By on April 27, 2009

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot indeed. How could Toyota Prius, The Next Generation, not offer direct access to Apple’s technophile (technophobe?) gizmo? No USB paradise by the dashboard lights? True story, brought to you by PriusChat (motto: “Press our buttons”). “The USB integration won’t be available out of the factory until September, and it will only come with the Navigation option package that is available in the Prius III, IV, and V. Customers who buy their Navigation-equipped Prius before September will be able to have the USB kit installed at the dealer, but at their own expense. There are no specifics right now, but it looks like in September when the USB connectivity is added to the Navigation package, the price of the Navigation package will be going up. It hasn’t been established yet whether that price increase would be the same as the price a dealer will charge to install it, or if the dealer-installed USB will be more expensive.” It doesn’t take much Insight, or a Honda Odyssey without iPhone integration, to realize that this is a major marketing misstep by the ToMoCo. Did you know that Microsoft’s Zune can operate through your vehicle’s FM radio? Just sayin’.

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36 Comments on “New Toyota Prius Not iPod/iPhone/USB Compatible...”

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    Zune? If I wanted Zune “quality”, I’d have bought a GM car.

  • avatar

    I will never buy a Toyota…ever…so the car to me is irrelevant.

    However, ALL CARS MANUFACTURED FROM NOW ON should include a standard 3.5mm line in jack to the radio.

    I can understand car’s not all coming with USB connections for MP3 players because it requires special connections and usually an LCD screen to show the text formats. Of course, this day in age, many MP3 players and other devices charge/sync/transfer via USB so I think that in the future automakers should make it an option to have a Radio that accepts USB connections so we can charge and play our devices (not just iPod through the car.

    And by the way… Navigation devices can be bought for as little as $100 to add to a car. All cars manufactured from now on should have them because in a way, they help save energy since as long as they are working properly, they calculate shortest route to an unfamiliar destination for people who take long trips or live in congestion.

    In Manhattan NY, I can’t count thee number of times I’ve had to really on my S550’s COMMAND system to get me to addresses that were not easy to find. I couldn’t have a car without one.

  • avatar

    Let’s see…what other auto companies didn’t pay attention to their target market and listen to what their customers want?
    Answer: I’m looking at the right hand side of TTAC and see a lot of bad General Motors news. So, there’s the answer.

    I’m a 30-something who would NEVER consider a car (and I’m in the market for a new one) that didn’t have a USB hookup for my iPod and iPhone. Don’t they realize the days of hauling 100 CDs around are over and not everyone wants the monthly expense of sat radio?

    Sad Toyota…really sad for a brand new design.

  • avatar

    Entry-level electro Geeks should drive Fords, then. I guess.

  • avatar

    Zune quality as opposed to the iPod quality? Aren’t they produced pretty much at the same Tiwanese or South Korean factories?

  • avatar

    However, ALL CARS MANUFACTURED FROM NOW ON should include a standard 3.5mm line in jack to the radio.

    I think it has that. What it is missing is the option to read music files from USB media, and to interface with an iPod using Apple’s native command/control interface.

    The lack of the first is shameful, since you can get it in a friggin’ Kia Rio. The lack of the second is not surprising, as most automotive iPod interfaces (outside of BMW and Ford) are just hacks on the CD changer line, and most companies source their audio systems from the same set of suppliers.

    For the record, Honda’s iLink is crap: it uses the aforementioned CD changer hack: no filenames, only six playlists, 99 songs per track.

  • avatar

    I guess auto makers are still in the 90’s mentality.

    With phones and DAP’s offering upwards of 4GB of music playback, it kinda hurts their ability to sell you higher capacity CD players.

    Microsoft SYNC is awesome in the Ford cars. Not only can your rip CD’s direct to the Hard Disk, you can connect/charge your iPhone/Touch in the armrest compartment and play it through the car’s stereo system – which is nice and loud.

    Cadillac CTS’s 40GB Hard Drive does the same, but what I like is that the CTS can record live radio and store it in the HDD for playback later.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    Brilliant upsell. Besides, see if you’ll actually be able to find a stripper Prius on a Toyota lot.

