EC Offroad CarPlay Solutions For 2016+ 200 Series LC (NEW SEPT 2020 MODEL) (1 Viewer)

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hi all, how would you review the end user experience of the Carplay? How close to a stock experience is it? As context I am shopping LC200s but wife is trying to get me to go Defender (Luxe) or 4Runner (toyota) since both support Carplay natively..
 

greynolds

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hi all, how would you review the end user experience of the Carplay? How close to a stock experience is it? As context I am shopping LC200s but wife is trying to get me to go Defender (Luxe) or 4Runner (toyota) since both support Carplay natively..
CarPlay startup is automatic. Every time you start the car, the EC Offroad unit automatically switches the video to itself and then launches the CarPlay app once the unit boots up, which will then automatically connect to your iPhone if you have paired it for wireless CarPlay. Once CarPlay is running, the user experience is more or less like CarPlay in any other car.

Each of us has run into occasional glitches.

In my case, every once in a while the GPS feed from the unit to the iPhone goes haywire and the navigation app on the iPhone (running in CarPlay mode) thinks I missed a turn or driving 100 feet off the road and sometimes it just gets completely confused. I've discussed this with @DomSmith and @seajeff and neither of them has run into this issue so far. I'm using an iPhone XS with the latest iOS update, I don't recall which iPhones they're using. I suspect this is an iPhone / iOS issue rather than an EC Offroad unit issue because I have yet to have a GPS glitch when using native Android navigation apps on the EC Offroad unit itself. Unfortunately, I run into this issue often enough that I'm hesitant to use CarPlay for navigation when I'm driving somewhere unfamiliar where I actually need to rely on navigation. My hope is that when I eventually upgrade to a newer iPhone I will find that the problem was something to do with my current iPhone.

@seajeff has had somewhat frequent issues with Waze not getting a GPS signal and has found the forcing the app to close and restart on his iPhone fixes it. I suspect this is an iPhone / Waze issue rather than an EC Offroad unit issue. I think @DomSmith said he has run into pretty much the same issue; I have never gotten into using Waze, so I can't offer another data point.

Once in a while, a weird error pops up on CarPlay, but I suspect these are also CarPlay issues rather than EC Offroad unit issues.

My biggest beef, by far, with this unit is that it ALWAYS starts up with the EC Offroad unit having the screen. This means that when you take the car in for service, you'll need to explain to the service advisor that they need to press and hold the Home button to switch back to the factory infotainment system if they need access to any settings. 99% of the time, I'm happy with how this works, but when I take the car in for service, I'd like to have the option to have it start up in the factory infotainment mode so there's no indication that the Android module is there.

So overall, the user experience is pretty good, though if you and your wife aren't at least somewhat technically inclined, I would probably hesitate to go with a solution like this.

I try to keep the first post in this thread up to date, so I'd also suggest reading through that to get a better feel for what works, what doesn't work, and what our collective wish list items are. I also encourage input from others who are using this unit for additional tips, tricks, and wish list items.

Regarding your other vehicle options...

The obvious concern with a Land Rover Defender is quality control and reliability. The experience the TFL guys (very popular YouTube channel) had with their Defender purchase says a lot about where Land Rover is at with quality control at this point - it took 3 vehicles to get them one that seems to have finally been pretty good so far. My understanding is that the first one pretty much had a catastrophic engine failure after a few hundred miles, the 2nd one was essentially totaled when a tech at the dealership cut a wiring harness by mistake while installing a factory winch option (this may not be a reliability issue per se, but a factory winch install probably shouldn't run the risk of this unless the service tech was a complete idiot...), and the 3rd one has been good overall so far (though I'm pretty sure they've had a few minor check engine light type issues). Land Rover did seem to treat them well in replacing the first 2 vehicles, though it isn't clear that someone who doesn't have a popular YouTube channel would receive the same treatment. The other complaint is that Land Rover's infotainment system is sluggish and difficult to use (I know the system on my 2014 Range Rover was sluggish and poorly thought out), though the Land Cruiser infotainment system isn't exactly cutting edge :). Land Rover is a company that frustrates me to no end - if only they could get a handle on quality control, their vehicles are otherwise wonderful in a lot of ways. I only owned the 2014 Range Rover for about 6 months due to quality control and reliability issues, but it was sooooo nice in so many ways. I previously owned a 1995 Discovery that was an absolute blast, but it also spent too much time in the shop for stuff that just shouldn't be failing.

A 4Runner would definitely be great, but is a big step down from a Land Cruiser in a number of ways. But if you're good with the different level of luxury compared to the other 2 options and the cargo space and feature set works for you, it would be the least expensive of the 3 options.
 
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CarPlay startup is automatic. Every time you start the car, the EC Offroad unit automatically switches the video to itself and then launches the CarPlay app once the unit boots up, which will then automatically connect to your iPhone if you have paired it for wireless CarPlay. Once CarPlay is running, the user experience is more or less like CarPlay in any other car.

Each of us has run into occasional glitches.

In my case, every once in a while the GPS feed from the unit to the iPhone goes haywire and the navigation app on the iPhone (running in CarPlay mode) thinks I missed a turn or driving 100 feet off the road and sometimes it just gets completely confused. I've discussed this with @DomSmith and @seajeff and neither of them has run into this issue so far. I'm using an iPhone XS with the latest iOS update, I don't recall which iPhones they're using. I suspect this is an iPhone / iOS issue rather than an EC Offroad unit issue because I have yet to have a GPS glitch when using native Android navigation apps on the EC Offroad unit itself. Unfortunately, I run into this issue often enough that I'm hesitant to use CarPlay for navigation when I'm driving somewhere unfamiliar where I actually need to rely on navigation. My hope is that when I eventually upgrade to a newer iPhone I will find that the problem was something to do with my current iPhone.

