July 31, 2019

From Gerald R. Lucas

Audi A3 Update

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I love this car. I have always loved the VW TDI engine, and this A3 is no exception — even after the Dieselgate “fix.” In general, the car is in great shape, and I’ve been watching YouTube videos about exterior maintenance — I purchased my first ceramic spray-on wax. I cleaned the leather and even subscribed to Gent Scents. I’m very happy with my purchase.

That said, I have not been able to get my car to connect so I can use Audi Connect. I tried a SIM from Freedompop, and, simply, they suck. That was $11 wasted. I should know better. I still might try AT&T, but I’m not sure I need to.

What I really want is to use the car’s navigation. We used it the other day to go to Dickey’s Peach Farm, but no matter what we did, the nav just did not find the place — coming home was fine. In fact, the nav is excellent, though the voice sounds like Siri if she’s had one too many. I noticed that the maps are just out-of-date.

That said, getting updates seems like an utter impossibility. Audi says the maps are current, but they obviously are not. On MyAudi, it explains that drivers get five free map updates, but no indication that anything can or will be done after that. Coupled with my connection issues, this seems as if it is just dumb. I get it: they want you to get a new car, but this is my new car. I guess I could get in touch with Audi, but everything I’ve read suggests that they’re about as responsive as a dead cat.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. Car companies need to learn that customers expect updates, like we do our devices. After all, a car is just a device you drive. Software updates should be available for the life of the car. Shit, I’d even pay a reasonable monthly fee to get them. Do you hear that, VW/Audi?

Still, there’s nothing in this five-plus-year-old system that my iPhone can’t do. It plays my music fine, and I can use Google Maps for nav. I even like the MMI system more than the one in my BMW. Still, five years seems like a short amount of time to have something essentially (purposefully?) obsoleted.