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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ugly.. (long post)

Long story short I purchased and evaluated the Clarion NICE in anticipation of integrating it into the stock NAV bezel like many have done here. In short I returned the Clarion because it did not meet my needs and went another route with the Pioneer AVIC-D1 plus XM nav traffic module.

I want to offer my opinion of the Clarion not to bash it but give others that might be considering the unit a little more insight into its capabilities.

The Clarion is a great unit and the stealth factor by having it integrated like stock is a huge bonus. Plus the large 7" screen is nice as well as many of the other options built into it. The price is about the best you will find in options that can be permanantly integrated into the Armada too. But it just was not going to work for me for the reasons below.

Firstly and most importantly it's point of interest database is entirley too small. I am not sure how many locations are stored in it but I could not find some of the most popular stores in here Los Angeles.. ie.. Radio Shack, Best Buy, Target. I need the ability to use the NAV like a mobile yellow pages and the Clarion's smaller list of gas stations, banks, atms, and other services seemed like it would only be sufficent for going out of town on roadtrips and not finding your way around businesses while in town.

In addition the POI search function was not nearly as intuitive and more combersome to operate than many of the fully integrated products are. This is were the Pioneer shines.. it has a 11+ million POI database from which to query from. And the search and input functions are very intuitive and easy to use. NAV traffic so far seems very cool although I am still evaulating the accuracy. But the system has rerouted me three times around traffic and definitly saved some time and frustration. Bein able to view all the reported accident and road hazards rported to the highway patrol in somewhat realtime is a nice feature!

The maps on the Clarion are at best mediocre when compared to the details of some of the other major brands as well. My biggest gripe is that the map would orientate "North up" only when you zoomed out to a scale of 1 mile or larger. Most other units let you stay in "direction up" mode when you are zoomed out to 10-25 miles or so. There is nothing I can't stand more than looking at Nav with the map pointed north when you are actually driving in a different direction. Dunno if all Clarion NICE units are like this but mine would consitantly orient north as soon as I started zooming the map out.

Video playback on the Clarion was decent. The screen as viewed in normal mode was a little small. It would crop about 1.5" off either side. When you viewed in stretched mode this would stretch whatever you were watching fairly drasticly. They all do this to a degree but the Pioneer does a much better job and offers 5 different viewing mode/resolutions.

Sound output on the Clarion when connected to the Aux input seemed fine and it worked well with the stock headunit. Presets for the Sirius radio and other user interfaces seemed pretty good.

Similarly sound on the Pioneer sounds as good or better than stock on the stock speakers.. although I have now given up dual zone entertainment ability. I can probably get some of that function back with a seperate DVD player and entertinment switch with monitors that output to IR headphones.

There is not very much adjustment for screen brightness on the Clarion and it is not automatic. At night the screen in NAV or Sirius mode would light up the entire cabin which I didnt really like. Again the Pioneer does a much better job at this.

Finally hacking the system to allow video playback while in motion was ether unavailable with the Clarion or would require covering the NAV bezel with something that would block the GPS signals while in motion. With the Pioneer you can actually ground the parking brake and another pin on the headunit that disables all locked out functions.

Overall the Clarion just did not seem (IMO) up to par with what else is currently available. Still a great unit for the price.. and again this is only meant to give others an idea of what to expect. If you want top functionality then you might consder looking at other options in my opinion.

Ultimatly by choosing to go with the Pioneer I paid more and gave up stealth as it might attract unwanted atention from theives. This worries me after spending so much and the pains I went thru putting it in myself.

Aestheticly the integrated Clarion with OEM headunit probably looks more OEM and pleaseing to the eye, but that is all personal preference.

I also gave up the dual zone entertainment functionality but may get that back. There is probably more, but in the end I can not say enough about the Pioneer as it is a serious piece of gear for the price! I looked at the Alpine which is also very nice but very expensive and still does not hold as many points of interest as the Pioneer.

Hope this helps anyone that is shopping around in the future. Again the Clarion has a niche and purpose... I think chosing a NAV unit will depend ultimatly on what you are looking for it to do.
 

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Just curious, but have you tried to see if the pioneer will fit in the Navigation housing? and how is the angel of view? I believe its kinda low on the dash to be able to view the navigation, do you agree?
 

