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Honda adopts Apple CarPlay, Android Auto for 2016 Accord

At its Silicon Valley lab, the automaker unveils its new Accord, with a slightly redesigned front end and LED lighting. But the biggest change is a new infotainment interface featuring rival systems from Apple and Google.

2016 Honda Accord
Honda showed off its 2016 Accord during a press event in Silicon Valley. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

Honda revealed a refreshed Accord on Thursday for the 2016 model year, giving its bread-and-butter midsize sedan a restyled front end and adopting LED lighting. One of the bigger changes is a new infotainment interface that now lets drivers use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are gaining rapid acceptance by automakers. GM previously announced most of its 2016 model year cars would offer these features, and Hyundai is making them available in its Sonata midsize sedan, with more models promised. Honda is the latest automaker to show off a production implementation.

The Accord shows Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on its lower touchscreen. Wayne Cunningham/CNET

On the dashboard, both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto mirror smartphone apps that are useful and safe for a driver. The driver can control apps such as navigation, messaging and audio through dashboard controls or voice command. Rather than replace a car's existing infotainment system, these features give drivers the option of using their smartphones' familiar functionality, though the phone needs to be cabled to the car's USB port.

Honda's implementation takes advantage of its unique two-screen approach, which sets one LCD at the top of the dash, and another touchscreen-enabled LCD lower down. Most of the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality appear on the lower screen, though a Honda spokesperson told CNET that some information, such as the current audio track or turn-by-turn navigation, will appear on the upper screen, giving drivers multiple information sources.

The 2016 Honda Acccord should begin appearing in dealer showrooms later this year. Pricing and regional availability has not yet been announced.