10 cars you might not know have Amazon Alexa
"Alexa, tell me about cars that have... er, you."
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It seems like only the other day that Star Trek made us all imagine a crazy, tech-packed future, where we could walk up to a hole in the wall and bark TEA, EARL GREY, HOT in a strong English accent, and be rewarded with instant refreshment.
But that’s not the future anymore. It’s the now. Well, the speaking at things bit, anyway. Alexa can’t summon up piping hot Brit-juice from thin air. YET.
What I’m saying is that voice control has come a long way in recent years. What was once a massively unreliable feature in cars that no one ever used is now a massive industry, with all the big tech players bidding to outdo each other in how useful their virtual assistants are in day-to-day life. And Amazon's Alexa is leading the way.
You may well already have one or more of its Echo devices in your house, turning on all your lights or reminding you to take your dinner out of the oven before it sets off the fire alarm. But did you know you can also have it in your car? Well, you can, and here are just some of the cars that have Alexa. Remember – you can always check to see how to add Alexa to your car.
If you’re wafting about in Audi’s latest fully-electric SUV then you don’t really want to be doing anything as old fashioned as pushing buttons. The E-Tron has Alexa built into its MMI infotainment system, and once you’ve set up your Audi account to access all its features you can link it to your Alexa account. Then Alexa is yours to command from a button on the steering wheel.
Why not try: “Alexa, what's the weather like in Munich?”
Quite a few BMW models feature can have Alexa through BMW's Connected app, but we just wanted an excuse to admire the i3's funky form. Despite being a bit older than the other cars on this list, it's still a smart object, and those suicide rear doors still make it an exceptionally practical small car. Oh, and James May is a serial i3 owner, so they must be decent.
Should you have an i3, or in fact should you have any suitable BMW, you can enable Alexa by making sure you have the BMW Connected phone app, then going through your iDrive menu in the car to the Amazon Alexa vehicle app. Enter all your details and bingo, you can press the voice button on the steering wheel and bark orders.
Why not try: “Alexa, what's the world's coolest car?"
Chevrolet Corvette C8
The latest Corvette has Alexa built in from the factory, and it links up with the infotainment system as well as letting you get directions, play music and control your smart home using Alexa voice commands. So as well as pranking your other half by turning the kitchen lights off while you’re out driving, you can also ask Alexa for directions to, say, a coffee shop. Or, more likely, somewhere that sells rear tyres. On top of that, you can enable the MyChevrolet skill for Alexa and then use an Alexa-enabled device to remotely start the car (you need an active remote service subscription). That's pretty cool.
Why not try: “Alexa, give me directions to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Kentucky”.
The Mustang is one of a whole phalanx of Fords that have Alexa. Make sure you’ve got the Ford+Alexa app on your smartphone, then sign in with your Amazon account, fire up the car, and connect your phone via the AppLink function. Then make sure you don’t give a lift to anyone whose name is actually Alexa, because things could get complicated very quickly.
Why not try: “Alexa, play Mustang Sally.”
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Lamborghini hasn’t always been the first to introduce cutting edge digital infotainment technology, preferring instead to focus on exterior angles that could cut through diamonds and pipes that could deafen a small town. But in the future the Huracan Evo family will include Alexa as standard, which means you can adjust all sorts of in-car settings using just your melodious voice. Adjust the air-conditioning, change the interior lighting, turn on the seat heaters or ask what the latest weather forecast is. You can also ask Alexa to play some music, but we're not sure why you’d want to do that rather than listen to the engine noise.
Why not try: “Alexa, what is a bull?”
Lexus RC F
Lexus’s sleek V8-powered coupe aims to mix Lexus luxury (Lexury?) with large capacity performance, and now that recipe includes Alexa as well. As long as you’ve got the Lexus+Alexa app installed, as well as Lexus’s Enform App Suite, you can connect everything up through Bluetooth and then fire it up via the car’s infotainment apps menu. You can then use the integrated navigation system using only the power of your MIND. Oh, sorry, voice. Not mind. Yet.
Why not try: “Alexa, what is a V8?”
Lincoln’s big ol’ SUV is regularly seen chauffeuring celebrities around, but are any of them as famous as Alexa? Well, maybe. Some of them are pretty famous I guess. But we’ll bet that if you ask Serena Williams to give you directions to your house and also add eggs to your shopping list, she won’t be as pleased to do it as Alexa. Using the Lincoln+Alexa app you’ll be able to find out if that's the case. Assuming you can also convince Serena to take part in your little experiment.
Why not try: “Alexa, who is David Beckham?”
If you want a voice assistant and double rear doors, then the Clubman is your only real option. Apart from maybe a delivery van, but they’re not as nice inside. So make sure you have the MINI Connected app on your phone, hook your phone up to the car, authorize Alexa integration and just press the voice button on the steering wheel.
Why not try: “Alexa, when was the Italian Job released?”
In case you’ve not been paying attention, Rivian is a new all-electric manufacturer that’s about to drop its R1T pickup and R1S SUV onto the world. As well as all the usual Alexa features that you’d find at home, Rivian says its built-in system will have all sorts of in-car functionality, from changing the climate control and opening the trunk. In addition, you’ll be able to use your home Echo Show device to access the truck’s built in camera and see if you’ve left anything in there, all from the comfort of your armchair.
Why not try: “Alexa, where’s the nearest charging station?”
The Camry is the first Toyota to be equipped with the Linux-based Entune 3.0 operating system in its infotainment system, and that opens it up to be able to do all sorts of clever stuff. One of its party pieces is hosting Alexa. To make it work, just download the Toyota+Alexa app and sign into your Amazon account to get started. Boom. You’re connected to the world of tomorrow, today.
Why not try: “Alexa, what’s the best selling car in the world?” Hint: it's not actually the Camry.
Find out how to add Alexa to your car
Amazon's got a handy site that tells you exactly how to enable Alexa in your car.