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Why Lexus and Toyota’s Infotainment Desperately Needs an Overhaul

Infotainment has become a major influencing factor when purchasing a car. More and more drivers are doing their research about a vehicle’s infotainment system before making a final decision. They want the right apps, features, and connectivity that will enhance their driving experience. It’s surprising to find that two very popular brands – Lexus and Toyota – actually have the worst infotainment systems.

From problems with voice recognition to crashing apps to a really weird set-up, Lexus and parent company Toyota have racked up a whole slew of infotainment issues. These automakers are going to have to step up this important aspect for their 2021 vehicles. 

What’s the problem with Lexus’ and Toyota’s infotainment systems?

Lexus and Toyota are infamous for their subpar infotainment packages. They’ve been having trouble for years, and prospective buyers keep waiting for them to fix it with every new model that’s released. 

Back in 2016, Lexus released a faulty update that actually crashed their infotainment system, according to Motor1. The problem left the whole infotainment system inoperable. Drivers were unable to use the radio or the heat and air conditioning, along with many other things. 

One common problem with the infotainment system is the lack of compatibility. Apple CarPlay often doesn’t work no matter how hard you try. Apple CarPlay usually works in any other car as soon as you plug in your phone, but not with both Lexus and Toyota. You’d probably think it will work through Bluetooth, but nope – that often doesn’t work either. 

In addition to its numerous functional problems, the whole layout of the infotainment unit is a mess. The strange set-up has a screen (a screen that’s really too far away from the driver) that’s controlled by a touchpad on the center console. Many people don’t even like the touchpad on a laptop – why would anyone think it’s a good idea in a car? It’s awkward to use and makes navigating through screens a real pain. It is better than the previous joystick control, so at least that’s one small step in the right direction. 

Which models got left behind?

RELATED: 3 Annoying Features on the 2020 Lexus UX 250h

The Toyota Entune system supports Apple CarPlay in all 2020 vehicles except the Land Cruiser. Push-to-talk compatibility is only available in the 4 Runner, C-HR, Camry, Corolla Hatchback, Highlander, RAV4, Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra.

Android users will have a bigger problem with Toyota’s infotainment system, however. Very few of their 2020 vehicles support Android Auto – only the 4Runner, Sequoia, Tacoma, and Tundra. 

For drivers looking to buy a Lexus, you’ll find pretty much the same situation. 2020 Lexus models that support Apple CarPlay include the LC, LS, UX, RC, RC F, ES, NX, and RX. Much like Toyota, the models that support Android Auto are far fewer – RX, RC, UX, and some ES and NX models. 

How can Lexus and Toyota step up the infotainment systems?

Lexus and Toyota need to make their infotainment systems much more user-friendly. The screens were positioned too far from the driver (a situation that was rectified in the 2021 Lexus IS, among other models), the touchpad is outdated and uncomfortable to use. It’s difficult to use the navigation while driving or even to change songs or find music. 

The voice recognition needs to be vastly improved. If drivers were able to use voice recognition successfully, it would eliminate the need to bother with the fussy touch pads at all. Most Lexus and Toyota models now have touchscreens, which is a big improvement over their older infotainment systems. 

Addressing the compatibility issue is another key component in beefing up their infotainment systems. It’s incredibly frustrating that Android and Apple users cannot have the same experience while driving their car. Lexus and Toyota absolutely need to make their infotainment compatible with both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.