We're already familiar with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system that's slowly making its way across the brand's entire portfolio, but today, we were able to get our first look at the next big feature being added to General Motors' Bowtie tech. First available on the 2013 Chevrolet Spark and Sonic, GogoLink is a smartphone-based app that works with the car's touch-screen display to provide a fully functional navigation feature to the MyLink system.
We spent some time with Sara LeBlanc, GM's program manager for global infotainment systems, who showed us exactly how the GogoLink app works. When your smartphone is tethered to the car, the app can be launched from the MyLink interface and works just like any other high-quality navigation system. GogoLink includes things like points of interest, 3D mapping, emergency information (police, fire, etc.), local search via Google and live traffic details. Disconnect your phone from the car, and your maps and routes are available right on your phone. (Note: Even though that last part doesn't show up in the video, trust us, it works.)
Pricing for the GogoLink app has not been announced as of this writing, and will be confirmed closer to the system's on-sale date this fall. The 2013 Spark will go on sale before the GogoLink app is available, so the first round of Sparks will require a simple MyLink upgrade that can be installed for free at Chevy dealers.
Now, take a closer look at the MyLink head unit in the video below – there's no CD player. LeBlanc provided this explanation for us:
Of course, LeBlanc assures us that this is only for the Sonic and Spark MyLink system right now. The rest of the Chevrolet products will continue to be offered with CD players.
We talked to our Sonic and Spark customers and we asked them about the features they were looking for. They wanted connectivity. They said, "We have all that music on our smartphone, can't you just find a way to transfer it? We don't want CDs. We don't use that."
The MyLink system with GogoLink arrives this fall, and pricing has yet to be announced as of this writing. Follow the jump for a tour of the new system, as well as the official release from GM.
Segment-exclusive MyLink system adds GogoLink navigation via owners' smartphones
Its in-your-face colors already make the 2013 Chevrolet Spark hard to lose in a crowd. Now it will be even harder to get lost while driving the Spark and the Sonic, thanks to available GogoLink.
GogoLink is an embedded smartphone application that delivers full-function navigation – including live traffic updates – through the vehicles' MyLink infotainment system. It was introduced today and is expected to be available in the fall. Consumers can test-drive GogoLink for themselves at a special kiosk in the Chevrolet exhibit the New York International Auto Show.
"GogoLink gives Spark and Sonic customers cloud-based navigation and live traffic alerts projected on the vehicle's seven-inch, high-resolution touch screen for a great value," said Cristi Landy, Chevrolet marketing director for small cars.
About 90 percent of expected Spark and Sonic buyers own smartphones, Landy said. "This technology is typically found on cars costing far more, but next-gen customers are accustomed to being connected. By using a smartphone app, Chevrolet found a smart and safe way to provide navigation."
GogoLink navigation includes:
- Emergency information such as police, fire and the nearest hospital
- Thousands of points of interest
- Local Search via Google
- Where am I? locator
- Live traffic functionality provides crash reports and lane closures, and with alternative routes
- 3-D maps
- Ability to store native maps to the customer's smartphone, giving them access to locations and turn-by-turn directions even when phone signal quality is poor. Many GPS-enabled apps do not do this.
Because GogoLink navigation will become available after Spark goes on sale, the first Spark models sold will require a simple update at the dealer to accommodate the app. GogoLink pricing will be announced later.
MyLink is standard on 1LT and 2LT versions of the Spark, as well as the Sonic LTZ and upcoming Sonic RS model. MyLink is available on Sonic LS and LT models. On Spark and Sonic, MyLink operates by integrating the owner's compatible smartphone and stored media – via Bluetooth, plug-in outlet or USB – with the radio. This lets owners enjoy simple, safe and personalized connectivity while their smartphone is safely stowed.
MyLink is simple to use: The owner selects from options projected onto the touch screen: Audio, Pictures & Movies, Telephone, Smartphone Link and Settings. Each menu selection takes the user though a list of easy-to-select functions.
MyLink-equipped Spark and Sonic models will launch with two apps: Pandora internet radio and Stitcher Smart Radio. When owners with these services connect their compatible smartphones via Bluetooth or by plugging in, they can access these and other functions:
- Personal playlists of stored music
- Hands-free calling with Bluetooth-enabled voice activation from the customer's smartphone when the steering wheel button is depressed. (Visit gm.com/Bluetooth for a list of compatible smartphones)
- Ability to project video via USB while the vehicle is parked
- Ability to project a photo album in "slideshow" mode via USB while the vehicle is parked, with the last music selection playing in the background. Once the vehicle is moving, a single photo is viewable.
A four-passenger, five-door hatchback, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark goes on sale this summer, the smallest entry in the Chevrolet passenger car lineup. Though compact, Spark offers more passenger and cargo room than other mini cars such as the Fiat 500, Smartfortwo and the Scion iQ. Equipped with the 1.2L four-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission, Spark is expected to offer very competitive fuel economy.
In addition to MyLink, Spark is equipped with 10 standard air bags, standard StabiliTrak electronic stability control, and is the only car in its segment with a five-year, 100,000-mile powertrain warranty and the safety and security of OnStar.
The performance-oriented 2013 Sonic RS will be available in the fourth quarter of this year. A five-door hatch, it's the only model in its segment to offer a turbocharged engine – a 138-horsepower (103 kW) Ecotec 1.4L. Other performance attributes include a sport-tuned suspension and unique exterior and interior treatments. All other Sonic models are on sale.
Chevrolet MyLink functionality varies by model. MyLink on Sonic and Spark RS does not include integrated voice recognition or Gracenotes capability.