Review Medianav Evolution v2 with Android Auto and Carplay

Last update: November 6th, 2018

MediaNav is the entry-level multimedia system for the Renault group that has been used on Dacia and Renault vehicles since 2012. It is part of the landscape. When it was released, it was already presented as a simple and effective system. All that was missing was the traffic information, which was fixed in 2015 with the MediaNav Evolution.

Paris Motor Show 2018, Renault announces a major innovation for this system: the arrival of Android Auto and Apple Carplay!




Renault entrusted me with a vehicle equipped with this system, several weeks ago.  I would also like to thank Renault for allowing this test when the system was not yet on the market. It was certainly a prototype, but the software version (1.0.13.1) was the final version for customers, something I was able to check on the Paris Moto Show. For almost two years now, there has been a real desire on the part of the manufacturer to accelerate in the field of new technologies, particularly since C. Ghosn declared that the Renault Group’s future will be “autonomous, electric and connected”. This preview confirmed to me that things are moving forward for Renault. For this test, the system was mounted on a Captur but this Medianav will start its commercial life on the Duster II before being deployed on the rest of the range.

Externally, there is nothing to distinguish a classic MediaNav Evolution from one equipped with Google and Apple’s Smartphone Replication. While waiting for its commercial name I will call it MediaNav Evolution v2. In the interface, only a trained eye will notice differences in Bluetooth options: headings refer to smartphone replication.

Under the hood, all is new. Before it was Windows CE which was used as an operating system with a not very fast processor. Now it is linux and a more topical process (I don’t know which one I’m quoting Renault). This is immediately apparent in the use of the system, which is much more responsive, especially when entering addresses, calculating routes and displaying maps.




I launched 2 guides from the Paris region to Bordeaux (580 km) and Marseille (780 km): the result is irrefutable. On the new system the calculation will only take one or two seconds whereas one had to wait about ten seconds on the old ones (see the upcoming video test). There are no longer these small seconds of latency between the presses on the screen and the system considering the “click”. It’s very pleasant. Even without considering replication, the power gain is significant in the daily use of this MediaNav Evolution V2.

Second big evolution: the screen switches to capacitive technology (like our phones) and therefore abandons the resistive. It is therefore no longer necessary to press the screen, a gentle touch is sufficient. The advantage of capacitive is that it allows multipoint zooming, especially for zooms with 2 fingers. But this possibility is not used in the “classic” MediaNav menus and screens, only in Android Auto. The screen lacks a little bit of contrast, especially in dull applications like Waze, you don’t feel it in the “classic” MediaNav menus because the interface colors are bright. The microphone is also of better quality to match Apple and Google’s specifications to obtain Carplay and Android Auto certification.  These certifications are quite restrictive, and I know that the manufactures push a sigh of relief when certification is obtained.

As on R-Link 1 and 2 it is necessary to connect the phone via USB. The electrical power of the plug has been increased, so the smartphone recharges quickly now. After connecting, the icon corresponding to Android Auto or Apple Carplay (depending on your phone) appears on the MediaNav Evolution v2 home screen. A simple press of the button instantly launches replication: simple and efficient. There is no need to take out the instructions for use.

First impression: it’s fast and smooth. I tested with Android Auto and we can directly find all our usual applications. However, as with the R-Link 1 and R-Link 2 7-inch (the small landscape display), the outside temperature is no longer displayed, annoying, but it is not Renault’s fault. I can’t wait for Google to allow this display.




Another small irritant point is the location of the USB port. This is unchanged above the screen: the USB cable therefore elegantly passes in front of the display (especially annoying for the passenger).

When a compatible phone is connected, the Media and Phone buttons on the MediaNav home menu go directly to the corresponding replication functions, they are effective and convenient shortcuts. It is regrettable that an equivalent shortcut does not exist to get directly to the navigation part of the replication.

After that, it’s just happiness: we find all our usual applications. For the navigation part Google Maps and Waze runs very well. We then take advantage of the power of its applications with an extremely efficient traffic information (and alerts with Waze) and a database always up to date. The proposal of destinations in Google Maps is still as much a treat to use. Indeed, depending on the context and the information found in your Google calendar, destinations will be directly proposed, just click on them to start the guide!

The voice command (with a long press on the voice button) is responsive and there is no need to give robot commands to start a guidance system (like R-Link 1&2). We find the power of Google/Apple: it is pleasant to use because it is natural. In addition, Google Now and Siri make it easy to perform tasks such as dictating a text message or noting reminders. Once you get used to it, it’s hard enough to do without it.

For the audio part, we will naturally be able to enjoy applications such as Deezer or Spotify that can be fully controlled from the screen. Certainly, we could enjoy it before via Bluetooth but the choice of playlists was made via the smartphone which was not recommended when driving.

I have also tested the Simple Radio application which allows you to benefit from radios via the 3G/4G of your phone regardless of our location in the country (or in Europe with free roaming in particular). Already you can listen to local radios (like Oui FM not available everywhere) but in addition the quality is much better than FM. I will detail a more precise test on this application that is worth a look.

There is something very pleasant about replication. Whatever the vehicle I find my applications, with my navigation favorites, my settings, my playlists and the same interface. There is a very satisfying side to having only to plug in your smartphone to find your universe. As usual, you can mix the MediaNav navigation with an audio source from Android Auto/Carplay and vice versa.




Another thing: it is not a frozen universe. All a developer has to do is make his application compatible with Android Auto/Carplay so that it is immediately available without waiting for Renault to publish an update. For example, when Apple decided to open the navigation function of Carplay (previously reserved for Apple Plans), immediately Google Maps and Waze made sure that their applications became compatible in September. Coyote also announced that they would soon arrive on the platform (no announcement for Android auto yet). All this without any intervention from Renault: we are therefore more responsive.

I would like to remind you that the fluidity of Android Auto is directly linked to the power of your smartphone. I saw this very clearly between a smartphone in 2014 and another in 2018. The cable is also important: a poor-quality cable can lead to interruptions, display bugs or even the inability to activate replication. If you have any problems, the cable is the first thing to check.

Finally, if you are in an area without any network coverage, replication will not work easily because the internet connection is important for many applications.




It should be noted that to make map and system updates it will be necessary to use a new site and software to install on the computer. Whether it is the site or the software, they seem much more in line with current standards in terms of design, ergonomics and ease of use. We won’t complain even if it makes yet another portal and software for Renault customers. A single portal and software one day for all Renault/Dacia systems?

  • Site for MediaNav and Medianav Evolution without replication:
    • Renault: https://renault.naviextras.com/shop/portal/deviceSelect?live.ui.locale.code=en
    • Dacia : https://dacia.naviextras.com/shop/portal/deviceSelect?live.ui.locale.code=en
  • Site for the new MediaNav Evolution V2:
    • Renault: https://renault.welcome.naviextras.com/
    • Dacia: https://dacia.welcome.naviextras.com/

Everything is done through the software: purchase and download of maps. Like the current MediaNav, you have 90 days to benefit free of charge from the most up-to-date card for a new vehicle.

All the maps and their prices can be viewed at this address:

https://dacia.welcome.naviextras.com/available_contents_en.html

 

In conclusion, smartphone replication really brings what Medianav was missing: an opening towards the world of smartphone applications. But this contribution is not made by denaturing the product. The Medianav has always been known for its simplicity of use: simple and effective. Android Auto and Carplay perfectly match this philosophy and allow it to get back in the race while keeping its very attractive price. Well done, Renault.

I remind you that it is not possible to add Android Auto and Apple Carplay on old MediaNav.

Complet gallery

Leave a Reply Text

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *