Hands-On With Chevy's GoGo Cloud-Based Navigation App

Chevrolet is working to make owning an in-car navigation system much more affordable with the introduction of its GoGo Navigation app. The app, which will be available for the Chevy Spark and Sonic RS when they hit dealerships later this year. We got some hands-on time with GoGo and came away impressed with both its speed and overall functionality. The app itself sits on your iPhone or Android smartphone and is accessible via Chevy's MyLink infotainment system. Purchasing the app is as simple as downingloading it through the Google Play Store or Apple's App Store for $50.

To access the app users will have to connect their Android smartphone or iPhone via USB or Bluetooth  to their vehicle's MyLink smartphone integration system. Chevy says the system will come standard on the 1LT and 2LT versions of the Spark, as well as the Sonic LTZ and soon to be released Sonic RS. Also included on the models will be a new infotainment interface complete with touchscreen display.

Chevy says its reason for offering the navigation feature as a smartphone app is two fold. The first and primary reason is that it allows customers shopping in the compact car market to get the same kind of functionality out of the app as they would with a built-in system without having to shell out the additional $900 to $1,000. Secondly, because GoGo is a cloud-based app, Chevy can continually push updates to its users with new functionality and improved maps.

One of the most impressive features of the app was its snappiness. Despite running on an iPhone 4's 3G connection in the Javits Center, a place that eats data connections like a hungry black hole, the app was able to locate our destinations and find the most efficient routes in a matter of seconds. If you're ever used a built-in navigation system, then you know the horror of having to waiting the map and route are rendered on-screen. Because GoGo is pushed to your infotainment system via MyLink, the app only has to render information on your smartphone. As a result, performance is, besides the occasional hiccup, lag free.

We also found ourselves enthralled with the huge amount of customization options available to GoGo users. While navigating, we were able to change the map view, see traffic information, view information on nearby locations and choose between using the most eco-friendly or fastest route.

If the GoGo app functions as well in a vehicle as it did during our hands-on, Chevy may have a big hit on its hands.