The newly arrived Lexus UX range will be available with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in Australia before the end of the year, the Japanese luxury marque has confirmed.
Following the debut of the smartphone mirroring technology (for Lexus in Australia, at least) with the facelifted RX sometime in the fourth quarter of 2019, the entry-level UX will be the second model in the brand’s range locally to get the feature.
“The facelifted RX will be the first Lexus in Australia to gain Apple CarPlay and Android Auto technology as standard in the fourth quarter of 2019. We are finalising plans for the introduction of this technology to other Lexus models by year’s end – this includes a dealer upgrade program for existing UX owners,” a Lexus spokesperson told CarAdvice.
Going by the spokesperson’s comments, current owners of the UX will also be able to upgrade their existing infotainment systems to facilitate Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, though whether this will be carried out as a free upgrade or a cost option is yet to be confirmed at this stage.
Above: 2020 Lexus RX with Apple CarPlay
Lexus launched the UX in other markets – like North America, for example – with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto from its introduction last year, though the local arm went without due to concerns about driver distraction.
“Our corporation has real specific requirements for preventing driver distraction. So there are some things that perhaps other carmakers might let you do while driving, but that we don’t want the driver doing while rolling,” Paul Williamsen, from Lexus’ international planning division, told CarAdvice at the UX’s international launch in September last year.
“And for that, it’s surprising to us how tough it is to get a phone OS maker to acknowledge our need for that constraint.”
“Don’t get me wrong, we want the app in the car, but we need to make sure the features available through that Apple CarPlay integration don’t cause driver distraction, because when an accident happens, no one is going to sue the phone maker,” he added.
It will be interesting to see which path Lexus decides to follow, given parent company Toyota will offer a free upgrade to new-generation RAV4 owners later this year, but charge existing owners of the new Corolla and Camry.
Mazda Australia’s dealer network currently offers a retro-fit upgrade to all MZD Connect-equipped models for $495 dating back to 2014 – it’s understood Corolla and Camry owners should be charged less, however.
Stay tuned to CarAdvice for more updates in the coming months, and let us know your thoughts in the comments!