Most carmakers have developed their own in-car infotainment and vehicle control systems that come as standard, or as optional extras, in their cars. Modern Mercedes models come with the MBUX infotainment system, however if you’re looking at used models you’re likely to come across the old COMAND system. So what exactly is COMAND? This guide will explain all.
How to use Mercedes COMAND
COMAND centres around a display screen in the middle of the dashboard, through which the various functions are controlled. You navigate through the screens and functions with a scroll wheel and touchpad on the centre console, where you’d normally expect to find a gear lever, or you can use the buttons on the steering wheel.
The scroll wheel is the easiest way to navigate, though the touchpad works well, too, especially for entering destinations into the satnav. Though it forces right-handed people to write with the wrong hand, it can recognise the scruffiest of scrawls. COMAND doesn’t have as many features as the latest MBUX system, which allows you to call out simple instructions which the car then carries out. It can even understand phrases such as ‘I’m hot’ and the car will lower the air-con temperature.
MBUX also uses artificial intelligence to learn the driver’s preferences and routines. For instance, it learns when you drive to work each day and the route you take. As such, it can give information about any delays and show detours on the satnav. MBUX can even learn what your favourite music or radio station is for a given situation or time of day.
What features does COMAND have?
Mercedes offers several versions of COMAND, depending on which model you buy.
In its most basic form, COMAND has a 7-inch touchscreen display in the dashboard and another of the same size in the instrument panel behind the steering wheel. Standard features include satnav, Bluetooth, DAB radio and a USB port. All Mercedes models fitted with COMAND from 206 onwards will also be compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
The mid-level COMAND Online system features a bigger 10.25-inch dashboard display with better graphics, 3D maps, a built-in hard drive and voice controls. Depending on which Mercedes you’re buying, this version also gets a 12.3-inch TFT instrument display that can show vehicle information, sat-nav maps and much more besides. If the default options aren’t giving you all the information you want, you can configure the screen to show exactly what information you want to know.
The top-of-the-range COMAND Online system has a huge 24.6 inches of screen sweeping across the dashboard. It actually consists of two 12.3-inch screens under one piece of glass – one in front of the driver, the other on the dashboard. Features include a wi-fi hotspot, sat-nav with live traffic updates and speed limit warnings; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility and a choice of themes for the instrument display.
You also get Mercedes Me Connect with functions such as providing information about fuel prices and parking charges via the satnav; a concierge service that can direct you to tourist attractions, restaurants, hotels, etc; Car-to-X communication that will allow the car to ‘talk’ to nearby cars and infrastructure to build up a real-time picture of road and traffic conditions.
Which Mercedes models are available with COMAND?
All Mercedes models get one of the three versions of the COMAND system. As a rule, the more expensive the car, the more advanced the COMAND system it comes with. As such, the least expensive Mercedes, the Mercedes A-Class A180 SE, gets the most basic version, while the range-topping Maybach GLS’s COMAND system has more bells and whistles than a factory that makes bells and whistles.
From 2018 onwards, new Mercedes models such as the A-Class started to get Mercedes new MBUX infotainment system and since then COMAND has been phased out. If you’re looking on the used market and are unsure which system the car you’re looking at is fitted with, there are a few ways to tell them apart. COMAND systems are controlled using a swivel wheel in the centre console, whereas MBUX uses a touchpad.
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