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How to Upgrade Stereo in Honda CR-V?

If you have a Honda CR-V and want to upgrade your outdated stereo system, you’ve come to the right spot.

Many aftermarket radios compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto can be a better alternative to the factory stereo, but how to upgrade the stereo in Honda CR-V? Let’s find out.

To upgrade the radio in Honda CR-V you have to detach the dashboard (if needed), remove the old radio, and replace it with the aftermarket stereo. When installing a new radio, remember to make the proper wire connections and attach the steering wheel controls.

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Tip: Aftermarket stereos come with various features like GPS navigation, Bluetooth, and reverse camera capability, which is also standard in most of the new Honda models, however, if you drive older CR-V, you may really benefit from the stereo update and a few specific models will work well in your vehicle.

From the two din radios, one I would definitely consider is the Alpine INE-W970HD, especially if you want to use it as a multimedia center with the DVD/CD and need a Sat Nav.

It is costly though, so as a more budget-friendly radio with similar features, I would choose Kenwood DDX26BT. It is however not equipped with the Sat Navigation.

Alpine INE-W970HD Navigation Receiver

In the article below, I will show you a step-by-step process of replacing the radio in the Honda CR-V and will help you to choose the best aftermarket stereo.

How to Replace a Honda CR-V Stereo?

You can easily remove or replace CR-V radios, whether in standard style or with the newer premium navigation units released in 2015.

The steps below will show you how to do it:

Step 1

Look for the inner knee panel underneath the steering wheel.

Using a head screwdriver, remove the two Phillips-head screws to detach the panel. After that, lift the panels away from the dashboard.

Step 2

Open the glove compartment and lower it by pressing the sides in with your hands while holding the box’s edges.

Next, remove the two head screws on the left side of the glove box aperture using a screwdriver.

Step 3

There is a little interior compartment at the base of the center dashboard. 

Remove the panel from the dashboard by popping out the clips on either side with the interior clip removal tool.

Step 4

Slowly remove the plastic panel that covers the stereo from the dashboard.

You must separate the cigarette lighter’s wiring from the panel before removing it from the dash.

Step 5

Look for two head screws and eight-millimeter bolts on each side of the radio after removing the panel in Step 4.

It is best to remove them with a head screwdriver, a 1/4-inch socket, and a ratchet. After that, remove the audio panels from the dash of the vehicle. Using your hands, disconnect the electricals from the vehicle’s back.

Step 6

To remove the stereo from its mounting panel, use a 1/4-inch ratchet and socket.

Replacing a factory radio with an aftermarket radio requires the same set of tools and components. Before reinstalling your audio in your car’s dashboard, ensure you connect everything in the correct order.

Which Radios Are Standard on Honda CR-V?

The CR-V’s stock radio system includes a 4-speaker “base” model, a 6-speaker “luxury” model, and a navigation system introduced in 2015.

When Honda added the navigation system to the dash that already featured a driver’s information center, some lucky CR-V drivers enjoyed two screens at once.

Regardless of the model you have, for all there are aftermarket stereos are available in two sizes:

  • Single DIN
  • Double-DIN

It makes it easy to find the right fit for your vehicle’s original receiver. However, depending on the model you plan to install, you may lose several factory features like:

  • satellite radio
  • navigation
  • steering wheel controls

How to Select the Best Car Stereo for Your CR-V?

Why buy a new Honda CR-V stereo? Aftermarket stereos usually have more settings and outstanding sound than standard ones.

Even though an aftermarket car radio can be louder than many factory units, the sound quality in most cases is better because of its power and circuit design.

In addition, enhanced tone controls allow you to fine-tune the sound more effectively.

Below are the standard features on all five Honda CR-V trim models:

Honda CR-V LX

It comes standard with a four-speaker, 160-watt stereo system, Bluetooth streaming audio, and a front USB port for charging and communication.

CR-V Special Edition

It features a six-speaker 180-watt audio system as standard equipment.

CR-V EX and EX-L

Both have a one-touch power moonroof and second-row USB connections, so passengers in the back can keep their compatible devices charged while driving.

CR-V EX-L

It adds another speaker, bringing the total to eight.

What Are the Benefits of Upgrading the Stereo in the Honda CR-V?

