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Old 03-18-2010, 07:54 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Factory vs. Aftermarket Navigation

Hi,
Subie Newbie here. I am pondering a 2010 Outback Limited w/NAV.

First, I've heard mostly negative reviews of Subaru's NAV. Anybody really like it?

I see the Subaru Nav unit is mounted in a double-DIN spot in the dash, and below that there's some sort of DVD/stereo unit as well. But 5 years from now, when the Outback NAV unit goes out, I'll likely install something else. But the aftermarket units seem to all be rolled into the single double-DIN package, no extra volume-control unit or such necessary along with it. So if I DO replace the NAV unit in the future, I'd have a then-useless stereo sitting in my dash.

So I think I should get the car without NAV, and put in a Pioneer AVIC-Z110BT (or similar). http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...10BT.html#tabs But I don't feel 100% comfortable with that. I'm reasonably mechanical and not too afraid to rip things apart. That said, I have some questions:
  • First, will I miss any functionality in the Subaru unit that cannot be duplicated in the aftermarket unit? ...On-board MPG stats, for example? Something else esoteric?
Furthermore,
  • Are aftermarket units generally easy to install?
  • Will the aftermarket install look clumsy, or will it look elegant? I notice that Metra has the double-DIN bracket. http://www.sonicelectronix.com/item_...+95-8904B.html How does it look? Do you have any pictures?
  • The Metra bracket changes the angle of the screen, it seems; it's more vertically oriented than the original. Does that help or hurt the visibility or usability? Or neither?
  • Since the Limited comes with the H/K unit and Bluetooth, could I use the existing microphone with an Aftermarket unit? It looks like the mic is right above the climate controls, but on some pictures I see just a cubbyhole (maybe those are of cars with the default stereo?)
  • If not, would the microphone from the Pioneer be easy to install? I imagine there's already a location somewhere in the car that is made for the mic.
  • Also, how about an aftermarket backup camera? Are those relatively easy to install? I'm guessing I have to run some wires under the floor or something. But do modern cars have a wiring bus, ready to go...? That could make it really easy.
Thanks for any suggestions or help. I have yet to try a Limited with the NAV here in Chicago; they don't seem to be easy to find. At any rate, I want to hear from someone who's done some of these things. Thanks again.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:07 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I had a vehicle with factory nav--I installed a Garmin Nuvi 1390t in my 2010 OB in the lower cubby Garmin GPS Navigation install.

After 3 months I do not miss the factory nav--ask yourself --How often will I use the nav...is it worth $2000, is it worth ripping out the front of the dash and messing with the wiring to install aftermarket?? BTW the Garmin probably is better than the factory nav as far as features go--I love the live traffic alerts. And updates are way less than factory.
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Old 03-18-2010, 02:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Welcome GreyGnome.

The answer as to which way is better is totally in the eye of the beholder. Some people are appalled at paying $2000 for the package, while others are perfectly willing to rationalize it as worth the price of admission to have everything neatly integrated -- I took the latter path.

It also depends on what you can afford. Many competing cars cost more without the nav than the Outback does with, so again you can rationalize. If you get the car at invoice, the cost of the nav+ moonroof is actually $2500, so one could say you're paying about $1700 for nav + rear camera + iPod and $800 for the moonroof.

Since I got the nav, I can't tell you too much about aftermarket, but as you noted, double-DIN adapter plates are now available for the 2010 Outback, so it is entirely do-able to go aftermarket.

As far as what's integrated... well, the main things integrated include the rear camera, steering wheel controls (including voice activation), Bluetooth, and iPod/USB. The external LED clock also auto-sets from the nav clock signal - so you never have to set it, except to toggle daylight savings. Other than that, there's unfortunately no other integration with the car (you can't program door locks or interior light delays, no enhanced trip computer functions, etc.) which is a bummer.

