If your car does not come with an Android Auto head unit, you can install the Android Auto app for phone screens from the Play Store and turn your phone into an Android Auto dashboard. However, the app offers limited functionality and its 2.9 star rating leads me to believe that it is not as good as the native Android Auto experience. Fortunately, there is a new app, called AutoZen, that fixes this problem.
AutoZen is a third-party car launcher (via self-evolution) which turns your phone into an Android Auto dashboard. As you can see in the attached screenshots, the app’s home screen displays a map of your current location with a search bar in the upper left corner. You can use this search bar to search for your destination, quickly search for contacts, and even search for gas stations, parking lots, restaurants, etc. near. The map also has a few down buttons that allow you to show / hide traffic on the map and refocus on your location. It even features a little icon in the lower right corner that shows you your current speed.
Below the map you will find a few more buttons. The first button on the left opens the app drawer and gives you quick access to apps like YouTube Music, Google Maps, WhatsApp, Telegram, etc. Right next to it is a button with a phone icon that opens the dialer and lets you make a call with just a few clicks. On top of that, the bottom bar also contains music playback controls for the music streaming app of your choice, a button to trigger voice commands, and a button for quick access to all of your notifications.
In addition to all of the features mentioned above, AutoZen comes with a few premium features like integrated detailed navigation powered by Mapbox, speed camera alerts, and construction / road accident alerts. The premium version also allows you to use AutoZen as the default launcher app on your phone, allowing you to switch back to AutoZen from other apps when you press the home button. Additionally, the premium version unlocks gesture support for certain actions, a do not disturb mode, bluetooth auto-launch, and more.
If you want to fully enjoy the Android Auto experience on your phone, you can download AutoZen by following the Play Store link below. Most of its basic features are free and it offers a 7 day free trial for all premium features.