Neither mate called Alan had a cellphone listed for the 2016 Hyundai Tuscon to text.

The message would have technically still come from the iPhone 6 belonging to Aaron Pinkham, marketing manager for Hyundai dealership Eastwood Motor Group in Masterton; but he had just plugged the device into the USB port of the award-winning SUV vehicle parked on the showroom floor.

So for all intents and purposes his smartphone was now hardwired into the electrical system of the car -- dash-mounted video screen, speakers, microphone and all.

Voice-activated helper Siri plays music on demand -- Badlands -- and after telling us neither Alan was capable of taking a call, advises our location in response to a question, even though the digital dame mangles her pronunciation of Masterton, placing us instead in a town called Messturtin. Close enough Siri.


The Apple CarPlay system was also today available in the Volvo XC90 but Hyundai was first off the blocks in New Zealand with the market-leading technology, Mr Pinkham said, which was ultimately designed as a safety feature as much as a must-have convenience of modern motoring.

"The cool thing is that it makes things easy for people, anyone can use it and the fact you've got everything available that you have on your phone. It's really the future that people have been waiting for and it's available now," he said.

The Tuscon was unleashed late last year and scooped the AA Motoring 2015 New Zealand Car of the Year People's Choice award and the Medium SUV Car Best in Class award.

The technology works with iPhone 5 and above and there was also an Android counterpart on the horizon, he said, that was yet to reach the market.

"It makes for safer driving -- eyes on the road and hands on the wheel with the voice activation and that's a big thing for us. Everyone has a smartphone now and it's just plug it in and away you go. Particularly for people who are on the road a lot."

The Masterton dealership has Apple CarPlay available in a range of Tuscons on its lot. Pricing starts at $42,990.