For what it's worth, I wouldn't sweat the lack of AppLink. I've got a 2013 SE, so I've got AppLink, and I never use it.
It's inconsistent about finding the apps on my phone (and has never worked with Pandora, which is the main one I'd want to use). Each app has different and not very logical commands: In the case of the new Amazon MP3 app, there's no PLAY command, and no way I could figure out how to make it start to play without first setting up a playlist so that I can ask for that playlist. Waste of my time.
Consequently, I just use "Bluetooth Audio," which lets me advance to the next song with the steering wheel controls no matter what player I'm using. That works just fine. I think you'll find AppLink doesn't add anything else useful.