  • avatar

    That is a mistake, as being able to connect an iPod is one of the best things since air conditioning. :)

    I have the Mopar iPod Kit in both of my Jeeps, plus a connector for my 3G iPhone for my Honda… all great! I have long stopped burning CD’s or even using the in-dash CD players.

  • avatar

    I would never buy a Jesus Phone partially because I think they’re assholes for doing the whole AT&T monopoly thing. That said, I have XM radio in my truck, and it’s awesome. I couldn’t possibly download the music variety I get on XM, and I also enjoy the comedy channels, the news, and trafffic/weather.

  • avatar

    If it has a standard DIN cutout: problem solved for $80

    For the record I have this and love it.

  • avatar
    Richard Chen

    Believe it or not, some of us don’t own an iPod (or or other MP3 player or smartphone). A small USB reader makes more sense to me and aftermarket players that attach to the CD changer input jack are less than $100. Control is via the steering wheel audio buttons or head unit.

    For the long-distance trip, the kids’ DVD player gets wrapped tight on the back of a headrest with a bungee cord, and connected to the stereo with a cassette adapter. I keep telling them that they’re damn lucky to have in-car entertainment, not to mention AC.

  • avatar

    The 20th Century Called…

    They want their non USB Prius back.

  • avatar
    Dave Skinner


    For the record, Honda’s iLink is crap: it uses the aforementioned CD changer hack: no filenames, only six playlists, 99 songs per track.

    iLink refers to Honda’s dealer installed Ipod connectivity from 2-3 years ago. Newer models have an actual factory installed USB cable, and the software is improved. I’ll let the actual users report whether or not it’s an improvement in the real world…

    The 2009 Acura TL and 2010 MDX/Crossover (models with Navi) includes a hard drive let lets you rip CDs in the vehicle similar to the Ford Synch system.

    Bottom line, this technology is in the early stages, and pretty much every new model year includes updates and or changes,

  • avatar

    Meh…. not much news here. Why? Because, most Prius drivers I see? Are my age (just over 50) and older. Shock! Hunh?! Wow! Nope, straight up.

    MP3 is nice, and Toyota are already fixing the problem. But maybe they should offer a 78rpm record option, too, for some of the age demographic that this car hits (humorous sarcasm, okay?)

    My 2008 is a nice commuter car. Since OPEC “wants” oil to be over $70 a barrel (currently $51 a few hours ago), I’m going to hold onto my Prius and enjoy it for it’s intended purpose.

    BTW, the 2009 Sonata that my wife and I just got as our new 2nd car has an MP3 player plug-in. I stuck my MP3 stick into it and it would not recognize it…. (owner’s manual said it might or might not…). That’ll teach me to be cheap and get a Samsung MP3 player instead of an Apple.

    Ironically, Samsung is South Korean (OK truth be told the Hyundai is Alabama-built).

  • avatar


    Was it a USB stick you plugged into the sonata’s stereo? if so it should be just the same sticking it in a PC.

    might or might not… companies tsk tsk

  • avatar

    Without expensive gasoline and glitzy gadgetry, what reason is there left to buy a Prius?

    Sorry Toyota, but this is the end of the Global Warming cash cow. Try something new, perhaps along the lines of Swine Flu.

  • avatar
    Nicholas Weaver

    These days, both the Fit and the Insight, in the “sport” (one above base) trim include a good ipod solution (better than the old hack iLink)

    And both include line-in on even the base model.

    When the Insight has equal techno-toys but for a lower cost, Toyota, you gotta problem.

  • avatar

    The Group 2 Prius and up all have at least an “auxiliary audio jack.”

    I’ll be satisfied with that.

    I still burn my own mix CDs, anyway, and I’ll just continue to stuff the CD player. If the CD player does MP3s, and it probably will, I’ll be perfectly happy. My current car doesn’t have MP3 CD capability, so I bring a book of ~1 hour discs along… I’m OK with that and I’ll be happier with a smaller book of ~10 hour discs.

    More troublesome is connecting my iPod to my home stereo. I just recently bought a Sony receiver and they offer a little gizmo to connect your iPod to it. Forget about getting it at the local store and it’s $75 or more on the web. Apple offers a similar gizmo to connect to any receiver but it’s still $50 or so at the Apple Store and, lo and behold, it does not work with my Gen 2 Nano, I’d have to upgrade to a 3 or newer. That bites.

