Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports: Mobile Phone Car Systems

Government data show hundreds of people a year are killed in car accidents involving cell phones. New car info-tainment systems are designed to keep drivers connected without having to reach for their phones.

Products similar to Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto, which is compatible with Android phones. Most car makers will be offering both systems in their upcoming models.

Consumer Reports' electronics and auto experts hit the road to check them out.

"This is distracting. There's no doubt about it. But is it less distracting than actually picking up your phone and using the phone while you drive? It's certainly better," said Jake Fisher of Consumer Reports.

The systems offer hands-free calling and texting. They also offer navigation that runs right off your phone, allowing you to access your addresses.

In addition, every time your phone's software is upgraded, so is the system. So isn't mounting your phone on your dashboard just as good?

"You get the same functionality. What you don't get is the bigger screen," Fisher said. "You don't necessarily get all the integration into your car. I would say if your car comes with this you are going to wind up using it."

One downside of using an infotainment system that's connected to your phone: data usage. Navigation and streaming music like Pandora or Spotify all eat away at your data plan.

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be in many cars soon, including the 2016 Chevy Tahoe, Volkswagen Jetta and Cadillac ATS.

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