Any mid-to-high end double-DIN nav will support all of the functions as well (except setting the external clock), but I'm sure installation is a major project, especially with the rear camera and steering wheel control integration. Even professionally installed, a good aftermarket system should cost less than $1700 including the rear camera and iPod interface, so if you don't like the factory nav, it's certainly worth exploring aftermarket options.

The mic on the factory system is in the head unit; I'm not sure about the non-nav H/K, but my guess is that you can't reuse that; it's probably proprietary. Aftermarket systems have a long mic cable that you can easily route under the A-pillar or near the steering wheel that will work fine.

The killer feature for me was that the factory system boots up and displays the rear camera picture in less than 10 seconds. I've read lots of reviews in years past where aftermarket systems take over 30-60 seconds to start up -- making the backup camera worthless when you need it the most (I.E., in a hurry). I'm not sure if newer-generation systems have improved on this.

So again, it's all about simplicity, priorities, complexity, etc.

The factory nav works fine for me, but the mediocre user interface and relatively steep learning curve leave something to be desired considering it's 2010. It also doesn't support XM Traffic, but that wasn't important to me but may be to others.

I give it a 7 out of 10 stars. But if I had to do it again, I'd probably still get it.

Have fun,

Elliot
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:40 PM   #4 (permalink)
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"The killer feature for me was that the factory system boots up and displays the rear camera picture in less than 10 seconds. I've read lots of reviews in years past where aftermarket systems take over 30-60 seconds to start up -- making the backup camera worthless when you need it the most (I.E., in a hurry). I'm not sure if newer-generation systems have improved on this."

With my Kenwood, the backup camera is available within seconds, before the nav etc boots up.

Some aftermarket units - Kenwood DNX9140 (like mine) and Pioneer AVIC-Z910BT have a tilting screen that can be adjusted to the same angle as the dash.

The mic for my Kenwood is clipped to the headliner above the mirror, cable goes under the headliner and down the A pillar.

"But the aftermarket units seem to all be rolled into the single double-DIN package"

Not true, many are double-DIN, like the Pioneers and Kenwoods - Alpine is only single DIN I think.

An aftermarket backup camera can easily attach to the license plate bracket, running the wire back to it would be more work, need to get inside the rear door panel.

All in all I'm happy with my Kenwood, it supports many options including traffic, XM and Sirius. It is a real Garmin inside instead of the crippled Garmin in the factory nav, nothing is locked ot except the DVD play requires the emergency brake on, and the display is 800x480 (7") which gives you full DVD resolution and a great backup camera image.

Another nice feature is 5 channel standard line level outputs if you add an amplifier like the Alpine PDX-5, you can get dolby 4.1 sound from a DVD (if you have a subwoofer)

When you search for a business in the nav, if you have a bluetooth connection for your phone it allows you to directly call that business by touching the Call button on the screen, does the factory nav have that option?
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Old 03-18-2010, 03:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by eps105
Welcome GreyGnome.

The answer as to which way is better is totally in the eye of the beholder. Some people are appalled at paying $2000 for the package, while others are perfectly willing to rationalize it as worth the price of admission to have everything neatly integrated -- I took the latter path.

It also depends on what you can afford. Many competing cars cost more without the nav than the Outback does with, so again you can rationalize. If you get the car at invoice, the cost of the nav+ moonroof is actually $2500, so one could say you're paying about $1700 for nav + rear camera + iPod and $800 for the moonroof.

Since I got the nav, I can't tell you too much about aftermarket, but as you noted, double-DIN adapter plates are now available for the 2010 Outback, so it is entirely do-able to go aftermarket.

As far as what's integrated... well, the main things integrated include the rear camera, steering wheel controls (including voice activation), Bluetooth, and iPod/USB. The external LED clock also auto-sets from the nav clock signal - so you never have to set it, except to toggle daylight savings. Other than that, there's unfortunately no other integration with the car (you can't program door locks or interior light delays, no enhanced trip computer functions, etc.) which is a bummer.

