Review: Car and Driver Intellidash + is a painless way to add CarPlay to your vehicle

Car and Driver Intellidash + is the easiest way to add CarPlay to your vehicle with no installation required.

No installation required

If history is any indication, adding CarPlay functionality to your existing car is a feat. Whether you choose to complete the installation yourself or go to a professional, add-ons, adapters, and sometimes permanent modifications to your car are required.

The Intellidash + differentiates itself by building all the smart features into a simple display that can be mounted on the dashboard instead of inside it.

The unit, a crisp seven-inch display, features an easy suction cup mount that attaches directly to the car’s dashboard. Connects to 12V auto charging port for power. Simply connect your iPhone via USB and ta-da – you have a new CarPlay system in your vehicle.

The Intellidash + booth

It is so simple to set up that almost no work is needed. We were up and running with Intellidash + in under a minute in our machine.

We found the display to be light enough and it had no problem staying connected or mounted in our car. In addition to being mounted on the dashboard, the suction cup can also be mounted directly on the glass. The holder has an articulated hinge and can also extend like many smartphone holders.

Intellidash + side ports

Car and Driver, yes, Car and Driver, includes a very long power cable that can be routed around the glass or dashboard to keep it out of the way for a more organized look in your car. When we mounted it to the glass, we routed the cable up, around the windshield and under the passenger-side footwell before plugging it into the car charger and the cable is almost entirely unnoticeable.

CarPlay and use

When you connect your iPhone for the first time, a message will appear on your iPhone screen asking if you want to use CarPlay with this device and if you want to allow access while the phone is locked. Assuming you say yes to the first one, the CarPlay interface will immediately appear on the display.

Once CarPlay works, you will have all the smart features of any other CarPlay unit. You have access to Siri, the CarPlay dashboard, Maps, Music and any other CarPlay-enabled app. If you have a HomeKit-compatible garage opener, it will appear on your dashboard when you leave and when you get home.

Apple Music playing via CarPlay on Intellidash + speakers

Audio will be routed through the Intellidash speakers unless you connect an auxiliary audio cable from Intellidash + to your car’s audio system. On-board speakers are acceptable, but they won’t give you room-filling sound like your vehicle’s speakers, let alone a high-end audio system. But it is usable.

One option is to still rely on your car’s audio system and Intellidash + for everything else. Use it for GPS, news, Siri, messages, HomeKit control, all of that. It’s a trade-off but in one way this can still be useful even if you don’t connect it directly to your car’s system.

Whenever you use CarPlay, you can return to the Intellidash dashboard. From there, you can access the other features it supports or access settings, such as display brightness.

The power cable connects via a barrel connector, and a USB-C to USB-C cable is included for connecting a compatible Android phone. You’ll need to provide your iPhone Lightning cable, but you can use either a USB-A cable or a USB-C cable and the included adapter as well.

Outside of CarPlay

Apart from CarPlay, there are many other Intellidash + related features.

Intellidash + supports Android Auto. If you have a compatible Android phone, you can connect it the same way and use Android’s onboard system instead of Apple’s. This is great if you have another family member who might be using the system as well.

Intellidash + settings

Car and Driver also integrate Sirius XM. With a subscription, you can stream Sirius XM radio directly to Intellidash + without the need for a separate receiver.

Finally, the micro SD card slot allows you to play any music or video you want to upload. This comes with a bunch of limitations like DRM, but if you have unprotected video or music, it will work.

An easy choice

There are some limitations to Intellidash + that give us a break. It seems a little cheaper, having a separate display could take up a lot of space in smaller cars, routing the cable can be difficult, and it’s still wired rather than wireless. But those matter very little to this device’s target audience.

It’s so easy to set up and use that there’s nothing like it on the market. It may have a handful of drawbacks, but they don’t make the final product any less useful.

CarPlay Dashboard on Intellidash +

If you want to add CarPlay to your vehicle and don’t want to spend hundreds and hundreds of euros for a compatible receiver and professional installation, Intellidash + is an almost ideal solution.

We’d love to see a new model across the board that integrates wireless CarPlay instead, but unless we have no qualms recommending it to anyone who needs the functionality.

  • 60 second configuration
  • Official CarPlay support
  • Charges the phone while in use and does not require a second phone charger
  • Affordable aftermarket solution to add CarPlay without any mechanic
  • Sirius XM integration
  • Also support for Android Auto
  • Seems a little cheap
  • The suction cup may not work on the dashboard
  • Cable routing can be tedious or impossible depending on the vehicle
  • CarPlay connection wired instead of wireless
  • The interface is a bit clunky at times
  • The car charger cannot be used for other accessories

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Where to buy


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