Cadillac Looks to Change the Dashboard with CUE
Infotainment system could steal Ford's thunder.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: July 25th, 2012
Cadillac reps are bullish on what CUE can do.
nce upon a time, Ford and GM used to try and use horsepower numbers and sticker prices as ways to outdo each other in the sales game. While both companies still brag about power in the pony-car segment and still try to beat each other on price, there's one more way in which the two are fighting each other—and their competitors—and that's in the field of in-car infotainment/multimedia systems.
Ford struck first with Sync and later with its MyFordTouch/MyLincolnTouch systems, and Cadillac has now joined the tech arms race with its CUE (Cadillac User Experience) system. Like MyFordTouch, it uses haptic feedback on the center stack, replacing traditional knobs and sliders, and like a smartphone, it uses capacitive touch on the main touch-screen.
Also like a smartphone, CUE has a home page with a list of menu choices, and it even allows users to drag an icon from the center touch screen to the instrument panel, which itself is configurable (we'll get to that later).
Cadillac reps are bullish on what CUE can do, and they recently popped by our offices to give us a taste of the system's features. We came away impressed by the idea, but we reserve full judgment on the execution until we can drive a test car so equipped.
Music lovers and sports fans will appreciate CUE's ability to preview what song is being played on any satellite-radio station at any given time (the system also preview sports scores and game times) and there's also a DVR-like time shifting system that can be used to pause live radio.
Another cool CUE trick is the ability to transfer over Facebook contacts, and a sensor in the passenger seat knows when that seat is occupied, so a passenger can access navigation-system functions that would otherwise be locked out while the car is in motion. We also liked the proximity sensor, which detected when our hands were near the touch screen and brought icons forth appropriately. The icon layout is customizable.
Cadillac reps dismiss concerns about potential driver distraction by saying that CUE has what they call the fastest processor in the industry, and by saying that voice recognition can make it easier for drivers to stay hands-free. Again, we'll hold off on judgment until we get our hands on a Caddy product that has CUE.
Speaking of Caddy products that will carry CUE, there will be a few off the bat. CUE is standard in the XTS and optional in all ATS models except for the base trim, and standard on the SRX. The company is mum on availability in other models like the CTS, or availability in other GM brands, although Chevy's MyLink will be available in that brand's Spark subcompact.
The 8-inch touch screen isn't the only nifty thing about CUE, the reconfigurable IP looks cool, and we like that icons from the touch screen can be dragged over. There are several modes to play with, with various amounts of information available. Those modes are: Simple, Enhanced, Balanced, and Performance. As an example, a driver could set the system to show a speedometer, tachometer, the navigation icon, and the phone icon.
Other features include Pandora streaming (although iPhone users will need to plug their phone in via USB, the XTS has Bluetooth but iPhones don't stream Pandora wirelessly) and the ability to tap or swipe and spread the screen via hand gesture, just as you can on your smartphone.
We're fairly impressed by what CUE can do, but we have reservations about its ability to not distract from the task at hand (in this case, driving) and given our experiences with MyFordTouch (which have been frustrating at times), we're curious to see how well the voice recognition works. Stay tuned for a full test.Related Vehicles: 2013 cadillac cts | 2013 cadillac srx | 2013 cadillac ats | 2013 cadillac xts