CarPlay and Android Auto now available on older Mazda models

But the upgrade isn't cheap.

Mazda has lagged behind other car manufacturers when it's come to introducing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to its range, only bringing them in as standard from the 2018 Mazda 6 and 2019 CX-9 and CX-5. Now, though, the technology can be retrofitted to all vehicles equipped with Mazda Connect from the 2014 model year. But the upgrade doesn't come cheap.

For $199 plus labor costs, Mazda owners can get the dealer-installed upgrade with smartphone integration capabilities, plus hardware tweaks that will add more powerful, faster-charging 2.1-amp USB ports. Some owners are reporting a total cost of around $400, which seems like a lot. Nonetheless, the price point isn't a million miles away from that of other manufacturers'. CarPlay is a $300 option on 2017 BMW models, and that requires the vehicle to already have the $2,000 navigation package in place. Plus, the cheapest aftermarket CarPlay and Android Auto head units retail for around $300, and that's not including installation costs. And Mazda deserves some credit for making the retrofit an option in the first place -- a lot of other automakers would have simply suggested you buy a new model.

Update 11/27/18 05:25 ET: A previous version of this post claimed that Mazda's infotainment screens are not touchscreen. This is incorrect. The touchscreen feature is disabled when the vehicle is in motion. The multi-function commander knob, shortcut buttons and voice commands operate at all times.