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ChuckD... I would love to see some pics of your finished install. I am looking into NAV and DVD both and need to know what my options are. I don't have the built in NAV screen, as I only have the SE Mada without NAV. I would love to put an OEM bezel and screen in to make the package look stock, but I'm not sure if that can be done either.

Either way, I am grateful to everybody on the board for their insight and especially pictures to show me the good, bad and other of their experience.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
ggeorgie said:
Just curious, but have you tried to see if the pioneer will fit in the Navigation housing? and how is the angel of view? I believe its kinda low on the dash to be able to view the navigation, do you agree?
I am pretty sure it will not fit inside the OEM NAV Bezel and if you were able to get it in there it would not look nearly as OEM as the Clarion does. That is the really nice thing about the Clarion. It looks as if it came from the dealer when installed inside the bezel.

As for the Pioneer.. unlike the Clarion you need the various buttons along the side to drill into all of the menus. So even if you had a custom job done integrating it up onto the dash you would need the buttons sticking out the side. Kind of defeats the purpose of putting it up there in my opinion.

Actually I am starting to think I like it lower on the dash since it is not as much of a distraction. Maybe that is me justify the purchase to myself. ;)

I can see it pretty good and I think actually reach it better than if it was in the stock position. Plus it is better hidden for those times when the passenger is watching a video while goign down the road.

The Pioneer has 4 angles.. It looks pretty good from all of them. Where the motorized angling feature comes in handy is when adtusting the viewing angle to avoid the Sun's glare at different times of the day. At night I will normally adjust it tilted up as it is easier to view that way.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
jcvader99 said:
ChuckD... I would love to see some pics of your finished install. I am looking into NAV and DVD both and need to know what my options are. I don't have the built in NAV screen, as I only have the SE Mada without NAV. I would love to put an OEM bezel and screen in to make the package look stock, but I'm not sure if that can be done either.

Either way, I am grateful to everybody on the board for their insight and especially pictures to show me the good, bad and other of their experience.
Oh yeah you can most definitely make it look stock if you get the Clarion unit or some other unit that uses a remote 7" tft display. The display just has to fit the OEM bezel. I am not sure what is out there in flat panels other than the Clarion or Alpine.. but with those you have the option of keeping the stock head unit and retaining the dual entertainment zones front and back. You would need to get a DVD player and input the video signal into the NAV screen and possibly the audio into the stock DVD input harness which is probably the best option if keeping the stock head unit. It all depends on what the gear you purchase can actually do.

There are many ways to go.. and alot of money that can be spent. Finding the balance of what you want within your budget is the trick!

I would say before you buy.. go out and demo as many units as you can to get an idea for which unit and features you like most. Then weigh all that against how you ultimately want to install, whether it be in the dash or in the OEM location.

Some pics below..

Edit.. Oh and many thanks to the many regulars who have posted on install details, options etc.. I couldn't have done it myself without ClubArmada and I'm afraid if I had a shop do it they might not have fully installed the speed sensor and other details. In fact.. most places including Crutchfield say the Pioneer AVIC-D1 will not fit the Armada.

It takes a little creativity but it can be done. I took a few pictures of the important steps and I'll try to put together a post with some install details later when I have more time!

 

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Oh my... you've got me liking that Pioneer version now. In the past I had written off the in-dash screens because I'm not too fond of the single DIN receiver and the black plastic housing that had to be used to make it fit into the double DIN slot... but I like these pics MUCH better. I much prefer the screen cover the entire area than any of the retractible screens I've seen.

I know that you have to use the buttons around the screen for certain menu items, but is it a touch screen also?? The screen images would make you think so, but I can't tell for sure.

Also, where did you get the dash face-plate with the double DIN opening pre-made? I have the 06 Mada with the dual climate controls which adds another LCD below the audio controls and I haven't seen a new faceplate that accomodates this. One other minor issue with the faceplate is that mine has the tiny black "grid" printed on it and it matches the same design on the gearshift cover. I suppose I'd be pushing my luck to try to find a double DIN opening with that OEM pattern on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
jcvader99 said:
Oh my... you've got me liking that Pioneer version now. In the past I had written off the in-dash screens because I'm not too fond of the single DIN receiver and the black plastic housing that had to be used to make it fit into the double DIN slot... but I like these pics MUCH better. I much prefer the screen cover the entire area than any of the retractible screens I've seen.

