Taking Cadillac’s CUE User Experience for a Test Drive

We’re tech enthusiasts, so when we see a car manufacturer seamlessly integrate our favorite technologies and redefine in-car usability, we feel obligated to share. Cadillac’s CUE is their brand new “User Experience”, with a lot of neat, but also safe, techie features. Cadillac’s CUE is more than just a really capable navigation system, it’s integrated throughout the car. Last September we first learned about CUE when it was first unveiled. Tonight we played hands on, and really enjoyed it. What do we really have our eyes on? CUE, or the Cadillac? It’s a tough call, but it’s neat to see what CUE has to offer.

CUE is a “comprehensive in-vehicle experience” that integrates controls and lays out information and entertainment in a safe and well-thought out interface. Of course, safety comes first. This is apparent with CUE. The standard 8-inch LCD touch screen has a proximity sensor that display on-screen controls when your hand is in proximity. This allows the driver to focus on what’s important, like navigation, rather than screen clutter like control buttons and redundant info.

CUE is not a replacement for your smartphone, it’s a friend. It can easily integrate with your smartphone or iOS product through bluetooth or USB, giving you controls from your steering wheel. You can even launch the Pandora app on your smartphone straight from the instrument panel touchscreen.

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As a tech-enthusiast (or tech-nerd) there were a few interesting features of CUE’s 7″ touchscreen that surprised us. We’ve never used a navigation system that has tactile haptic feedback; it vibrates like a button press when touched. We also were not expecting a car touch screen to support multitouch gestures, like pinch to zoom. Swiping to new pages works too. Behind the steering wheel, where you’d normally find a traditional instrument panel, is a gorgeously realistic 12.3″ LCD (depending on model) that can be customized into one of four screen layouts. This screen integrates all sorts of vehicle data including speed, fuel level, navigation, phone, and entertainment info.

We live in the Siri age, so it’s nice to see technology that can keep up. CUE uses “natural” voice recognition, so you can use regular speech to command VUE, rather than memorizing command sequences.

All-in-all, the Cadillac CUE is a really cool feature. We wouldn’t necessarily buy a Cadillac just because of CUE, but it’s definitely a factor in the decision making process. CUE is debuting on 2012 and 2013 Cadillac XTS and ATS luxury sedans and the SRX luxury crossover. For years now, navigation systems have lagged behind smartphone and touchscreen technology; it’s just refreshing to see Cadillac and CUE catching up with the curve.


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