Toyota Thinks One Upgrade Can Fix More Than 20 Models

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The new system promises to fix many of the previous version's shortcomings.

Toyota consistently earns top marks for dependability and quality, but the company isn't perfect. Infotainment software, the main point of interaction with newer vehicles, has long been an issue for Toyota Lexus and a significant drawback to owning one of their vehicles. However, that will change over the next few years as the pair roll out a next-generation interface.

Toyota was painfully slow to adopt what are now considered relatively basic features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but the auto giant appears to have learned from its mistakes. A company executive told Automotive News that the rollout of new infotainment tech will be "the fastest ramp-up that we've ever had for a multimedia system."

Toyota Toyota 2023 Toyota bZ4X Dashboard Toyota 2023 Toyota bZ4X Infotainment System Toyota
2023 Toyota bZ4X Dashboard
2023 Toyota bZ4X Infotainment System

The 2022 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup was the first Toyota, and the 2022 Lexus NX was the first Lexus to get the new interface that has been revolutionary. This system will soon show up in the 2023 Corolla Cross - in the subcompact's second year on the market. Toyota says it will expand the new system to 20 vehicles over the next three years, but a small number of niche vehicles may take longer than that. That timeframe is roughly half the time it would typically take Toyota to fully release a new system into the wild.

Toyota's infotainment systems have long been described as clunky and difficult to use. Even simple interactions could require multiple screen taps, making the system distracting to fiddle with while driving. The new interface promises a smoother, more intuitive experience, with streamlined menus and a refined appearance. Over-the-air updates are now possible, giving Toyota the ability to fix issues and release new functionality without the owner needing to take a vehicle to a dealer. A new digital key function allows using a smartphone instead of a physical key.

Toyota Central Console Toyota Toyota McLaren Charlotte
Central Console

Other improvements to the software come with cloud-based user profiles. Different drivers can store their preferences for radio settings, seat position, and other vehicle configurations. Once stored, they can take those preferences to other Toyota vehicles.

Toyota hasn't outlined the timing for the full expansion of its new infotainment system, but it's already in the new bZ4X EV and is expected to come to the RAV4 later this year, so the process is well underway. Even so, the move only helps Toyota get up to speed in the industry, not become a leader in infotainment, as many of Toyota's rivals have offered desirable bonuses like over-the-air updates for a while now.

Toyota Dashboard Layout Toyota Toyota 2014-2021 Toyota 4Runner Steering Wheel CarBuzz
Dashboard Layout
2014-2021 Toyota 4Runner Steering Wheel
Source Credits: Automotive News

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