I know that you have to use the buttons around the screen for certain menu items, but is it a touch screen also?? The screen images would make you think so, but I can't tell for sure.

Also, where did you get the dash face-plate with the double DIN opening pre-made? I have the 06 Mada with the dual climate controls which adds another LCD below the audio controls and I haven't seen a new faceplate that accomodates this. One other minor issue with the faceplate is that mine has the tiny black "grid" printed on it and it matches the same design on the gearshift cover. I suppose I'd be pushing my luck to try to find a double DIN opening with that OEM pattern on it.
Yeah I much prefer the double DIN screen myself!

Most of the functionality is actually touch screen based. But the buttons around the sides get you into the sub menus initially. You have the option of setting up most functions with shortcuts on the screen but as you do that it eats up viewable map space. Notice there are some shortcuts installed in the lower right corner already. The Pioneer with nav traffic has so many that it would be impossible to inegrate them all.

The bezel cover is actually made by metraonline.com part#99-7406. I picked it up at a local mobile audio shop and most should carry them.

My Armada has the carbon fiber like trim as well. I really have not noticed a contrast between the tranny console and the dash now. But when a matching piece becomes available ( I have not looked really hard) I'll replace it then. Apparently Nissan stocks double DIN faceplates too and you might check with them.

As for your newer HVAC display I'd say this might not work. But it might not be long before Nissan or Metra starts offering them in the new finish and design. Id check with them both!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
ggeorgie said:
Hey Chuck, Did you return the Clarion navigation and exchanged it with the Pioneer or are you selling it? :cool:
HaHa.. nice try! I got lucky and the place I purchased will take it back so long as I pay return shipping and take the hit on the 2.5% surcharge the credit card companies charge for the transaction. Sounds pretty good to me.

I do have the Nav bezel for sale.. posted it tonight in the for sale section!
 

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ChuckD said:
HaHa.. nice try! I got lucky and the place I purchased will take it back so long as I pay return shipping and take the hit on the 2.5% surcharge the credit card companies charge for the transaction. Sounds pretty good to me.

I do have the Nav bezel for sale.. posted it tonight in the for sale section!
Good deal, but I already have the Navigation Housing, only waiting on a good deal for a clarion, I have already been screwed once by ebay on the Clarion $720.00 :mad: , and its in a dispute resolution since december 4th. wish me luck in recovering some of that money :eek:
 

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jcvader99 said:
Oh my... you've got me liking that Pioneer version now. In the past I had written off the in-dash screens because I'm not too fond of the single DIN receiver and the black plastic housing that had to be used to make it fit into the double DIN slot... but I like these pics MUCH better. I much prefer the screen cover the entire area than any of the retractible screens I've seen.

I know that you have to use the buttons around the screen for certain menu items, but is it a touch screen also?? The screen images would make you think so, but I can't tell for sure.

Also, where did you get the dash face-plate with the double DIN opening pre-made? I have the 06 Mada with the dual climate controls which adds another LCD below the audio controls and I haven't seen a new faceplate that accomodates this. One other minor issue with the faceplate is that mine has the tiny black "grid" printed on it and it matches the same design on the gearshift cover. I suppose I'd be pushing my luck to try to find a double DIN opening with that OEM pattern on it.
I have not personally seen the inside of the 06's and I know the Clarion did not fit Chuck D's needs but I was one of the first to install it and I have been nothing but satisfied so you may want to check it out before you write it off.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
ggeorgie said:
Good deal, but I already have the Navigation Housing, only waiting on a good deal for a clarion, I have already been screwed once by ebay on the Clarion $720.00 :mad: , and its in a dispute resolution since december 4th. wish me luck in recovering some of that money :eek:
Ouch that blows. I bought this one from shipdog.com as they had a pretty good price compared to other online stores. So far their customer service has been excellent.. but I'll wait until my credit goes through before passing final judgment.

Altogethter with shipping across county and the Sirius module it was $940 or so. That is another big bonus of the Clarion.. it is comparably affordable.

