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CarPlay and Android Auto now available on older Mazda models

But the upgrade isn't cheap.
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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.

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