Photos: 2014 Chevy Impala to mark debut of next-gen MyLink system

A lot will undoubtedly be made of Chevrolet’s flagship sedan – the 2014 Chevy Impala – when it goes on sale next spring, but besides reimagining one of the brand’s most iconic nameplates, the 2014 Impala will also mark the debut of Chevrolet’s next-generation MyLink infotainment system.

The next-generation MyLink will mark a series of firsts for the automaker and underline an effort to make its latest interface the most customizable user experience out there. According to Chevrolet, drivers will be able to store up to 60 favorites including radio stations (AM/FM/XM), contacts, destinations, music and other media.

The interface and graphical layout in both the instrument cluster and center console of the next-generation MyLink will let drivers pick from four distinct “personalities” or themes: Contemporary, Edge, Velocity, and Main Street. As of right now we have no idea how these themes will differentiate from one another, but we imagine Edge and Velocity won’t be for the faint of heart, while Main Street will see us ditching our youthful benevolence for some soul-sapping conservative motif – we kid, but seriously we have no idea.

From the sound of it though, customization is king, and unlike the current iteration, the next-gen MyLink will allow both the instrument cluster and center stack to be completely configurable, allowing for a much more streamlined and personal touch. The thought process here being that users can place all the relevant info they want in the instrument cluster, located behind the steering wheel, minimizing, or eliminating the need to look at the center screen altogether.

Speaking of screens, drivers will have choice between a standard 4.2-inch LCD touchscreen and an upgraded 8-inch version. Chevrolet says it has designed the interface to closely resemble that of a smartphone or tablet, right down to the intuitive swipe, drag, pinch, and fling interaction so many of us have become accustomed to. Those who like to stream music from their smartphones will be happy to learn that the next-gen MyLink will support Bluetooth streaming as well.

More than simple customization, however, is the debut of Chevrolet’s natural-language voice recognition technology, which allows customers to intuitively place calls, enter destinations, browse media, play music and control other functions by simply speaking out commands. Rather than having to remember key phrases, the next-gen MyLink should allow users to interact with their vehicle in a less robotic, more natural way, and with a microphone located nearer to the driver, voice commands should be understood and heard without much fuss.

“MyLink in the new Impala provides our customers with a total driver experience,” said Nina Mital, next-generation MyLink program manager in the company’s press release. “With the natural voice recognition, it’s like having a conversation with your vehicle.”

While it is set to make its debut in the 2014 Impala, Chevrolet says that users can expect the next-gen infotainment system to eventually make its way into other 2014 model year vehicles including upcoming full-size trucks and SUVs and the much anticipated Corvette.

While we haven’t had any interaction with the next-gen MyLink, we’re excited to give our impressions once we get some hands-on time this week at the LA Auto Show.