There are a variety of other reasons you would consider buying a new stereo, such as:

  • Bluetooth
  • GPS
  • Spotify
  • Playback of digital media files, such as high-resolution music files
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

Let’s look at the essential features when buying an aftermarket car stereo.

Large Display

While stunning looks are an excellent starting point, a big screen stereo offers much more than a better look.

At a glance, you can access all the relevant information you need when driving. You will also add smartphone connectivity, navigation, and extra cameras.

There are three basic types of touchscreen receivers:

  • Double size (4 “tall) in-dash receivers, which is the most common design
  • 2 “tall receivers with fold-out screens
  • Emerging “floating” touchscreen receiver

The size of the screen and the information it can display are the most important considerations for any modern multimedia stereo.

Let’s look at how to get the most out of a touchscreen radio receiver.

Phone Support

It’s far easier to view a wide-screen as your receiver’s display than the single-line displays of standard car stereos.

Quick access to the music, the caller, and the route ahead are all made easy by this feature.

Add a Camera for Safety

A rear-view camera on your touchscreen stereo can be a lifesaver in avoiding accidents and remaining safe when reversing.

Its wide field of view provides a much more comprehensive picture of what’s behind you than a standard rear-view mirror.

Although one reverse camera is a standard in most cars, many new stereos support multiple cameras, including a front and a side view.

Kenwood CMOS-230

The CMOS-230 is a basic surface-mounted universal backup camera from Kenwood that is a perfect match for the rear of your CR-V because it is only a cubic inch in size.

After installation, you can check the rear view of the receiver’s video display.

The camera has a 128-degree horizontal and 103-degree vertical field of vision, so you will clearly see what is happening behind the vehicle when reversing or towing something.

The package comes with a long 24-foot cable and harness combination that features a composite video connector compatible with nearly any video receiver.

Kenwood CMOS-230 Universal CMOS Back-Up Camera

HCE-C2100RD Alpine

Although this excellent camera has a better view with more lines adjustments, HCE-C2100RD from Alpine is compatible only with the Alpine stereos.

This HDR rear-view camera is a must-have addition if you’re using an Alpine touchscreen car stereo for your CR-V and want to see everything behind you.

The tiny camera is less than one square inch in size, so it fits well and provides you with a great, extended view when backing up or towing. 

With your Alpine receiver, you can select from four distinct viewing modes: 

  • Rear-view
  • Corner
  • Ground
  • Panorama

The kit includes a 34-foot connection with a custom Alpine plug to connect the camera to a compatible Alpine stereo.

Alpine HCE-C2600FD Multi-View Front HDR Camera System

Navigating Using On-Screen GPS

GPS-enabled touch screen stereos are a godsend for motorists who depend on their vehicles navigating city routes.

If you don’t want to pay extra for built-in navigation or future map upgrades, opt for a touchscreen stereo with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

Both options rely on apps like Google Maps to navigate, and the map looks excellent on the large display.

Efficient and Informative Display

Aside from music and calling, touchscreen receivers often allow you to change the background and style.

You have complete control over how your display looks and organize the features you use most often.

Better Sound Control

To fine-tune your music system, top high-end receivers include excellent features known from the expensive external sound processors:

  • Digital time correction
  • Parametric Equalization

Even those with lower prices, aftermarket stereos provide more audio control than the average factory radio.

Aesthetic Look

The high-tech displays of aftermarket car stereos can improve your vehicle’s interior aesthetic.

A multi-line display can be an option to make it easier to see information about:

  • Songs
  • Albums
  • Artists

Also, the high-tech display makes it simpler to operate and fine-tune the stereo.

Customizable color schemes and full-color animated displays are among the popular options available. Also, if you are a party fan, consider a stereo with flashlights if you want more immersive effects added to the listening experience.

Floating screens, often as large as 9 or 10 inches, are the newest trend in vehicle stereos. They don’t fit in the dash but “float” in front of it.

Stereos of this caliber have a far better “wow factor” and a more remarkable ability to be “easy to use.”

Expandability

When installing the new stereo to the Honda CR-V, you have a further possibility to expand the sound system by:

  • Subwoofers
  • Amplifiers
  • Connecting music players
  • Back-seat screens

The Best Aftermarket Honda CR-V Car Stereos

Every vehicle comes equipped with a car stereo so that you can enjoy music while traveling, listen to the news while driving to work, or simply use GPS to navigate around town.

