All-New Toyota, Lexus Infotainment Systems Make a World of Difference

Published on December 3, 2021 in Technology by Guillaume Rivard

If you regularly check our reviews or are familiar with the infotainment systems and interfaces in Toyota and Lexus vehicles, you know that they are not among the best and most user-friendly out there. Fortunately, that’s about to change.

Starting with the redesigned 2022 Toyota Tundra and Lexus NX, which are now on sale in Canada, all models from the Japanese automaker and its luxury brand will receive all-new systems that were specifically designed for North American drivers to be as simple, attractive and convenient as their smartphones. The roll-out will take place between now and the next couple of years.

Up to 14 Inches

The Car Guide took part in a presentation where the people at Toyota insisted on the new high-definition, high-contrast touchscreens. These can go up to 14 inches in size, which is larger than the vast majority of displays in the auto industry, while a cutting-edge glass surface almost completely eliminates glare. A practical day/night display mode is included, too, and the system’s main menu is now on the left side making it easier to use for the driver.

Photo: Lexus

Over at Lexus, physical buttons for climate control are even integrated in the lower portion of the screen. However, the main highlight—and the thing we’re most thankful for—is the fact that the awful and frustrating touchpad on the centre console (a.k.a. Remote Touch) is gone. It was about damn time.

New Virtual Assistant

The new infotainment systems also aim to reduce distractions behind the wheel by leveraging voice control. Included as standard is a new virtual assistant that comes alive when you say “Hey Toyota” or “Ok Lexus,” for example. It allows for natural language conversation and helps with in-car functions such as changing audio settings or the climate control.

When the available Drive Connect service is activated during trial or subscription periods, the intelligent assistant adds even more functionality, such as searching for nearby coffee shops, providing sports or weather information, or controlling the wipers.

Photo: Lexus

Enhanced Connectivity

The new system is faster (with five times the processing speed) and comes with better connection via Bluetooth. Up to five devices can be paired including two at the same time.

What’s more, with the new user profiles (up to three), drivers can store preferred vehicle settings via the mobile app. The settings will automatically be recognized when they return to the vehicle. No more having to readjust everything each time a different person gets behind the wheel. The user profiles are also transferrable to any other Toyota or Lexus equipped with the new multimedia system.

By the way, every model receives a three-year trial subscription to Remote Connect along with up to five years of complimentary Service Connect. Using the app, owners can remotely start their engine, lock/unlock the doors and receive vehicle health reports, for instance. In addition, every model gets a three-year trial subscription to Safety Connect, which offers 24/7 Emergency Assistance, Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Locator and more.

Photo: Le Guide de l'auto

Cloud Navigation

Toyota went to great legnths to improve its navigation system and experience, which the reps at the presentation compared to Google Maps. With Connected Services activated and the available Drive Connect Cloud Navigation, the map screen can be explored with zoom, pan and tilt functionality with intuitive touch control. Furthermore, the Cloud Navigation includes Google POI search capability and allows drivers to share their ETA with contacts in their phone book.

Cloud connectivity also enables over-the-air updates to the system and navigation so the vehicle will always be up to date. And if you still prefer to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, both are supported wirelessly as standard.

Photo: Lexus
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