Car Talk

By coincidence, my wife and I each needed new cars in the last couple of months. Her car (2007 Volkswagen Eos convertible) had some mechanical problems that were going to be more expensive to repair than we were willing to pay. My truck (2005 Ford Ranger) was a gas-guzzler not suited to my new daily commute to Orange County. As you can see from the model years, we tend to keep our cars for a long time, so this was the first time we were shopping for cars with modern technology (navigation, Bluetooth, apps, etc.) as standard equipment.

We bought her car in mid-March, an Audi A3 e-tron plug-in hybrid. It’s exactly what she wanted: good gas mileage with space for all her occupational therapy equipment easily accessible. I got my new car earlier this week: a Toyota Prius Four. I wasn’t necessarily looking for a hatchback, but it was the best high-mileage car in our price range. As far as driving, efficiency, and comfort go, we are both very happy with our new cars.

Where they differ is in the technology, especially the “connected” apps. As near as I can tell, Audi needs to concentrate on building cars, because their websites and apps are absolutely terrible. There are literally four websites for which┬áI have to have accounts: audiusa.com, myaudi.com, myaudiconnect.com, and etron.audiusa.com. These sites have different requirements for passwords, and do not communicate with each other that I can tell. On one of the sites, our car is listed twice, with different information. When the sales person at the dealership called Audi support to get them to correct that, they were told, no, that’s how it has to be listed. The etron app, which is supposed to allow us to monitor the car’s charging, along with other features, has never worked, six weeks after we purchased the car. I’ve been going back and forth with their technical support by email this whole time. There are two different PINs for the car, one four-digit PIN for the app, which is a completely different number than the 8-digit Audi Connect PIN, which you have to enter in the car in order to use Audi Connect, and which you can only find by a circuitous route through one of the damn websites (I forget which) and which tech support had to describe to me how to find. Whoever designed these systems should lose their job.

In contrast, on Wednesday after I purchased my Prius, I downloaded the Toyota Entune app and signed up. Ten minutes and it was working. Done.

So here’s a mid-90’s Car Song for you: