Seat Time is a chance for us to share our impressions of vehicles being tested in the Autoline Garage and at media previews from around the globe.
Reviewer: Chip Drake
Vehicle: 2016 Honda Civic EX
A tried and true storytelling vehicle for many a television or movie script has been the doppelganger. Now if you don’t recognize the technique by its Germanic name, chances are you will by this American description: that’s when there is a double of one of the lead characters inserted into the storyline usually for nefarious purposes.
Well recently, I encountered a doppelganger of my own and it all started on a trip to Carmel, California, better known as Clint Eastwood’s backyard.
This hamlet is a good 90-minutes or so from the larger Bay Area airports on some nice driving roads. So to take advantage of them, our friends at Honda loaned me a 2016 Honda Civic EX to drive to the event.
What could be more fun, right? A Civic equipped with Honda’s 2-Liter 4-cylinder 158 horsepower engine and a CVT tackling those great roads I mentioned before. Add to that the car had Honda’s Sensing Package with 6 safety features like Lane Keeping Assist, which gave me even more confidence that it was going to be a pressure-free drive.
But that’s when I experienced the doppelganger.
As I checked out the Civic prior to leaving the airport, I noticed that it didn’t have its own navigation. Since I needed help getting to my destination, I thought that the car might be equipped with Apple CarPlay. Though the monroney didn’t list it, knowing that Civic sales are heavy on millennials, it made sense it would it would be part of the package. I opened the center armrest storage unit, found the USB outlet and plugged in my phone. But much to my surprise nothing happened.
This was a true head scratcher because when I clicked “Settings” on the 7-inch Touchscreen Display, I got a dialogue box telling me that I needed an iPhone to engage CarPlay, which is what was already plugged into the system.
Well, I had to get to my event, so I did the next best thing which was to use my iPhone by itself. The challenge was the directional voice was not coming through the Civic’s audio system, so for the entire journey I was dividing my attention between driving and reviewing the phone’s map.
After finally arriving, I reviewed a video that a Honda Communications representative had sent me in response to my query about the setup of the Civic. It was a simple “How to use Apple CarPlay.” As I watched it a light bulb went off; it wasn’t a problem with my phone, the problem was the Civic’s doppelganger.
Yes, it turns out that the outlet I was plugged into – in the Center Storage bin — was the wrong USB. I should have hooked up in the USB port underneath the Center Stack. Once I plugged my phone in there, Apple CarPlay lit up like Times Square on New Year’s Eve.
And thank goodness it worked because I needed it. Having to leave at 4am on my return trip to the airport, CarPlay took me right there. With turn-by- turn directions on the Touchscreen and Siri doing the audio backup, it was heaven compared to the drive down. In fact you might even call it fun.
So the moral of my story is beware of doppelgangers. Whether you experience them through famous episodes of the original Star Trek (“Mirror, Mirror”) or comedies like Seinfeld (“The Bizzaro Jerry”), remember that it’s not just a TV Series that can create confusing doubles; Sometimes they’re disguised as harmless USB ports as well.