Jaco Van Der Merwe

By Jaco Van Der Merwe

Head of Motoring

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay adds to Suzuki Baleno’s appeal

Driver can access navigation, make hand-free calls and listen to streamed music from a connected phone.

Not that long ago, an aftermarket GPS was near the top of the wish-lists of most motorists who didn’t already have the luxury of an expensive built-in SatNav system.

Once you owned one of those beauties, it was goodbye to map books forever. The state-of-the-art technology stuck to the inside of your windscreen and plugged into the car’s 12V power supply was the way to go.

But as cars became connected and live route maps offered online, the aftermarket GPS became redundant. It did not provide real-time route information and the once-desirable global positioning system wasn’t much more useful than that map book you tossed away years ago.

Suzuki Baleno keeps you connected

For those who don’t drive a connected car which features SatNav (they usually come at a premium), it is simply case of using a real-time route map on your phone.

Better yet, most new cars allow smartphone connectivity, which means you can view your phone’s live maps on a bigger screen on your car’s infotainment system.

The Citizen Motoring’s long-term Suzuki Baleno GL manual is one of those cars. One of the many things you’ll find on its generous specification list is Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. We write this in many new car reviews on these pages, but rarely explain what nifty features these are.

These terms refer to software which enables you to connect your phone to the car, mostly via cable, like in the case of the Baleno, but some cars do feature wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

After downloading a free app on your phone, it connects to the car, allowing the driver to access navigation, make hand-free calls, to access messages and e-mail, listen to stored music or streamed audio, plus a variety of other apps like news services.

ALSO READ: Which is better, Suzuki Baleno or Toyota Starlet?

Suzuki Baleno
The Suzuki Baleno GL is a small car with big features.

All you need is data

All of these are conveniently displayed on the car’s infotainment screen, which is a seven-inch colour touchscreen in the case of the Baleno GL. This can be accessed via the buttons on the multi-function steering wheel.

The only catch is that you have to use mobile data to access all the real-time apps, as Suzuki’s cars don’t feature complimentary on-board data yet.

ALSO READ: New Suzuki Baleno: Here’s what you need to know from A to Z

But if you take the Suzuki Baleno GL manual’s price of R225 900 into consideration – and the fact that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay allow it to do what the built-in SatNav systems in much more expensive products do – coughing up for data is a small price to pay. Even at the criminally expensive rate we are charged for it.

For more information on the Suzuki Baleno, visit the manufacturer’s website.

Read more on these topics

Motoring News Suzuki Baleno Toyota Starlet