Mazda Announces CarPlay Support for 2018 Mazda6

At a press event at the New York International Auto Show this afternoon, Mazda announced plans to bring CarPlay to its vehicle lineup for the first time.

The new 2018 Mazda6 will be the first Mazda vehicle to offer support for both CarPlay and Android Auto in the United States, with Mazda planning to introduce the feature this summer.

The CarPlay announcement is at 5:59 in the video

CarPlay will be available as an upgrade option on all 2018 Mazda6 models with Touring trim level and above, and customers who have already purchased a Mazda6 when CarPlay compatibility rolls out will be able to get the feature added to their vehicles.

Mazda's press event did not mention CarPlay support for other vehicles, including the newly announced CX-3, which has left some Mazda owners upset that Mazda did not make it clear whether or not CarPlay would be available in older Mazda vehicles, a feature Mazda has promised in the past.

A press release on the Canadian Mazda site offers up additional CarPlay information, but it is not yet clear whether it also pertains to the U.S., and we've asked Mazda for clarification. Mazda's Canadian site says CarPlay will be added to the 2019 CX-9 and then made available as a retrofit for Mazda Connect systems this fall.

During the press conference, Mazda also announced the addition of Apple CarPlayTM and AndroidTM Auto support to its vehicle line-up. In Canada, these mobile device connectivity technologies will first be offered in the 2019 CX‑9 launching this summer, and then rolled out across the entire model line-up thereafter. In addition, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be available as a Genuine Mazda Accessory retrofit for MAZDA CONNECT systems starting this fall.

Mazda has been promising to add CarPlay support to its vehicles for quite some time and has been listed as a CarPlay partner since CarPlay's 2014 debut. Mazda said as recently as January that it's still committed to CarPlay despite the fact that the feature has yet to become available in Mazda cars.

In March of 2017, Mazda said that CarPlay, when introduced, would be "retroactively upgradeable onto all Mazda Connect systems with a potentially minimal hardware addition needed." Mazda Connect was first introduced in Mazda vehicles in 2014, which means quite a few Mazda vehicles will be eligible for the upgrade should Mazda make good on its promise.

CarPlay was slow to roll out, but since 2016, auto manufacturers have been adopting it at a rapid pace. CarPlay is now available in over 300 car models from a wide range of manufacturers.

Related Roundup: CarPlay

Top Rated Comments

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33 months ago
Kudos to Mazda. They're one of the few companies that still make cars that are actually fun to drive, and retroactive support for older models is never a bad thing.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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33 months ago

Will my 1976 Mazda support car play?

Yes, with a modern head unit.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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33 months ago
Good grief, it's about time. I bought another car last time (Honda Civic) because it supported CarPlay and no Mazdas did. Since I liked the two cars roughly equally, that was the determining factor. Mazda literally lost a ~$30K car sale because of dragging their feet on this.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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33 months ago
It is my belief that Mazda USA president Masahiro Moro misspoke during the press event today. The 2018 Mazda6 models are ALREADY hitting dealers or they are about to hit dealers (they started arriving in port last week). These existing 2018 Mazda6 models do NOT yet have CarPlay. Further, I was told that Mazda won't be adding the necessary hardware for CarPlay (I think they mean the Apple MiFi chip) to production 2018 Mazda6 models until this Summer. Then next, existing 2018 Mazda6 models will be upgraded (yes, partly a hardware upgrade plus software) to feature CarPlay. After that, the same hardware/software upgrade will be available to all Mazda models and years that have Mazda Connect infotainment systems (the "retrofit" that the Mazda Canada press release mentions).

I'm told the hardware change will be the module that contains the SD card slot (for navigation), the 2 USB ports, and the AUX input port. That little module is identical in shape and design between all Mazda models with Mazda Connect infotainment. Dealerships will probably charge a fee to remove the old USB module and replace it with the upgraded module and install the new firmware/software.

Clearly, Mazda Canada did a better job with their press release. I'm hoping Mazda North America (USA) issues a press release to clarify the situation.

Mark
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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33 months ago

I highly doubt anyone with a Mazda older than 2018 will be able to get it retroactively loaded. Mazda is in the business of selling cars, with probably very little concern of older vehicles.

1-2 year old vehicles probably aren't on deck to be sold/traded-in, so releasing it to a couple of previous MYs would build outstanding customer loyalty. Especially if the hardware is essentially the same - this is exactly what happened with Ford, they announced CP for a number of 2017 vehicles, and said it would be released for the same 2016 models (that had the exact same headunit spec, just no Carplay/Android-Auto). Sure enough, while it was a long time coming, and months late, they did finally release an official CP/AA update for 2016s (though many of us updated months in advance with a leaked firmware ...).

For CP, it also required a ~$50 MFi compliant USB hub/ports that was about a 5 minute swap for the original part (i.e., "minimal hardware needed").
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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33 months ago
The car industry (with a few high end exceptions) is always years behind what consumers want NOW to interface devices with vehicles. I remember after the iPod came out I couldn't find a car with a simple Aux input to connect my iPod. All sorts of shaggy solutions in lieu of a direct line in on the face plate of the radio/CD player (circa 2005).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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