Will this be the piece of software that finally solves the headache that is the in-car infotainment system?
The widespread adoption of computers has without a doubt changed society, and generally, this has been for the better. Inside the car, however, automakers and computer programmers still struggle to design the computers that power navigation, climate control, and multimedia functions in a user friendly manner, making it so that most drivers revert to using their smartphones behind the wheel. While this is certainly a danger, the jury is out on whether or not infotainment systems make using technology behind the wheel safer.
Thankfully Cadillac is trying to amend that. After doing away with the first generation of CUE, short for Cadillac User Experience, it ushered in new software that's easier to use, more responsive, and that carries extended capabilities that include onboard WiFi and access to the latest local traffic and weather information. Our experience with CUE uncovered a solid infotainment software system, far from the worst, but equally as far from being easy to use thanks to a complicated layout that feels cluttered and takes time to read through. That won't be the case once the new Cadillac CTS is out because coming equipped in the refreshed 2017 CTS models will be the newest rendition of CUE.
Aside from highlights like a predictive navigation system, a fully stocked app suite, and cloud-based driver preferences that make it easy to retain settings when switching vehicles (perfect for Book by Cadillac subscribers), the system has had a major overhaul that makes it easier to use. Logic dictates that the best user experience with an infotainment system is one that minimizes the time needed to interact with it while offering a variety of controls, either on the touchscreen itself or by using a set of centrally mounted buttons (ideally both), to help shorten that time.
That's why Cadillac decided to code the functionality that mimics the best smartphone apps and software practices into CUE to make the screen easy to read and feel less cluttered. After the newest version of CUE debuts on the CTS, it will migrate to the new XTS and ATS sedans coming in 2018 as well as on subsequent model releases. Unfortunately, current Cadillac owners will not be able to upgrade, which means they'll miss out on the new cloud-based features like real time fuel prices and parking information. Buyers will be treated to a free year of CUE's connected services while Apple Car Play and Android Auto will remain standard in case driver's don't care to renew the subscription.