CarPlay recommendations?


I am looking for suggestions-recommendations for a CarPlay compatible unit.

What the current stereo system looks like:

And an example of a completed conversion

EDIT: Looking for unit for CarPlay (and radio) use only — seeking to avoid the hideous interfaces common across car stereo systems, especially touchscreen units


I love my Alpine one.

Had it fitted by a company called Street Sound and Vision in Melbourne.


Thanks @jaysee Do you mind sharing how much the installation cost (was a new dash facia plate required)?


Sure. I paid $1220 all up, including:

Head Unit ($699 from memory)
VW adapter for head unit
Facia around head unit
Alpine rear camera
Installation of all



What car is that going into @avolve?

The VW is easier in that the original RCD/RNS units are essentially just a double din unit and don’t integrate the AC controls so it’s easy enough to just swap one out (with an appropriate CANBUS adaptor and face plate).

Do you already have a replacement AC control unit and mounting plate conversion thing in that picture?
Do you need an adaptor (like the CANBUS one needed for the VW)?

Assuming you have (or can get) both the above, the install might be as simple as plug and play if you’re handy enough with trim removal tools. It’s not nearly as daunting as it sounds.

We have two VWs and I’ve got a Pioneer AVIC in one and the stock RNS510 in the other. I keep looking at CarPlay but can’t quite justify the cost for what you get since I’ve got nav/bluetooth/RVC in both cars already.

…but if I was in the market for a new head unit, I would be (and have been) tempted by one of the Android based units which support DAB+, which sadly means you miss out on CarPlay (last I looked), but get other fun stuff… like the ability to run Torque Pro and other nav apps. You can also have the unit itself connecting to the internet and doing your streaming stuff which maybe meets your needs (although sync might then be a concern).

Otherwise I’m a fan of Pioneer, although usually end up way up in their product line to get the combination of features I want. Sadly to get CarPlay & DAB+ you need to step up to their nav units which means it’s $1,500+ for the head unit. My experience with built in NAV is mixed. While it works just fine, it tends to be waaay more out of date, updates are rare and it’s missing basic features that sub $100 portable units have (like speed cameras/.school zone warning). Still it’s handy that it just works all the time.


It’s for a 2004 Subaru Outback.

The main issue is that the stock system does not have an aux/audio in jack (or bluetooth) due to the age of the car (it has a cassette player in below the upper LCD(?) display in the image above).

Otherwise I would be happy to use an iPhone only.

Even replacing the stock unit with a relatively basic single din system requires some work (and cost), unfortunately…


Something from here:

although it’s not particularly cheap even just for those parts.

Plan B: Is there another model Subaru that has a better stereo with a line in or bluetooth you could upgrade to??? Or does that end up being stoopid expensive because everyone else is also wanting to do that?


Yes, the face plate is already ~$300. I am not aware of an upgrade with the same faceplate to add an aux-in, though will do some further research to see if one can be added to the existing stereo system (very unlikely).


I was wondering if there was a head unit some other more upmarket model that had the features you’re looking for instead of an add on?

There are other solutions like this (chosen only because it was the first link I saw) which help bridge the gap, although I’m sure audio quality would suffer… although how badly is a good question and down to the individuals ears as well as what you are listening to.

Also this:


In the interim I might go with a Belkin Tunecast (similar to the first link). FM is not great, though much cheaper an option…

I have used on in the past (different vehicle).


a GROMM thing, check the subyclub forums and face book page, then you can use your original setup.

if its not harmon kardon then its easier and you can just use that two piece setup and whatever head unit you like

not a fan of carplay, I’ve got an expensive pioneer F70BT and i ended up totally disabling it


Kenwood make some that get good reviews.

If you want the plain CarPlay only option, Alpine (no Bluetooth) or Pioneer AppRadio 4 (latter need to get from USA).

Sadly no decent options for just a ‘dumb screen’. Shame no one has Wireless CarPlay figured either.

The JBL Legend looks good, but so far has been vapourware.


So glad I just bit the bullet and got the Alpine. I love it every time I get in my car. So freaking awesome. Can’t recommend enough!

What CarPlay head unit (late 2018)?