Volvo is making 3G connectivity standard across its cars, with the company’s Sensus Connect infotainment system now standard on all US models, functioning as a WiFi hotspot, remote control gateway, and more. All 2015 Volvo cars will include web music streaming support, including Pandora, TuneIn, and Rdio, as well as Yelp POI reviews, Glimpse location-sharing, and live weather updates, served through an AT&T connection.
There’s also support for internet access and text-to-speech messaging, along with vehicle tracking and 24/7 roadside assistance.
Higher-spec models, outfitted at premier trim level and above, will get 3D graphics in the navigation, along with the promise of lifetime mapping upgrades.
Meanwhile, Volvo’s companion smartphone app – available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone – shows the vehicle’s current location, whether its windows and doors are open or unlocked, where its recently been, current fuel level, and average fuel mileage. The same app is used to remotely unlock and start the car, as well as program its navigation system from afar.
If we had a criticism of Volvo’s system, it’s the use of 3G modems. GM is busily baking WWAN support into its ranges – we went hands-on with the Buick implementation recently – but has sensibly opted for 4G LTE instead, which makes much more sense if you’re talking about sharing a data connection among multiple people.
Pricing for the Volvo hotspot functionality has not been confirmed at this stage.