It’s hard to put down the smartphone these days, and for some people, that includes while driving. The good news is that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay make it possible to stay connected to those phones and be safer while driving. Not all vehicles are compatible though. Is the Dodge Journey?
Google’s Android Auto software is similar to Apple CarPlay and allows owners to operate their phones hands-free through their vehicle’s infotainment system. Both systems use icons on the touchscreen menu to work like smartphones. Android Auto has been around since 2015 and Apple CarPlay since 2014.
Using the phone’s apps means some functions don’t need to be built into the vehicle’s software. This includes using Google Maps instead of a vehicle’s native navigation system.
Android Auto also helps drivers make phone calls, respond verbally to texts, or listen to podcasts and music. There are lots of apps that are compatible with Android Auto, including Waze, Pandora, Spotify, Facebook Messenger, Audible, and more.
It’s easy to use Android Auto hands-free just by saying “Hey, Google” to turn on the Google Assistant. The Assistant can help drivers answer a question, play a song, read a schedule or reminder, or give the weather. While the system works hands-free, it works best if the phone is plugged in with a USB cable.
Android phones that have Lollipop 5.0 and higher, with the Android Auto app, are able to work with Android Auto in the vehicle. Phones that have Android 10 operating systems don’t need the app since Android Auto is included.
Android Auto and the Dodge Journey
FCA, which owns Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep updated its Uconnect infotainment system in 2016, making it compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. However, the company hasn’t yet included the compatible version in the Dodge Journey, even for model year 2020.
2020 Dodge Journey infotainment system
Both trim levels of the Journey have a touchscreen infotainment system; however, it doesn’t have as many features as in other Dodge vehicles. The infotainment system has Voice Command, Bluetooth, SiriusXM satellite radio, and its own navigation system.
Edmunds’ review from 2019 said the voice controls didn’t work that well, but it should help drivers make hands-free calls. The Journey comes with five-year subscriptions to SiriusXM Traffic and SiriusXM Travel Link, which provide real-time traffic updates, weather updates, movie showtimes, sports scores, and gas station information.
How to use Android Auto anyway
Don’t worry that the Journey isn’t compatible with Android Auto. The Android Auto app can still be used in the Journey. Drivers will need to use their phone’s screen rather than the infotainment screen though. With the phone paired to the Journey’s Bluetooth, the Android Auto app can be set to launch automatically.
This allows the driver to use Android Auto’s simplified menu with its larger icons. Voice commands and the Google Assistant are also available. Even without the Android Auto app, smartphones can be paired to the infotainment system using either Bluetooth or a USB cable to let the phone use the Journey’s speakers.
Tech and safety in the Journey
In keeping with the lack of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, the Journey also doesn’t have much technology or many advanced safety features.
It only has one USB port, which is located up front. The Journey also doesn’t have great safety ratings and also doesn’t come with advanced driver-assistance technology features. Its only safety feature is rear parking sensors. Buyers who pick the Family Entertainment Group do get a nine-inch flip-down overhead screen for the second row.
Car and Driver call the 2020 Dodge Journey a practical choice for budget-conscious families, but it’s not the vehicle to get if Android Auto compatibility is on your must-have list.