Some more upmarket cars come with voice-activated controls that can change the radio channel, take a phone call and even activate some of the car's features (like headlights and windscreen wipers). This usually comes as standard on more expensive cars or as an optional extra for cheaper models, but it is accessible to all.
There is a cheaper way to get voice control in the form of Amazon's Alexa. While it cannot control car features beyond the stereo, it can still do a lot and can be fitted to any car; all you need is a smartphone. We've looked at the best ways to add Alexa to your car and listed them below.
Alexa for your car
1. Echo Auto
Designed specifically for cars, the Echo Auto is the best way to add Alexa to your car. Simply pair it to your smartphone and you'll be able to take phone calls, choose music to stream and more, completely legally while driving. It can even clip onto the air vents of certain cars, meaning you may not need to buy a mount.Pros:Designed for car useCompact designCons:You'll probably need an additional mount
2. Kenwood KMM-BT506DAB DAB Car Stereo
Upgrade an older car's radio with this Alexa-enabled Kenwood stereo. You'll be able to choose your favourite songs using nothing more than your voice, so long as your phone is connected to the stereo. The Bluetooth feature enables you to take and receive phone calls as well. Pros:Great for audiophiles Bluetooth is a welcome additionCons:Expensive option
3. Olaike Echo Auto Magnetic Car Mount
Although the Echo Auto fits some air-vents, it'll probably be a good idea to look for a phone mount so you can put your Echo where you want. This magnetic one is great quality and is designed specifically for the Echo Auto. Pros:Limitless places to put your EchoCons:You'll still need to buy an Echo
4. iOttie Easy One Touch 5 Dashboard & Windshield Car Mount
Some smartphones are equipped with Alexa, meaning you'll be able to use the voice-control function when driving. This mount allows you to use the voice functions on your phone safely and legally. Just remember that this mount won't charge your phone.Pros:You don't need an Echo High quality phone mountCons:Will not charge your phone
5. Echo Dot
If having Alexa in your car is good, introducing it to your home can be life-changing. As well as checking the time, news and choosing music, you can wire up your entire home to be voice-activated. It's a great way to make life even easier; imagine being able to order your shopping with your voice!Pros:All the benefits of Alexa in your homeGood built-in speakerCons:For smart-home features you'll need to spend more cash
6. Avantree CK11 Bluetooth Car Kit
There are other voice-activated systems on the market, meaning you aren't bound to Amazon. This Bluetooth-enabled device supports Siri and Google Assistant and can do largely the same things an Alexa can do, but at a cheaper price.Pros:Get voice-activated tech for lessCons:The speaker is not the most powerful
7. Amazon Echo Auto - The Complete User Guide: Learn to Use Your Echo Auto Like A Pro
This easy to follow and thorough guide provides all the tips and advice you need to make the most of your Echo Auto.
What you need to know about Alexa:
What can an Alexa do?
An Echo Auto can do loads with nothing more than a mobile signal and your voice. It's able to read you the news, weather and time, on request, and make and receive phone calls. An Alexa can also make lists, set reminders and even allow you to order products through Amazon. It also has a full Amazon Music and Spotify integration, meaning you'll be able to enjoy your favourite playlists with ease.
Are there any alternatives?
Alexa isn't the only option if you want voice-control; Apple has Siri and Google offers Google Assistant. Both of these are available on various smartphones, and you're allowed by law to use the voice-control features while you drive. If you want to use your this feature in your car, you should probably look into buying a phone holder.