Apple CarPlay iOS 13 upgrade on a Kenwood DMX7017DABS

Here’s a video showing a quick flick through the redesigned Apple CarPlay launched as part of iOS 13, running on a Kenwood DMX7017DABS installed to replace the factory navigation in the (dreaded) grey Honda CR-V.

After fitting several double-DIN Alpine sat-nav units to my former Subaru Legacy and Outback daily drivers and the Porsche Cayenne S I ran for five years, I switched to Kenwood a couple of years ago, as it was the only manufacturer offering DAB radio with CarPlay. I liked the real-time traffic updates on Google maps and the routes always seemed better than the pricey double-DIN nav I paid a small fortune for.

To avoid expensive data bills, I had started switching in a Garmin widescreen satnav for longer drives, but that then gave me three devices on the dashboard. Switching to iPhone only for navigation was a relief, and, given the temptation to use the phone while driving, it was a double relief to be able to put the iPhone away in the glovebox and control most of what I needed from the head unit.

CarPlay Gen 1 still had some issues: the main one being it was not very pretty and the app integration was clunky. The update that came with the release of iOS 13 last month has given CarPlay a substantial boost via a much-improved UI and better app integration. Adding Siri control to third party apps is a welcome addition.

The Kenwood DMX7017DABS is a couple of years old now but the tech spec is still very useful and the latest iteration of CarPlay makes it a nice upgrade to the older double-DIN PCM units found in Porsche Boxster, 996, Gen 1 997 and all older Cayennes.

Although the DMX 7017 can also run Android Auto, I’ve not tried that as yet. I do have a backup Samsung Galaxy, but my main phone is a much-loved iPhone 8 Plus and that works a treat on this. I’ve just ordered a new Kenwood DMX8019DABS to check out a supposedly slightly better display and wireless CarPlay: I will share another video when that is installed.

Kenwood DMX7017DABS specification includes:

  • Double DIN
  • 7-inch VGA monitor with LED backlight – 800 v 480 1152000 pixels
  • 4 x 50w (max) nominal 4 x 22w
  • 3 RCA preouts all 4V
  • Volume offset control
  • Subwoofer crossover control
  • Variable colour button illumination
  • Remote control and steering wheel control compatible
  • Customisable splash screens and backgrounds
  • Bluetooth Built In (stream BT)
  • USB 2.0 high speed connection – 1.5A quick charge
  • DAB+ tuner built in
  • Display viewing angle adjust
  • High def Audio playback
  • Dashcam and reversing camera link
  • DSP – 13-band EQ – DTA built in
  • High resolution VGA display
  • FLAC files playable
  • Dual Zone control
  • CarPlay and Android Auto compatible

The latest CarPlay iteration has lifted the DMX7017DABS from a good upgrade for double-DIN factory head units into a very good upgrade. The unit has a good internal spec and the new CarPlay homescreen layout makes a smart addition to any dashboard. The apps briefly shared in this video include Overcast, Spotify, Waze and Google Maps and I also include some Siri voice command tests.


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