Any mid-to-high end double-DIN nav will support all of the functions as well (except setting the external clock), but I'm sure installation is a major project, especially with the rear camera and steering wheel control integration. Even professionally installed, a good aftermarket system should cost less than $1700 including the rear camera and iPod interface, so if you don't like the factory nav, it's certainly worth exploring aftermarket options.

The mic on the factory system is in the head unit; I'm not sure about the non-nav H/K, but my guess is that you can't reuse that; it's probably proprietary. Aftermarket systems have a long mic cable that you can easily route under the A-pillar or near the steering wheel that will work fine.

The killer feature for me was that the factory system boots up and displays the rear camera picture in less than 10 seconds. I've read lots of reviews in years past where aftermarket systems take over 30-60 seconds to start up -- making the backup camera worthless when you need it the most (I.E., in a hurry). I'm not sure if newer-generation systems have improved on this.

So again, it's all about simplicity, priorities, complexity, etc.

The factory nav works fine for me, but the mediocre user interface and relatively steep learning curve leave something to be desired considering it's 2010. It also doesn't support XM Traffic, but that wasn't important to me but may be to others.

I give it a 7 out of 10 stars. But if I had to do it again, I'd probably still get it.

Have fun,

Elliot

$2000 back up camera! Wow
You can get just a backup camera installed for dirt cheap these days I put one in my landcruiser for $200 it goes on the instant I push the button and works regardless of what gear etc I'm in. Great for taking a peek to see if the trailer wires are OK during a long drive etc.

The built in NAVI units are moving to more of a in car computer system which will be outdated in 2-3 years as most computers generally are. Then your stuck with a built in item taking up a large amount of dash space which is no longer all that user friendly.

The main reason 50yrs and under folks do not get built in NAVI units any more is that everyone has their own preference it TomTom - Iphone app - Garmin Nuvi - the list goes on and on. All of which are very small easily updated by taking them in the house and pugging them into the computer - not to mention you can take them with you when your not in the car etc.

It's personal preference but generally speaking the average person who wants the built in NAV unit are 50yrs and over and want the "all installed built in factory must be better thing"
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:19 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by subiesailor



$2000 back up camera! Wow
You can get just a backup camera installed for dirt cheap these days I put one in my landcruiser for $200 it goes on the instant I push the button and works regardless of what gear etc I'm in. Great for taking a peek to see if the trailer wires are OK during a long drive etc.

The built in NAVI units are moving to more of a in car computer system which will be outdated in 2-3 years as most computers generally are. Then your stuck with a built in item taking up a large amount of dash space which is no longer all that user friendly.

The main reason 50yrs and under folks do not get built in NAVI units any more is that everyone has their own preference it TomTom - Iphone app - Garmin Nuvi - the list goes on and on. All of which are very small easily updated by taking them in the house and pugging them into the computer - not to mention you can take them with you when your not in the car etc.

It's personal preference but generally speaking the average person who wants the built in NAV unit are 50yrs and over and want the "all installed built in factory must be better thing"
The cameras are way less than $2000 - he meant the whole package. My Kenwood allows use of the camera at any time, even split screen. As far as being outdated, the maps and firmware can be updated (DVD and SDHC), and the basic functions will still be the same in a few years - are you expecting 3-D or heads-up navigation? One of the things I like about the built-in is that you don't have to hide it or take it in the house to keep from getting it stolen. A portable GPS for hiking or whatever is cheap, get a second one for that function. No portable GPS will have all of the other functions like killer sound, and ability to play DVDs.

I find you age discrimination offensive, don't stereotype me! It happens that I have three GPS units - the in-dash, a NUVI and one for hiking (yes people over 50 actually go hiking - gasp!) But then again, I can afford it.... Get a clue pal.
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Old 03-18-2010, 04:28 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by duallydave


The cameras are way less than $2000 - he meant the whole package. My Kenwood allows use of the camera at any time, even split screen. As far as being outdated, the maps and firmware can be updated (DVD and SDHC), and the basic functions will still be the same in a few years - are you expecting 3-D or heads-up navigation? One of the things I like about the built-in is that you don't have to hide it or take it in the house to keep from getting it stolen. A portable GPS for hiking or whatever is cheap, get a second one for that function. No portable GPS will have all of the other functions like killer sound, and ability to play DVDs.

