What is a Car Infotainment System, and How Do They Work?

01st Feb 2024

By Ellie Brown

What is an infotainment system?

Infotainment systems now play a crucial role in today's vehicles, adding a touch of convenience and enjoyment to our journeys. Beyond the traditional dashboard functions, these systems offer various features that go beyond simple audio controls.

From touchscreen displays and smartphone integration to voice recognition, infotainment systems have evolved to meet modern needs, making both daily drives and long commutes smoother and more engaging.

Discover everything you need to know about infotainment systems below, including what they are, how they work, and the interesting features they offer. Plus, explore some of the most popular infotainment systems from the UK's most popular manufacturers.

How does an infotainment system work?

Ford SYNC Infotainment Screen

An infotainment system operates as a multimedia interface within a vehicle, adding technology, entertainment, and connectivity to the driving experience. At its core, a central processing unit (CPU) acts as the system's brain, executing commands and ensuring functionality.

Running on a specialised operating system, the system features a user-friendly interface typically displayed on a touchscreen, allowing easy navigation through functions.

Benefitting from connectivity options like Bluetooth and navigation, the system integrates with external devices for hands-free calls and internet access to improve safety while driving.

What features are available in an infotainment system?

Renault OpenR Infotainment Screen

Infotainment systems in modern vehicles come equipped with a diverse array of features, aiming to enhance the driving experience. These features often go beyond traditional audio controls, offering a comprehensive suite of functionalities. Below are some common features found in infotainment systems:

  • Audio playback: Access to various audio sources, including radio, USB drives, Bluetooth, and streaming services
  • Navigation: GPS sat nav with real-time maps, turn-by-turn directions, and traffic updates
  • Smartphone integration: Smartphone mirroring including compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless connectivity and app access
  • Voice recognition: Hands-free control of various functions, from making calls to adjusting settings
  • Camera systems: Integration with rearview cameras and, in some cases, 360-degree camera systems for enhanced safety
  • Gesture controls: Some advanced systems feature gesture recognition for hands-free operation
  • In-car functions: Adjusting climate control, customising vehicle preferences such as seat positions, and controlling various safety features

Best Infotainment Systems

There are several infotainment systems that stand out for their convenient features, catering to various tech preferences, and adding both connectivity and enjoyment to the daily drive. Manufacturers have crafted these systems to enhance the driving experience. Here are some popular choices:

Infotainment Systems Explained

Most vehicles these days are kitted out with the latest technology and safety equipment, and the infotainment system is typically the host for these features, making it a convenient hub for all your entertainment needs.

Whether you're looking for a brand-new or used car with a clever infotainment system or simply want to know more information on how the systems work, we trust our handy guide has answered any queries you might have.

For more helpful advice and information, head to our blog section, which is home to is home to a wide range of insights to help you get to grips on the various features of your vehicle.