Chris Tropea
Chris Tropea Associate Editor
2/28/24 2:33 p.m.
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What is the biggest thing that makes our 2015 Nissan Frontier feel old from the driver's seat? The factory radio. Sure, it all still functions as it should, but it’s a bit outdated.

Most modern cars we drive nowadays have a nice big touchscreen infotainment system and the ability to connect a phone through Apple CarPlay or Android Auto–features our …

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RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/28/24 4:03 p.m.

Agreed 100%. One of the first mods I do is install a Double DIN touch screen head unit and install a bluetooth mic + backup camera. Oh, and LED bulb replacements.

JThw8
JThw8 UltimaDork
2/28/24 5:27 p.m.
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) said:

Agreed 100%. One of the first mods I do is install a Double DIN touch screen head unit and install a bluetooth mic + backup camera. Oh, and LED bulb replacements.

Same, there's nothing in my fleet from without it anymore.  Even the beater I bought for a roadtrip last year immediately got the cheapest CarPlay compatible unit I could find in Crutchfield's bargan bin.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
2/29/24 9:24 a.m.

CarPlay is the best. 

The end. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
2/29/24 9:48 a.m.

Precisely why I did the OEM Audio+ upgrade in the BRZ. The factory speakers were awful.

prodarwin
prodarwin MegaDork
2/29/24 10:00 a.m.

Its a shame the adapter kits are still so ugly.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/29/24 10:08 a.m.

Yep, one of the first thing I did to the Mustang was install a Android Auto/Carplay compatible radio. Which is kind of ironic, since now my 2005 Mustang has better infotainment than my 2015 Expedition, which is blessed(?) with MyFordTouch. You can install aftermarket, but since the factory touchscreen controls the HVAC and a bunch of other stuff, it doesn't work all that well. These trucks started getting Sync 3 (which includes AA and Carplay) in 2016, and it is possible to retrofit that system into a 2015, but it's expensive and somewhat complex, so I've been gunshy about it.

maschinenbau
maschinenbau GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
2/29/24 10:29 a.m.

Looking at doing this soon for wife's 2014 Subaru. Crutchfield seems to be a good site to order from. Any other reputable suppliers to look at?

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
2/29/24 10:34 a.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

100% agree. The first time I got to drive a car with Andriod Auto/Apple CarPlay was an absolute game-changer.

Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter)
Tom_Spangler (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
2/29/24 10:38 a.m.
maschinenbau said:

Looking at doing this soon for wife's 2014 Subaru. Crutchfield seems to be a good site to order from. Any other reputable suppliers to look at?

Probably. But I've been buying from Crutchfield since the 80s, and they've never let me down. And recently I've found that, once you include the install kit and wiring harness adapter that they throw in, their prices are very competitive.

ross2004
ross2004 Reader
2/29/24 11:12 a.m.

Crutchfield is great. We're lucky enough to have a local store, and I recently did a head unit/speaker upgrade on my truck. One thing to be aware of with the head unit is wired vs wireless CarPlay (Andriod too I assume?). 

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
2/29/24 11:39 a.m.

I pretty much always go to Crutchfield. Good customer service and always sends me the "correct" adapter kits for whatever I'm driving.

Ranger50
Ranger50 MegaDork
2/29/24 1:56 p.m.

And here I am thinking "more horsepower" makes my vehicle more comfortable....

theruleslawyer
theruleslawyer New Reader
2/29/24 2:12 p.m.

First thing I did to my track car was put in a double din carplay headunit. Having reliable navigation and apps like torque are great. If you're not ready to ditch the stereo you might as well. The new one is lighter than the old radio anyways. 

rallyxPOS13
rallyxPOS13 GRM+ Memberand Reader
2/29/24 7:53 p.m.

I'm curious how you like the volume knob after time.

I got a similar Sony head unit because "I had to have a volume knob!"  But when using it for CarPlay, the USB chord is right where my hand wants to go to adjust volume....  I wish this would do wireless CarPlay, I wind up using it for just Bluetooth for 90% of the time unless I'm on a longer road trip:

 

Peabody
Peabody MegaDork
3/1/24 7:22 a.m.

This is one of the things I really like about my car. It has most of the fun and economy of an old Swift (I'm working on that) with the conveniences of a modern head unit, with car play, and pretty good sound quality. 

