Just because some cars are small, it doesn't mean they have to be basic. The 2013 Chevrolet Sonic RS and some of the better-equipped 2013 Chevrolet Spark models will be fitted with the company's MyLink infotainment system.

Chevrolet broke the news at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and brought along a working version, so visitors can peer and prod at the system's seven-inch touchscreen. At the heart of MyLink is the driver's own smartphone. "Customers told us they've set up their smartphones exactly how they want them," said Sara LeBlanc, GM's global infotainment manager. "And the ideal car radio should extend the capabilities of their smartphone rather than try to duplicate them."

Once a smartphone is "Bluetoothed" or connected into the system by other means, then things like music, photos and contacts become accessible on the screen in the center console. Press on a name and the phone call comes through the car's speakers. MyLink also allows streaming of internet radio, via apps like Pandora and Stitcher. Other features like video will only work when the car is parked. LeBlanc describes the system as "safe, simple and connected."

The Spark goes on sale in the summer. Once it hits the showrooms, MyLink is set to be standard equipment on 1LT and 2LT trim levels. The Sonic RS comes later in the year. Unfortunately, there is no capability for voice commands; small cars still have to be built to a budget.

author photo

Colin Ryan has driven hundreds of cars thousands of miles while writing for BBC Top Gear magazine, Popular Mechanics, the Los Angeles Times, European Car, Import Tuner and many other publications, websites, TV shows, etc.

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