I find you age discrimination offensive, don't stereotype me! It happens that I have three GPS units - the in-dash, a NUVI and one for hiking (yes people over 50 actually go hiking - gasp!) But then again, I can afford it.... Get a clue pal.
When reviewing the Nav option with my dealer - this is what he said - are you under 50? I say yes -then he says look if you get a Nav unit you'll be the first person under 50yrs of age I've sold a car with a NAV unit in.

By the way I'm getting great sound from my H/K + subwoofer and tweeter kit no NAV needed. Even better sound if I have my custom car shop buddy go into the presets and set up speed related sound levels vs the factory h/k setting.

He also said that auto makers buy the rights to use a brand name ie Harmon/Kardon and that the components are nothing special except that in an upgraded system you do get better quality items.


I'm not age typing you just saying the normal trend is that 50+yrs and up they generally want a built in - 50yrs and younger do not. And trust me it has nothing to do with money.

Glad to hear you keep a GPS in the car for hiking they are ultra cheap and if a few folks had taken that approach our local county search crews would have spent a whole lot less of our limited funds trying to find lost people ;-)

I love my chart plotter on my sailboat but the old school knowing channel markers still comes into play when the fog drops down to the water. The GPS is great but it still can't make up for local knowledge and a good ear.
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Old 03-18-2010, 05:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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perhaps a lot of folks under 50 have kids in college or other priorities that make the premium charged for the integrated navs just too extravagant. Anyway, being a bit of a techy and under age 50, I had the disposable income to satisfy my desire for an integrated system, so I did. I was tired of suction cups, after-market camera installs, audio upgrades, and concerns about theft.

The only compelling advantage to going after-market for me would be the pesky liability lockouts common to OEM navs these days. Hacks make this less of a factor. In 5 years, obsolescence will probably be someone else's concern. YMMV
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:08 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Hi,
The Gnomenator here again. Thanks for the erudite and interesting replies. Could you tell me where on the NAV-equipped OB, the mic is located?

I just turned 50 on 2/27, so I guess this is why I'm so on-the-fence. Throughout my personal history I have been quite the hacker, so I'm attracted to installing my own Nav unit. Plus I like to save money, and get better stuff for cheaper. However, I really want my car to look slick and integrated and so on, and- as an over-50-year-old, I'm willing to pay 2 grand to do so (don't tell my area dealers).

Well, I have an extended test drive scheduled for tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes. 2010 Outback vs. Honda CR-V... the Subaru dealer says, "You can't really compare those two cars." Well, I am. Always the iconoclast, I guess
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Old 03-18-2010, 08:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by GreyGnome
Hi,
The Gnomenator here again. Thanks for the erudite and interesting replies. Could you tell me where on the NAV-equipped OB, the mic is located?

I just turned 50 on 2/27, so I guess this is why I'm so on-the-fence. Throughout my personal history I have been quite the hacker, so I'm attracted to installing my own Nav unit. Plus I like to save money, and get better stuff for cheaper. However, I really want my car to look slick and integrated and so on, and- as an over-50-year-old, I'm willing to pay 2 grand to do so (don't tell my area dealers).

Well, I have an extended test drive scheduled for tomorrow morning. We'll see how it goes. 2010 Outback vs. Honda CR-V... the Subaru dealer says, "You can't really compare those two cars." Well, I am. Always the iconoclast, I guess
If it makes you feel any better my 66yr old mother has a 2010 legacy premium - no nav - her words I have an Iphone and a Tom Tom.. Ok then no NAV for you.

Then again she tends to keep her cars for a long time too which was her other point she's on her 2nd GPS the first one was a pain in the ass to use (her words)

Like I said its personal preference at least your not having the dealer install an actual old school car phone like my father inlaw. LOL
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