    And for those of you considering a Bose SoundDock, forget it. Great sound, horrible value. I have an original… it has no other input. If your iPod dies, you have a $300 brick… so you end up buying another iPod instead of going generic and saving a ton of money. The new one at least sports an input for a mini-plug cable from some other source but for $300 there’s no tuner, no clock? And it doesn’t remember your previous sound level if you unplug it.

    I wouldn’t have bought it… it was a gift.

    Anyway, given how non-interoperable, relatively useless, expensive and unavailable other iPod integration solutions are, I’d give Toyota a pass on this.

  • avatar

    FM radio workarounds never work for me. There is always too much interference until you are miles from a city.

  • avatar

    Yeah, Heathro10, I plugged it straight into the USB port on the Sonata. It would not recognize it.

    Ironically, the Sonata also came with (1/2 way through the model-year additional option) Bluetooth for the cell phones. Don’t have that on our ’08 Prius (I didn’t get that package – it was available).

    Given that we’re firing Sprint after our contract is up next month (don’t ask), I’ve gone ahead and bought two Bluetooth capable cell phones for use with Tracfone.

    My wife and I will now be able to pay $10 a month for 2 phones since we use them so little.

    (What on earth do people have to talk about while driving, these days? Apparently it is “impossible” for them to wait until their journey finishes to actually talk to others on the phone? Don’t they have any sense of responsibility? Driving is supposed to take up your attention – not yakking, blabbing and texting on the damn cell phones).

    I’ve nearly been clobbered multiple times by imbeciles texting or phoning while aiming a deadly 2 ton SUV or car, instead of actually paying attention….

    Both our cars can handle MP3 compressed CD style discs so we can cram tons of music onto one disc for the car from our home computer. It’s all good.

  • avatar

    IMHO, the FM adapters don’t work very well, and then only out in the country where there’s empty band space. Soundgate makes the ZNCBLPAK universal Zune adapter that plugs into the sync socket (not the headphone jack) and provides a preamp RCA plug output for about $60. makes a nice line of mounting hardware, universal and car model specific. Right now they’re havng a 40% off 4 day sale.
    I’m a contrarian: I loathe Windows, but chose the Zune because the smug hegemony of iPod annoyed me.

  • avatar

    Who cares about an ipod dock/usb port/etc?

    The only one who listens to an ipod/music in the car is my wife. I make her wear headphones. Safer for both of us.

    I actually would give my cd changer back to Subaru (I believe the 04 STi didn’t even have a radio) if they’d give me cash for it :)

    Give me a clutch, gas, brake, a fantastic suspension, and some horses, and I’m happy.

    Things I do not want in my car:
    * auto tranny
    * heated seats
    * power seats
    * sofa seats
    * speakers
    * radio/cd/tape deck, dvd players, other AV crap
    * other electronic gizmos & distractions
    * human distractions

    Things I appreciate but don’t require
    * power locks/keyless entry
    * alarm system
    * AC

    Things I _must_ have for my car:
    * 4 wheels
    * A good engine
    * good tires
    * good suspension
    * 3 pedals on the floor
    * 4-6 speed shifter

    It seems most people these day have these reversed :)

  • avatar

    “Robstar writes: The only one who listens to an ipod/music in the car is my wife. I make her wear headphones. Things I do not want in my car: human distractions…”

    Sounds like you need a motorcycle with only one seat. If I treated my wife like that…well…all I can say is what’s the point in having a wife if you can’t interact in the car, occasionally?

  • avatar

    Has anyone actually bought a Zune, ever?

    I’ve never seen one “in the flesh” and I live near Seattle!


  • avatar

    YI plugged it straight into the USB port on the Sonata. It would not recognize it.

    That might be the drive type. Is it a U3 flash drive (eg, does it try to install anything when you insert it into a PC)? Those things interact badly with non-computer equipment.

  • avatar


    My wife does occasionally ask me something or tell me something but most of the time she’s on her headphones. I am hard of hearing and wear two hearing aides. I read lips. She knows if she tries to talk to me while I’m driving, I won’t be able to hear her over the road noise. Why make the situation dangerous?

    She understands my disability….and respects it.

    I also do have a gsx-r that I ride — alone.

  • avatar

    Brilliant upsell.

