Car

CUE Tip: We Explore the Latest Version of Cadillac’s Infotainment System

We haven’t had warm regard for the Cadillac User Experience, better known as CUE. At best, we’ve tipped our hat at Cadillac’s determination to stick by its lackluster infotainment system and continually improve it; at worst we’ve compared it to a sexually transmitted disease. Never, though, have we outright praised the touchscreen infotainment system. 

Thanks to an all-new version of CUE, however, we’re glad to acknowledge that the long-maligned infotainment system is now pleasant to use. At least in 2017 Cadillac CTS models sent to dealers after March 2017 and in 2018 Cadillac ATS, CTS, and XTS models. Unfortunately, all other Cadillacs continue to make do with the old CUE. Cadillac representatives, however, confirmed that the new system will eventually make its way into the luxury brand’s entire model line.

Powered by software and hardware supplied by Harman, the new CUE is based on a common infotainment platform that will soon be adopted by General Motors’ other brands (Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC). Cadillac-specific fonts and diction, as well as the luxury brand’s touch-capacitive adjusters for the climate-control functions and audio volume—which we’ve found most off-putting—give CUE a distinct look and feel. A new graphic processing unit is said to be four times faster than before and provides the infotainment system with improved image quality.

Ex-CUE-se Me

CUE’s most noticeable graphic gains are to its navigation system, which adopts a map display that’s similar in style to Apple Maps. Clean and concise, the display benefits from a touchscreen that’s more forgiving to slightly mis-aimed touch inputs and responds more promptly than did its predecessor. This minimizes the frustration of pressing on the screen, not getting the expected response, wondering if you “missed” the button, and pressing again just as the system finally executes the command. Searching for an address or point-of-interest is far easier now, and the screen display area adopts additional smartphone-like touch capabilities, including pinch-to-zoom.

New Cadillac CUE home screen
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Other ergonomic improvements include the ability to display the navigation map in the 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and a new “summary view” home screen for the center-stack display that shows a condensed navigation map, climate-control information, basic radio controls, and pertinent phone information on a single page. Each of these pertinent functions can also be accessed by a quintet of anchored graphical buttons at the bottom left corner of the screen (home, audio, navigation, phone, and climate), making it easier than ever to explore CUE’s various functions without fear of getting lost within menus.

All CUE’d Up

Additionally, CUE is now capable of storing individual user information under separate profiles. The cloud-based profile is able to follow a driver, too, so users of the brand’s Book by Cadillac subscription service or individuals who own multiple Cadillac or other GM models equipped with the new infotainment system can have their favorite phone contacts, navigation route preferences, and display setting features follow them from car to car. Unfortunately, neither seat nor mirror settings can be stored in an individual’s profile.

Despite CUE’s many improvements, the system isn’t without its foibles. Notably, Cadillac maintains its moratorium on physical volume and tuning knobs, which makes it needlessly clunky to adjust the audio volume or change the radio station. Bigger graphic buttons would also make it easier to interact with the system’s various menus. We’d also welcome a handful of physical buttons.

CUE may be a hardware upgrade away from matching the best systems out there, but the system’s improved ergonomics and updated technology mean that Cadillac’s infotainment system is no longer the nightmare it once was.

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