You'll handle this task (and most others, really) on what looks like an Android tablet grafted onto the car's center console. Android P isn't optimized for cars out of the gate, so Volvo had to handle much of the interface work here. Unsurprisingly, it skinned Android P to resemble its existing Sensus interface, which features four constantly updating rows: from top to bottom, we have Google Maps, media, your phone, and calendar entries. They're all pretty self-explanatory, but there a few things worth noting. Google's Maps completely replaces Volvo's own navigation system and works as well as it always does (assuming your in-car network connection is working the way it should). More importantly, you can feel free to jump into your media or other apps while Maps navigation is running, since the turn-by-turn readout is also pushed to a secondary display in the middle of the dashboard.
Poke around the tablet long enough and you'll find a Play Store icon that ushers you into Google's in-car marketplace. It's definitely not the Play Store you're probably used to, though: Google told us there are "thousands of apps" that have been pre-approved for use on in-car Android systems, though most of the ones I got to try were streaming services like Spotify and Deezer. There are a few limitations to keep in mind, though. For one, Google says — for now, anyway — that you can't download and install apps while you're driving. Fair enough. It's important to note that you more than likely can't interact with some apps the way you would on your smartphone, either. We're told that you couldn't, say, skim through the entirety of your Google Play Music library on the touchscreen to find a song — the experience is limited to a couple of different interactions that are already enabled in Android Auto today. For that, you're better off holding down a button on the steering wheel and asking Google Assistant for some help.
That doesn't mean you can't interact via touch with these apps at all. Swiping to the left on, say, the bar icon for currently playing media provides quick playback and save controls. Developers are in charge of defining which actions you can perform with a swipe and a tap, but if you've seen media and app controls take up residence in your Android phone's notification shade, you basically know exactly what to expect.