These days, a person can get entertainment suites in cars with touchscreens and all kinds of gizmos. However, many are expensive options which leads many to wonder if it’s possible to approximate the features for less money using an aftermarket deck of some sort.
Anyone who has tried to install an aftermarket stereo deck in a late model car will likely espouse that manufacturers make it hard on purpose. After all, it’s in car maker and dealerships’ best interest to get you to pay more for options.
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For the purposes of illustration, on the 2012 Ford Focus SE, the second-from-bottom trim package, there are two packages for MyFord and Sync features, which cost $795 and $1,195, respectively, with the more expensive package having the full range of MyFord and Sync functions. For instance, it has Bluetooth connectivity, hands-free Bluetooth operation, satellite navigation with real-time traffic updates, a USB port, voice-operation for entertainment, phone and navigation and so forth.
This begs the question if one would save money by installing an aftermarket stereo with the same stuff?
Whether or not it saves money comes down to the cost of the deck plus the cost of installation.
For instance, CarToys has a Kenwood DNX-6990HD stereo deck available that has, as near as makes no difference, the same functions as Ford’s Equipment Group 203A, the $1,195 MyFord and Sync suite. The deck costs $999 before a $100 mail-in rebate.
After the rebate, it will come in under the cost of the upgrade if installation costs are less than $296, which is not difficult to reach. Also, installing the Kenwood would mean steering wheel controls would no longer function, though an aftermarket control panel can be installed as well, which would push the cost further toward parity, if not over the cost of the upgrade.
Kenwood DNX-69990HD decks are also available on Amazon.com for as little as $819, with free shipping. If one were to buy it and then have it installed, installation costs plus the cost of the deck would have to be less than $1,195 to be cost effective.
Comparison shopping a must
Of course, that is just one model of stereo deck. Also, that’s the MSRP from Ford, which customers wish they could pay at dealerships. The option might add more to the list price than Ford does .
As with any DIY solution to save money, the onus is on the consumer to do their homework. If one is looking to have their cake and eat it too, like having all the same functions as a spendy options package for less cash, they have to find products which provide those same functions, which takes some time but could well pay off.