As with everyone else, Honda CR-V owners must look for the best automobile stereo systems for their cars.

To make your search easier, I listed a few of my favorite radios that I can recommend to anyone because of their quality and reliability. So let’s have a look at each one:

Alpine INE-W970HD with SAT NAV

This is my best pick. Built-in GPS navigation and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay compatibility help Alpine’s INE-W970HD navigation receiver with the DVD/CD reader, stand out from the competition.

It has an HD radio built-in and connects to SiriusXM, which is great news for radio lovers. Some of the outstanding features include:

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay

A dedicated “Voice” button on the stereo’s bezel allows you to activate voice commands by saying a keyword or pressing it.

The only downside of this radio is that you need to have a stable USB connection with your phone for both device types.

GPS Navigation

The navigation tools in Alpine begin with accurate maps of Puerto Rico, the US, the Virgin Islands, and Canada.

At each turn, you will hear spoken directions that include street names. The display can also provide 3D views of the landscape or 3D renderings of buildings and landmarks if needed.

A Clear Display and Intuitive Connectivity

The INE-W970HD has a 6.5-inch HD display that is not the largest, but it offers excellent clarity.

It comes with two USB ports allowing you to connect a phone and a flash drive simultaneously. Using the HDMI port, you can mirror your smartphone device’s screen to your screen.

Alpine INE-W970HD 6.5" Receiver Endless Entertainment Bundle with SiriusXM Tuner and Alpine 6.5" Coaxial Speakers. Built-in Navigation with 3D Mapping, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, DVD/CD, HD Radio

Driver Assistance

The receiver is compatible with Alpine’s DVR-C320R 2-camera system, with a built-in drive assist which will give you the following features:

  • Lane departure warnings
  • Front collision warnings
  • Front car movement warnings

In addition, you can also record HD video views from the dash, interior, and back of your car.

Kenwood DDX26BT

If you are more on the budget side, an excellent option is the Kenwood DDX26BT DVD player.

Although not equipped with the SAT NAV, this DVD receiver has a variety of high-end capabilities, such as Bluetooth, Internet radio control, and sophisticated sound-sculpting settings.

If you are about to replace the stereo in your CR-V and do not consider a more expensive option, this is the radio you may need to check out.

The 6.2″ touchscreen display makes it easy to navigate, and when it comes to the connections, you can use a wired USB or wireless Bluetooth connection to operate with your iPhone or Android device, which is a big plus.

It’s simple to understand why this receiver is an excellent choice for all of your media, including high-resolution music files.

Some of its outstanding features include:

Kenwood DDX26BT 6.2" WVGA DVD Receiver

Convenience via Bluetooth

If you’re not the only one in the car using a smartphone, this Kenwood lets you pair two phones at once.

When streaming music, the music mix feature enables you to pair up to five phones, allowing everyone to choose their favorite songs for a massive driving mix.

You can even control playback using Kenwood’s free remote app and set up this receiver’s robust tone controls.

Many Musical Options

The DDX26BT lets you listen to Pandora and Spotify internet radio stations directly from your iPhone or Android device.

If you have a USB flash drive, you’ll be able to playback any type of file.

Video

The DDX26BT has a lot of excellent audio options, but the visuals have even better features, including an on-screen parking guide for the backup camera.

You can connect additional displays to the video output of this receiver if you have a restless back-seat crew.

The best part is when the parking brake is on, you can watch videos on Kenwood’s screen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Will the New Stereo Work With the Existing Backup Camera?

The factory backup cameras are compatible with most aftermarket stereo systems.

If your vehicle does not already have a backup camera, you will need to buy one.

Is It Possible to Listen to My Favorite Music App After Installation?

You can listen to music from your music app by connecting a USB or Bluetooth-enabled mobile device.

It’s also possible to manage most music apps from the stereo’s touchscreen using Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

After Installing the New Stereo, Can I Add GPS Navigation?

With the radio installed, you have two choices for touch screen stereos to use GPS navigation; Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

With both of them, you can use your preferred GPS app, such as Waze, Google Maps, or Apple Maps.

Remember, you need a modern stereo with built-in navigation to receive GPS navigation without a phone.