List of Cars With USB
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List of Cars With USB

Jul 25, 2023

As car technology increases by leaps and bounds, for all but the more committed techies, one newer bit of tech seems somewhat ignorable: USB-A versus USB-C device charging. It is an international debate that has spilled over into car manufacturing. Many carmakers still consider USB-C charging ports in their models as luxuries. In other words, they only provide them as an option or make standard for higher-cost models and advanced trim levels. However, USB-C is becoming more democratized as carmakers release new models.

We don't intend this story to be a definitive expose on the USB-A versus USB-C discussion or a deep dive into any other versions or types of USB connections. Yes, there are additional USB charging types, like USB-B. There are also mini, micro, and so forth. And then, you have Apple. Here we are sticking to USB-A and USB-C.

Read on as we discuss some benefits of USB-C charging in general. Moreover, we’ll tell you how that translates into device charging in your vehicle. We’ll also list some carmakers and their models offering USB-C charging.

USB-C (USB Type-C) is a more advanced charging and data-delivery technology to accommodate the latest generation of power-hungry devices. USB-C can accommodate a higher power (and data) delivery than the more recognized USB-A, although the power specifications of the device, the power source's port, and the connecting cable bind its effectiveness. In other words, USB-C has the potential and capacity to charge a device more quickly with the right equipment. This translates to data transfer, too, of up to 640 megabits per second (Mbps) versus 480 Mbps. Quicker is better, right?

Many experts believe USB-C will eventually win out as the universal mode for charging. For instance, the European Union has crowned USB-C as the prevailing charging tech, mandating it by the end of 2024. Furthermore, there is a movement within the United States federal government to establish a national standard. If or when that happens, we suspect the winner will be USB-C.

In the meantime, the typical car shopper may wonder: what's the big deal? That question isn't surprising unless you are a user of Apple products with Thunderbolt 3 connections. Apple has phased out USB-A ports in several of its devices in favor of the USB-C compatible Thunderbolt 3 connector. For the rest of us, right now, USB-C in cars remains more of a want than a need. Still, all-new and recently redesigned models are more likely to offer USB-C among their trim levels.

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We won't wander too far into the weeds here. There are currently very few differences between USB-A and USB-C charging in automotive applications. Here are some benefits of USB-C:

Tip: Most vehicles, even newer ones, limit data transfer rates in USB-C ports to the slower 480 Mbps.

My personal car is a 2023 Hyundai Kona, which I sometimes drive even when I have an available manufacturer's car I’m evaluating. While Hyundai doesn't currently provide a USB-C port in its more affordable gas-fueled models, there's no need to worry.

Quick research discovered a Type-C car charger that plugs into the Kona's 12-volt power port. There are variations on such auxiliary chargers, but mine provides USB-A and USB-C ports in one unit. The USB-A port doesn't disperse any extra power beyond the 2.5 watts delivered by the car's built-in USB-A port. However, the USB-C port can push as much as 45 watts. I also purchased a 60-watt USB-C-to-USB-C cable. You can find a variety of cables and chargers at physical stores and online retailers. I paid about $31 for both items.

Even with the much higher charging potential provided by the 12-volt USB-C charger and cable, my fast-charging capabilities are limited by my Pixel 6 Pro smartphone. Google claims a maximum charging rate of 30 watts; however, many independent testers report a number closer to 22 watts. Even so, it's still measurably faster than 2.5 watts.

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We can't begin to list every trim level by model with USB-C connections available or standard. Generally, every mainstream carmaker offers USB-C connections somewhere in its model lineup. A few automakers, like Audi and Cadillac, offer USB-C in every model. Also, though we don't break them out, most new fully electric vehicles (EVs) provide USB-C connections. This list simply provides some representative models from each carmaker. Here are examples, by manufacturer, of 2023 models offering USB-C ports somewhere among their trim levels. You shouldn't consider this list complete.

Acura — Integra, MDX, and NSX

Alfa Romeo — Tonale

Audi — Entire Audi lineup

BMW — Entire BMW lineup

Buick — Encore GX and Envision

Cadillac — XT6, XT4, and Escalade

Chevrolet — Corvette, Blazer, Trailblazer, Equinox, Silverado 1500, Tahoe, and Suburban

Chrysler — Pacifica

Dodge — Hornet

Ford — Bronco, Bronco Sport, Escape, Explorer, and F-150

Genesis — G90 and GV60

GMC — Sierra 1500, Terrain, Acadia, and Yukon

Honda — Accord, Pilot, and CR-V

Hyundai — Palisade

Infiniti — QX50, QX55, and QX60

Jaguar — E-Pace

Jeep — Compass, Grand Cherokee, Wagoneer, Grand Wagoneer, and Wrangler

Kia — Telluride

Land Rover — Range Rover and Defender

Lexus — Entire Lexus lineup

Lincoln — Nautilus and Corsair

Mazda — Mazda3 and Mazda6

Mercedes-Benz — Entire Mercedes-Benz lineup

Mitsubishi — Outlander and Outlander Sport

Nissan — Entire Nissan lineup except for the GT-R

Polestar — Polestar 2

Porsche — Panamera, Cayenne, Taycan, and Macan

Ram — Ram 1500

Subaru — Ascent and 2024 Impreza, Legacy, Crosstrek, and Outback

Toyota — Crown, Prius, Camry, Corolla, Venza, Corolla Cross, Rav4, and Highlander

Volkswagen — Entire Volkswagen lineup

Volvo — Entire Volvo lineup

Generally, yes, USB-C has the potential to use more charging current and transfer more data than USB-A. Moreover, there is no correct-side-up orientation when plugging in a USB-C connection.

Yes, USB-C and Thunderbolt 3 are interchangeable.

If your vehicle provides a 12-volt power port (cigarette lighter), you can plug a USB-C quick-charge adapter into that port. It's not an ideal solution, but it works.

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Quick Facts About USB-C Charging More user-friendly, a USB-C connection offers the potential for faster charging and data delivery, and it's more convenient to use. USB-C connections are becoming more common in new cars. Apple devices with Thunderbolt 3 connections are compatible with USB-C. What Is USB-C? What Is the Future of USB-C? RELATED: Dashcam for Cars: Is It Worth It? What Are the Benefits of USB-C Chargers in Cars? Ease of use Faster charging capability Versatility Tip: What Are the Disadvantages of USB-C Chargers? Compatibility Confusion USB-C Charger Adapter: How I Get the Most Out of USB-C in My Car MORE: Headlights Burned Out: What's the Cost to Replace? What Cars Offer Built-In USB-C Chargers? Acura Alfa Romeo Audi BMW Buick Cadillac Chevrolet Chrysler Dodge Ford Genesis GMC Honda Hyundai Infiniti Jaguar Jeep Kia Land Rover Lexus Lincoln Mazda Mercedes-Benz Mitsubishi Nissan Polestar Porsche Ram Subaru Toyota Volkswagen Volvo Read Related Articles: