If you’re driv­ing a ve­hi­cle that missed out on an OEM touch­screen au­dio dis­play and hands-free Blue­tooth phone ca­pa­bil­i­ties, here’s an el­e­gant, easy and eco­nom­i­cal way to bring your ve­hi­cle into the smart­phone world and add a backup cam­era. It’s only one of Pi­o­neer’s dozen or so Ap­ple CarPlay op­tions too, so there is apt to be one to in­te­grate into your ride. It links to iOS de­vices and al­lows map­ping and tunes to be played and con­trolled on the NEX from ser­vices like Pan­dora and Spo­tify. It can of­fer some hands-free ca­pa­bil­i­ties with An­droid too. Tune it to find the ra­dio sta­tions you want, or play a CD or DVD on board. There are plenty of en­ter­tain­ment op­tions avail­able and stan­dard. It in­te­grates with Pi­o­neer’s ND-BC8 backup cam­era to give a 129-de­gree-wide and 105-de­gree-high im­age.

ALSO COOL: In ad­di­tion to all its in­te­grated mu­sic apps and iPhone CarPlay, it plays DVDs too.

IN­STAL­LA­TION: This is likely not a DIY project for most and re­quires ex­per­tise to de­ter­mine which mount­ing brack­ets and au­to­mo­tive sys­tem in­terfaces are re­quired to max­i­mize ve­hi­cle in­te­gra­tion. It in­cludes a mi­cro­phone for hands-free calls and of­fers the ca­pa­bil­ity to send and re­ceive text mes­sages hands-free. Mount­ing brack­ets and frames run from $100 for a ba­sic mount to re­place a stan­dard pre-smart­phone au­dio sys­tem to $300-plus for a mount­ing panel with a heat­ing and air-con­di­tion­ing con­trol in­ter­face.

PROS: This can give any solid but older ve­hi­cle cut­ting-edge com­mu­ni­ca­tions, map­ping and en­ter­tain­ment op­tions for a more en­joy­able cruise. Ap­ple CarPlay lets your sys­tem dis­play iOS map­ping on the dis­play. An op­tional GPS mod­ule is avail­able, but with Ap­ple CarPlay, we think it’s re­dun­dant. CONS: The AVH-1330NEX is not an in­ex­pen­sive short­cut to in­te­grated fac­tory au­dio, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and map­ping sys­tems in newer ve­hi­cles, but it does suc­cess­fully bring those things to older ve­hi­cles in its stand­alone for­mat via Ap­ple CarPlay or An­droid Blue­tooth con­nec­tion. There are lots of technical ques­tions to re­solve when choos­ing this sys­tem, and it will re­quire pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion.

COST: $400; pi­o­neer­elec­tron­ics.com

MoÕ Betta Pi­o­neer brings full-fea­tured me­dia and nav­i­ga­tion suites for af­ter­mar­ket use.

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