Due to Pioneer's recent issues with their new product I have been using Kenwood with great success. I am leaving this message here so as not to air all of this stuff out in public. The car dealers do not want me to charge close to what I charge them since they get around $1700 for what I am about to describe to you. That is a fair retail price for something sold at a new-car dealership but I can work with you directly and you can save some money. I have installed the Kenwood DNX-5120, -7120 and I have the -8120 in my own smart (it replaced my -5120 because I needed one for a client's smart).
My recommendation is to choose the DNX-5120, and to also install the iPod cable at the same time, which rests in the glove compartment. This cable charges the iPod while driving and the Kenwood GPS radio allows you full control of artists, playlists, etc. on your iPod from the touchscreen. One real benefit of having me install it at your home or office, which only takes 10 minutes, is that I can spend as much time as needed, typically a half hour, showing you all of the ins & outs, since I use mine everyday.
The big advantage the -5120 has is over the others is a manual rotary volume knob. The others use 2 small (really small) buttons to raise and lower volume, which is hard to use.
Your price includes: The brand-new Kenwood DNX-5120, the wiring harness adapter, the German antenna adapter, professional installation, a full training session and the best dash kit out there. It looks really cool! The total price for this package installed at your home or office is $1350. I have photos. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to see them. Thanks! You will LOVE this system!
PS: I do NOT recommend any brand of built-in Bluetooth phone system, regardless of brand. I have a stand-alone one that sounds MUCH better.
Yes. There is a combination of hardware, firmware and software challenges. Pioneer is aware of them, and is attempting to make firmware and software changes. The challenges seen so far are:
1. Poor screen visibility in moderate to bright sunlight. In a well-lit interior, the screen can be completely unreadable.
2. Slow operation. Boot-up time is about 30 seconds, and sometimes it takes the navigation system minutes to begin operating. All operations seem to lag a little bit, especially iPod scrolling.
3. Naviation re-routes often for some reason. One store reported seven re-routes going northbound on the 405 from Orange County to Los Angeles.
4. “Quirky” navigation software. Overall, it seems to work OK, but the street entry can be difficult (requires city first) and it does some weird stuff.
5. Voice operation requires some learning curve, and while it seems pretty good on Bluetooth, it’s hit or miss with music searching.
6. No owner’s manual. Right…it’s on the Pioneer website, available for download. Load up your ink cartridge, it’s about 300 pages.
What is the fix?
Pioneer is working on software and firmware updates that should eliminate some or all of the bugs, and increase the speed of the unit. It does not appear that Pioneer can do anything about hardware issues at this time. So, we can expect better operation, but the unit will still be a little slow to react and will have screen washout