The Volvo XC90 is the latest model to get Apple CarPlay, courtesy of a software update getting disseminated by the Swedish carmaker. The same update includes some other new connectivity features as well.
Volvo says its CarPlay integration is unlike that of other automakers. It allows use of other vehicle and infotainment functions related to the onboard Sensus Connect system without jumping in and out of the CarPlay app. The XC90’s portrait touchscreen is also unusual in new cars outside of a Tesla Model S or Model X.
CarPlay adds a layer of Apple-specific functionality and aesthetics to automotive smartphone integration. It lets iPhone users access certain phone features through a car’s built-in controls, which is thought to reduce distraction. Volvo was named as one of the first carmakers to sign up for CarPlay when the system was unveiled last year, but now it’s just one of many offering the feature.
The software update containing CarPlay also includes Pandora, Yelp, and Find Parking apps. Volvo is also using this opportunity to update navigation maps and traffic information, and to make tweaks that improve the “speech input and performance” of the voice-control system.
Owners will have to make appointments with their Volvo dealers to have the update installed. Those who took delivery before November 23 get CarPlay for free, but customers who got their cars after that date will have to pay $300. Pandora, Yelp, Find Parking, and the navigation and traffic-information updates are complimentary for all owners.
The XC90 itself went on sale in the U.S. earlier this year. It’s the first Volvo model to use the company’s new Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, which will be one of just two platforms used for all Volvo models going forward. Those underpinnings are shared with the upcoming 2017 S90 sedan, which will likely be the next Volvo model to get CarPlay.