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/1/24 10:20 a.m.

I'm an Android guy and I like Android Auto but I still drive in enough places where there's no cell service that I prefer my navigation solution to be offline.

theruleslawyer
theruleslawyer New Reader
3/1/24 11:21 a.m.

In reply to APEowner :

Most phone based solutions can cache maps. Google does it. I have another app I use when traveling international when I won't have data for long periods.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 PowerDork
3/1/24 12:26 p.m.
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) said:

Agreed 100%. One of the first mods I do is install a Double DIN touch screen head unit and install a bluetooth mic + backup camera. Oh, and LED bulb replacements.

LED bulbs for map lights and dome lights are overrated IMO. I can't stand the light temperature on most of them as they remind me of the fluorescent overheads in every office space in the world. I love the warmth from standard incandescent bulbs of yesteryear. 

drsmooth
drsmooth HalfDork
3/1/24 1:06 p.m.

I may be the outlier here, but I hate having to connect my phone to a radio for functionality. I just want to click an app and use it.

 

I have an android tablet based head unit in all of my cars. Think Android tablet, mounted on your dash with a built in tuner.

These things are great, the good ones that is, there is alot of garbage. I bought and immediately returned one that didn't include a button for volume!! 

You can load them with whatever apps you choose and you don't need your phone to run them, (make sure to pre-load music and maps at home if you don't have a data connection in the car).

 

The quality of these units is all over the map so look at reviews. Even finding them can be tough (go on amazon and search android car stereo and you will be inundated with stereos that support Android auto.

The best way to find one is to search a for version of Android and Car stereo. 

For instance search "Android 11 Car Stereo" and that should give you results.   

 

The only caveat, if you like AM radio like I do, it is tough but not impossible to find one with an AM tuner. Also for those HD radio enthusiasts, while there isnt any functionality right now, there is apparently an open source HD radio app in the works.  

APEowner
APEowner GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
3/1/24 1:19 p.m.
theruleslawyer said:

In reply to APEowner :

Most phone based solutions can cache maps. Google does it. I have another app I use when traveling international when I won't have data for long periods.

That assumes you know ahead of time that there won't be data available.

spandak
spandak Dork
3/1/24 2:36 p.m.

I put the same headunit in my Boxster but I looked far and wide and bought the previous version which has the USB input in the rear. 
I couldn't find a cleaner looking unit that had a physical volume knob. 
 

Built in CarPlay and nav is very nice to have. I think I'm at the point where if I can't have CarPlay I would rather rip out the radio completely. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
3/1/24 9:18 p.m.
drsmooth said:

I may be the outlier here, but I hate having to connect my phone to a radio for functionality. I just want to click an app and use it.

 

I have an android tablet based head unit in all of my cars. Think Android tablet, mounted on your dash with a built in tuner.

These things are great, the good ones that is, there is alot of garbage. I bought and immediately returned one that didn't include a button for volume!! 

You can load them with whatever apps you choose and you don't need your phone to run them, (make sure to pre-load music and maps at home if you don't have a data connection in the car).

 

The quality of these units is all over the map so look at reviews. Even finding them can be tough (go on amazon and search android car stereo and you will be inundated with stereos that support Android auto.

The best way to find one is to search a for version of Android and Car stereo. 

For instance search "Android 11 Car Stereo" and that should give you results.   

 

The only caveat, if you like AM radio like I do, it is tough but not impossible to find one with an AM tuner. Also for those HD radio enthusiasts, while there isnt any functionality right now, there is apparently an open source HD radio app in the works.  

I always leave my head unit in the BRZ on the phone input, get in the car, open Spotify on my phone, choose a playlist and go. They are already paired so it doesn't take anymore effort than that. 

drsmooth
drsmooth HalfDork
3/2/24 11:12 a.m.
z31maniac said:
 

I always leave my head unit in the BRZ on the phone input, get in the car, open Spotify on my phone, choose a playlist and go. They are already paired so it doesn't take anymore effort than that. 

That's far too much effort for me :) i just like to get in the car and go. If the android head unit is set up correctly, it just picks up where i left off. 

prodarwin
prodarwin MegaDork
3/2/24 12:25 p.m.

If you have wireless isn't it that seamless?  And seamless across multiple vehicles too?

 

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