You can get the Pioneer on Ebay or other online retailer for about the same price. BUT the caveat to that is Pioneer only honors the warranty from approved retailers. So I spent $1600 for the main unit and another $275 on the XM traffic module. (Bangs head against wall).

I still like the Pioneer better even though it cost almost twice the price. If you aren't worried about warranties and updates then get it cheaper but I think there are already some bug fixes that Pioneer is sending as soon as I register the unit. I have yet to find the bug. :rolleyes:
 

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ChuckD said:
Ouch that blows. I bought this one from shipdog.com as they had a pretty good price compared to other online stores. So far their customer service has been excellent.. but I'll wait until my credit goes through before passing final judgment.

Altogethter with shipping across county and the Sirius module it was $940 or so. That is another big bonus of the Clarion.. it is comparably affordable.

You can get the Pioneer on Ebay or other online retailer for about the same price. BUT the caveat to that is Pioneer only honors the warranty from approved retailers. So I spent $1600 for the main unit and another $275 on the XM traffic module. (Bangs head against wall).

I still like the Pioneer better even though it cost almost twice the price. If you aren't worried about warranties and updates then get it cheaper but I think there are already some bug fixes that Pioneer is sending as soon as I register the unit. I have yet to find the bug. :rolleyes:
Yes I know ( big oouch ), any way I am gonna take your advice and buy it from a reputable retailer for the warranty reasons. I do like your setup, but I am trying to get the OEM finish, and for the Video part I am installing a screen on the passenger side Visor for the wifie. once every thing is complete I will post pics,. LOL :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The Beast said:
I have not personally seen the inside of the 06's and I know the Clarion did not fit Chuck D's needs but I was one of the first to install it and I have been nothing but satisfied so you may want to check it out before you write it off.
Yep I can not emphasize enough that the Clarion is pretty darn.... well, N.I.C.E.

It gets you from point A to point B without a hitch and recalculates routes pretty quick. Simple address lookups are a breeze and it covers most major nav functions pretty well.

My problem is I am a major gadget and feature geek. If there is something with more bells and whistles then I have to have it. If it had a larger point of interest database then I most definitely would have kept it.

For the money, the looks, stealth factor, and features combined the Clarion NICE deserves a serious look!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
ggeorgie said:
Yes I know ( big oouch ), any way I am gonna take your advice and buy it from a reputable retailer for the warranty reasons. I do like your setup, but I am trying to get the OEM finish, and for the Video part I am installing a screen on the passenger side Visor for the wifie. once every thing is complete I will post pics,. LOL :cool:
Good luck with all that! Be careful with the front visor mounted screen though. That might be a cop magnet and from what I hear it is a min $350 ticket here in California to have a screen viewable by the driver. And that is probably after they make you yank it out.

But then again.. I live in the Communist Republic of California. :rolleyes:
 

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Im curious if anyone has installed a double din Pioneer unit in an 06' with Dual climate zones. Please keep me updated on this mod. Thanks
 

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AVIC-D1: How are the audio features?

I see that everyone seems to agree that Pioneer offers a decent NAV system, but what about the audio features. Is everyone happy with the XM integration, MP3 playback, radion tuner, etc? What about sound quality? Is it really "better" than stock? I just found an AVIC D1 at Frys Electronics (warranty) for $999 and the urge to purchase is just about to kill me.
 

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AVIC D1-Couldn't fight the urge.

Fry's is closing out the D1 right now. It's even on their site (Outpost.com) for $999. My local Fry's was out, so I convinced the Manager at Best Buy to price match at $999. That was nice, since the Best Buy tag read $1679! Anyway, I'm now in the process of planning the install. My rig is identical to ChuckD's so hopefully I can learn from his experience. I just purchased the GEX, the wired remote, and now I'm trying to figure out which wiring harness and antenna adaptor I need. Any help, or suggestions, would be great! Am I forgetting anything? Should I buy the rear camera now too?
 

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Just curious for those of you that have installed the "in the dash" units vs. those that have installed the "in the bezel" units....

1. where you able to operate the steering wheel controls? (would hate to lose that functionality)
2. what happened to your auxiliary input when going with the in dash unit? (i need my ipod!)

from what i have read, it seems like you may be giving up some things to get some things if you go with the in dash type units...
 
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