Smartphones are undeniably an integral part of our lives. And to make our lives easier around it, one of the world’s largest car manufacturer, Volkswagen has introduced the ‘Connect’ App that allows users to connect their smartphones to their car via a plug and play dongle that is fitted on to the on-board diagnostic set-up of the car. The Connect App is available for both Android and iOS. Connection between the device and the smartphone is established via Bluetooth to provide a one-touch access to details like trip calculator, location sharing, driving behaviour, booking a service appointment, fuel cost monitoring and more.
The one we tested, was the Volkswagen Passat Highline with the Connect app. The app can be downloaded from the Play Store for the Android device, while Apple users can download it from the App Store. Once the app is downloaded, the user needs to register on the app and login with the unique PIN. Although easy to install, the manual does not give out too many details and it takes a bit of an effort to figure out things especially if you are not too comfortable with modern technology. For the most part of it, the step by step instructions on the app is easy enough to understand.
For those who prefer being driven around rather than get behind the wheel, the My Volkswagen section gives a detailed list on when and how much you have filled up. Set the current fuel prices in your city and the app will also help read out the monthly expense. For cars owned by the company for official duty or for owners who prefer maintaining a documented record of their trips, the app lets the user view and export the date, time, duration, distance and costs of the trips conveniently in a PDF format.
Interestingly, the app monitors the start and end of every trip to provide the driving statistics. The statistics provide a detailed analysis of driving style that includes various parameters such as engine speed, accelerating, braking, car speed and coolant temperature.
In the event of a breakdown, the roadside assistance feature in the app helps you connect with the nearest dealership effortlessly and ensures that help will come sometime soon. The owner can also send service appointment requests across authorized dealerships in the country.
The parking locator is particularly useful when you park the vehicle in a large parking lot. The app uses the last known location when the phone was paired with the Connect app. In short, it uses the last known location on your phone and one has to ensure that he/she ends the trip once the car has been parked. It is important to note that failing to terminate the trip continues to log the journey time even when you are on your foot. The app can also send information about your parking location.
To encourage better driving practices and improve driver engagement, the app provides different tasks and challenges that give out points and trophies as you go. Overall, the app is a good option for regular commuters, however, the downfall is that the app does not record data when not connected to the vehicle, which means you need to be in or around the vehicle for real-time data monitoring.