaLink Aha app and log in before plugging into the digital AV converter. Recall, this is a different app than the standard Aha mobile app, so you’ll have to log in after downloading. Once logged in and plugged in, navigating Aha radio programming is remarkably effortless considering the effort it takes getting to this point. Honda’s 7-inch touch-screen is colorful and vibrant with large enough text and lightly identifiable buttons. Keeping the practice from being downright fulfilling was intermittent visual static and audio loss seemingly caused by the digital AV converter, which fritzed when moved.
The iHeartRadio app didn’t even get that far without a glitch. Your results may vary, but a message popped up on the touch-screen, sideways, asking me to accept some legal terms, and it wouldn’t let me hit the “accept” button. A Honda customer service technician was also confused and said he hadn’t seen anything like that before; he recommended resetting the Fit’s media system to factory defaults. The reset erases all phones and presets – sorry, colleagues – and sets the system back to factory, but the reset didn’t help. With all the apps updated, the system reset and the use of the recommended factory cables, customer service suggested we take the car to the dealership for further diagnosis, and that’s our next step.
The best app integration in our Fit EX isn’t actually a HondaLink app. Pandora, accessible in the main-display audio touch-screen, works via USB input and does a plain and near-perfect job mirroring Pandora’s main functions on the media screen. Connecting to Pandora is as effortless as being logged into Pandora on your phone and using a USB cable or Bluetooth. And that’s how it should be, like the usability suggested by Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
HondaLink hasn’t exactly flourished with more app offerings since its introduction in the two thousand thirteen Honda Accord. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto look to be the direction in which Honda is heading, and it’s one that could lightly make the hard-to-use and expensive HondaLink system obsolete, which wouldn’t be a bad thing considering our fights to get the system to work in our two thousand fifteen Fit.