Question Of The Day: Hit The Deck

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
question of the day hit the deck

Today’s QOTD comes from a reader, who wants some car audio advice for his Smart ForTwo.

Reader Ed writes,

I have a 2008 Smart ForTwo (don’t mock me, I live in San Francisco and I use it as a commuter car). When I bought it used, it had a JVC head unit with navigation, Bluetooth etc. The only problem is that it won’t work with my iPhone 6+. I am in my car quite a lot, and I *need* to be able to take phone calls while I’m driving, since my clients are used to being able to reach me at all times. I also wouldn’t mind being able to play my music and charge my phone in the car.

I’ve seen the newest generation of Apple CarPlay head units, and I am really intrigued by them. Do any of the B&B have advice on which one is the best? The Pioneer unit comes highly recommended. Alternately, I am open to other options, provided they have Bluetooth, navigation and the ability to sync my phone. I am also looking for a good local shop to install it. I am willing to pay for the best deck and a good install, so budget is not much of a concern – I am not a big gearhead and I am also a very anxious person, so paying extra for a well-functioning, properly installed deck is paramount.

Anyone have any suggestions for Ed? I am not much of a car audio guy, so unfortunately, I can’t offer too much help. Hopefully someone in the readership can step in. By the way, if you have a QOTD you’d like answered, email us, editors at ttac dot com.

Join the conversation
14 of 69 comments
  • Art  Vandelay Art Vandelay on Mar 23, 2015

    JVC has always worked well for me but felt kind of cheap. Kenwood decks are basically JVC but better built. I'm not a huge Pioneer fan because I typically lime a volume knob which all but their most high end stuff lacks. Go play with some at best buy or whatever then check they will have the entire model range so you can pick out he deck you like then order it with the features you want.

  • Ccd1 Ccd1 on Mar 23, 2015

    I know you have probably drunk the Apple "coolaide", but I would suggest a head unit that can handle Apple Carplay as well as Android Auto. There are currently such units from Pioneer, Kenwood and Parrot with others to follow. I'd pick the cheapest unit that does this, but none of them will be cheap as head units that handle this are very new

  • Burgersandbeer Burgersandbeer on Mar 23, 2015

    There is no way to get the Iphone 6 working with the current JVC unit via bluetooth? Did you already remove all paired devices from the JVC unit and then try to add the phone? There might be other troubleshooting steps to try as well. I thought bluetooth was a well-defined standard. You might not be able to sync your contacts to the head unit, but that is surprising that you can't make a connection at all.

    • See 4 previous
    • MBella MBella on Mar 24, 2015

      @Sigivald The cars I'm talking about supported the new protocol. Apple's products are designed so that manufacturers of accessories play by their rules. Then they decide to change the rules constantly. There were about 3 or 4 different changes made on the both the 5 and 5s during their runs that caused interface issues, and required software updates for the head-units to get to work. You could have two identical IPhones in your hand, one would work fine and the other would have issues just because Apple decided to change something that month.

  • Tuffjuff Tuffjuff on Mar 23, 2015

    Admittedly I only read 30 or 40 responses first, but it seems I'm the only person who may actually try and answer OP's question. Pioneer seems to have the best combination of usability and aesthetic. Their AVIC-NEX series (5000NEX, 6000NEX, 7000NEX) are in the $650-$900 range. All three - and likely other models - support iPhone 6/6Plus with a software update that Best Buy, etc, would do during install. They'll interface with Siri, and to my knowledge phone calls, the reading of text messages and playing music or podcasts all integrate seamlessly with your iPhone. If the HVAC weren't combined into it, one of these is what I'd put in my 2013 Equinox to replace MyLink. I *really* want navigation, and aside from a shady looking $1,200 add-on kit which, if I'm reading correctly, involves sending a shady company my old center stack after installation, I seem to have no other option. Not sure how factory back-up camera or other in-car controls integrate into these decks, though.

    • See 4 previous
    • Epsilonkore Epsilonkore on Mar 24, 2015

      @Kyree It was a daunting and ultimately self defeating journey that I took with my Saturn Sky trying to upgrade it to a Pioneer unit several years ago. I agree, if you have multiple GM systems already... just stick with it and weep when you see someones superior aftermarket solution that you cant have because of all the integrated Onstar/IntelliLink/Turn Signals/Door chimes/Diagnostics going through the basic function GM stereo :/