    No kidding. And you thought Ford were a**holes with the options list.

  • avatar

    Nobody cares that the Prius doesn’t have USB connectivity? What gives? I still remember all the bellyaching Cadillac was given for not offering hands-free Bluetooth for their CTS.

    This is Toyota’s flagship vehicle. It’s unacceptable that they can’t offer something as simple as USB connectivity when you can get it with cars that have much less to offer. Even $99 aftermarket stereos have USB plus Bluetooth.

    BTW, the Zune is a pretty damn good product.

  • avatar

    Yawn. I already Bluetooth my MP3 to the deck.

    I can even transfer addresses from my PDA phone to the GPS.

    How many “standards” are reasonable to support? Bluetooth was supposed to be “The One”, so use it.

    (It’s just a pity Bluetooth is such a PITA at times).

  • avatar

    Robstar: I understand. Sometimes ambient noise in a car while wearing amplification is no good. Perhaps one of these days masking technology will be more sophisticated.

  • avatar

    quasimondo: “I still remember all the bellyaching Cadillac was given for not offering hands-free Bluetooth for their CTS. This is Toyota’s flagship vehicle. It’s unacceptable that they can’t offer something as simple as USB connectivity when you can get it with cars that have much less to offer.”

    The Prius starts at $22,000 (until they introduce the stripper later this year) and tops out at about $32K with something that no one else has, solar cells to provide power for cooling. It’s Toyota’s iconic green car, not the flagship. If it doesn’t have some particular luxury feature, that’s actually not a big deal.

    The base CTS is something like $38K and it’s a luxury car or the name Cadillac means nothing. It should have Bluetooth (the $23K Prius does have Bluetooth) and a whole lot more. You should compare it to the Avalon (or one of the Lexuses). Hmmm… judging from the features list, unless you must have RWD, the Avalon looks like a better value.

  • avatar
    Mirko Reinhardt

    @menno :
    Meh…. not much news here. Why? Because, most Prius drivers I see? Are my age (just over 50) and older. Shock! Hunh?! Wow! Nope, straight up.

    Newsflash: People over 50 have iPods too.
    My dad is 57 and doesn’t go anywhere without his iPod and 30-some gigabytes of Grateful Dead. His 530d has an iPod interface.
    Grandma died 3 years ago, but she had an iPod too. My mother has an iPod, and her base model Hyundai i30 has a factory iPod interface (standard in the base model!).
    My 118d had USB/iPod connectivity as a 300€ option. One of my friends just bought a Toyota Auris and an iPod interface was a 160€ option. No nav needed. Another friend has an Audi A4 TDI, iPod connectivity was just an option from the list.

    As it should be. The “if you want this, you also need to take 43 things you don’t need” tactic is stupid. In the end, maybe you can upsell a few people to the more expensive model, but must people will just buy something else.

    and tops out at about $32K with something that no one else has, solar cells to provide power for cooling

    Audi introduced solar cells to provide power for cooling in the 1994 A8. Others followed suit. How is it an innovation 15 years later?

  • avatar

    @Mirko –
    Mazda Millenia (sp?) was the first I think. It had that and the Miller cycle engine and didn’t sell…

    I also have 50+ something family members with satellite radio in the home and car, iPods and iPhones…and hours of tutoring from the rest of us on how to use iTunes and the hardware! It’s one of those things that everyone says – once you use one, there’s no going back to the old way of listening to music.

  • avatar

    It would be nice if Toyota though more about this especially for the Prius. It is a nice car and should have the best tech features.

  • avatar

    I had a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid with built in USB plug which worked perfectly with my iPhone and USB jump drives and most other usb devices.

    I had full control over music from the steering wheel audio controls. Radio display showed song / album / artist / etc. I could navigate through music by song / album / artist / style etc. All functions of iPhone / iPod were available.

    with USB rive i could easily go through folders and songs…

    2010 honda insight has the same usb interface.

    Now I have 2010 prius… love the car, but lack of usb o=interface drives me crazy. I hate AUX port. I hate unlocking my ipone to change the song. There are too many wires. it is just SOOOO annoying. WHY the hell it’s not built in??? it is so easy and inexpensive. And prius is supposed to this crazy technologically advanced vehicle…. ughhh..

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