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Car Tech Spotlight: Facebook feeds in a 2013 Honda Crosstour

HondLink Aha Radio feature allows drivers to listen to Facebook posts behind the wheel and more.

By Douglas Newcomb Jul 12, 2013 2:43PM

HondaLink Aha Radio. Photo by Honda.Some drivers want to stay connected in the car more than others. For those who don’t want to miss a single update on Facebook, there’s Aha Radio, a feature of the HondaLink system, which is standard on all trim levels of the 2013 Honda Crosstour, except the base EX.


I got a preview of how Aha Radio works at a press event last fall for the launch of the all-new 2013 Honda Accord. But during a weeklong test of the 2013 Honda Crosstour EX-L V6, I got to spend much more time with Aha Radio and its Facebook feature.


Like any new technology, HondaLink and Aha Radio allow for some cool cloud-connected features. But it also requires a bit of patience.


After downloading the HondaLink application for either an iPhone or Android device, registering for an account and signing in, the Aha Radio feature can be accessed through the Crosstour’s dashboard controls and displays. An Apple device has to be connected via a USB cable, while an Android device uses wireless Bluetooth. Using the data connection on your phone, you can then have access to content ranging from podcasts and Internet radio stations – the Crosstour also has a separate Pandora Radio function – to audiobooks and restaurant reviews.


I found that Aha Radio reacted slowly at times, even though I had a strong cellular signal. And while I like that Aha uses top-tier content providers such as Yelp to find food, Trip Advisor to look for lodging and Inrix for traffic info, locating a coffee shop and getting reviews from Yelp were plagued by long waits.


In the video below, you can see how the Facebook feature works, which reads Timeline posts in a robotic voice. This feature can also be accessed while driving, but at one point it only repeated a single update over and over.


I experienced similar issues with Aha Radio in a 2013 Honda Accord with HondaLink that I tested a week later. I haven’t yet tried Aha Radio in vehicles from Ford, Mazda, Porsche, Scion and Subaru. But I’ll cut Honda some slack since the brand was the first to integrate Aha Radio. And it’s also part of the HondaLink system, hence implemented differently than in vehicles from other automakers, according to Aha.


So it may be wise to wait for the next generation of HondaLink with Aha Radio for the glitches to be ironed out. It’s currently available only in the Accord, Crosstour and Odyssey but should expand to other Honda models.


Or, even better, you can just wait till you’re not driving to check Facebook.

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