@seajeff has had somewhat frequent issues with Waze not getting a GPS signal and has found the forcing the app to close and restart on his iPhone fixes it. I suspect this is an iPhone / Waze issue rather than an EC Offroad unit issue. I think @DomSmith said he has run into pretty much the same issue; I have never gotten into using Waze, so I can't offer another data point.

Once in a while, a weird error pops up on CarPlay, but I suspect these are also CarPlay issues rather than EC Offroad unit issues.

My biggest beef, by far, with this unit is that it ALWAYS starts up with the EC Offroad unit having the screen. This means that when you take the car in for service, you'll need to explain to the service advisor that they need to press and hold the Home button to switch back to the factory infotainment system if they need access to any settings. 99% of the time, I'm happy with how this works, but when I take the car in for service, I'd like to have the option to have it start up in the factory infotainment mode so there's no indication that the Android module is there.

So overall, the user experience is pretty good, though if you and your wife aren't at least somewhat technically inclined, I would probably hesitate to go with a solution like this.

I try to keep the first post in this thread up to date, so I'd also suggest reading through that to get a better feel for what works, what doesn't work, and what our collective wish list items are. I also encourage input from others who are using this unit for additional tips, tricks, and wish list items.

Regarding your other vehicle options...

The obvious concern with a Land Rover Defender is quality control and reliability. The experience the TFL guys (very popular YouTube channel) had with their Defender purchase says a lot about where Land Rover is at with quality control at this point - it took 3 vehicles to get them one that seems to have finally been pretty good so far. My understanding is that the first one pretty much had a catastrophic engine failure after a few hundred miles, the 2nd one was essentially totaled when a tech at the dealership cut a wiring harness by mistake while installing a factory winch option (this may not be a reliability issue per se, but a factory winch install probably shouldn't run the risk of this unless the service tech was a complete idiot...), and the 3rd one has been good overall so far (though I'm pretty sure they've had a few minor check engine light type issues). Land Rover did seem to treat them well in replacing the first 2 vehicles, though it isn't clear that someone who doesn't have a popular YouTube channel would receive the same treatment. The other complaint is that Land Rover's infotainment system is sluggish and difficult to use (I know the system on my 2014 Range Rover was sluggish and poorly thought out), though the Land Cruiser infotainment system isn't exactly cutting edge :). Land Rover is a company that frustrates me to no end - if only they could get a handle on quality control, their vehicles are otherwise wonderful in a lot of ways. I only owned the 2014 Range Rover for about 6 months due to quality control and reliability issues, but it was sooooo nice in so many ways. I previously owned a 1995 Discovery that was an absolute blast, but it also spent too much time in the shop for stuff that just shouldn't be failing.

A 4Runner would definitely be great, but is a big step down from a Land Cruiser in a number of ways. But if you're good with the different level of luxury compared to the other 2 options and the cargo space and feature set works for you, it would be the least expensive of the 3 options.
Mr Greynolds thank you so much for your quick and comprehensive answer. Very helpful input to a big purchase decision for us. Responses like yours are truly what makes this community great.

I told her that if the LC aftermarket experience was close to a stock experience then we could go LC200. Happy wife...happy life. I too am very concerned about the prospect of Land Rover reliability and would lease if we went the Defender route. Unfortunately that is a lot of money down the drain....I would prefer to own and hold..

As a former engineer I hope to be able to figure out the install of the unit. I do have one more Q: Are there any issues with Audio? With my GX460, I find it quite annoying to have to change audio inputs all the time if I waant sound. Is there a way to ensure the audio defaults to the right place without excessive button pressing?
 

greynolds

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Mr Greynolds thank you so much for your quick and comprehensive answer. Very helpful input to a big purchase decision for us. Responses like yours are truly what makes this community great.

I told her that if the LC aftermarket experience was close to a stock experience then we could go LC200. Happy wife...happy life. I too am very concerned about the prospect of Land Rover reliability and would lease if we went the Defender route. Unfortunately that is a lot of money down the drain....I would prefer to own and hold..

As a former engineer I hope to be able to figure out the install of the unit. I do have one more Q: Are there any issues with Audio? With my GX460, I find it quite annoying to have to change audio inputs all the time if I waant sound. Is there a way to ensure the audio defaults to the right place without excessive button pressing?
The installation really is pretty simple. The video that shows how to take the dash apart to get access pretty much shows everything you need to do to take things apart. The wiring is largely plug and play. That leaves coming up with a way to secure the EC Offroad unit, which isn't too bad, and perhaps running the GPS and microphone cables depending on where you decide to locate them. The key is to get a trim tool that won't scratch any of the panels, using tape to protect the panels, and be careful / take your time.

For audio, you just need to select the AUX input mode on the factory infotainment, which is pretty easy to do. Audio from the iPhone for CarPlay pretty much just works. Every once in a while the iPhone will switch itself to a different speaker option (again, I believe this is an iPhone thing, not a bug in the EC Offroad unit), but you just go to the control panel on the iPhone itself and switch it back to send audio to the EC Offroad unit.
 

DomSmith

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Another thing to remember with the car you choose (depending on how long you plan to keep it) is resale value. The 200 and 4Runner will hold their value and should not be difficult to sell when you’re done.

As for CarPlay I use an OEM setup on my wife’s Highlander as well as the EC in our 2016 200. I initially thought the EC unit had quirks that certainly an OEM unit would not have. But some of the issues I experience on the EC are on the Highlander as well.

1- The Waze GPS issue can happen on either. If I launch Waze from CarPlay it rarely launches with a GPS signal on either car. If I launch from the phone it is almost always on in either car.

2- The Highlander will auto switch sources from XM to my phone if I pull up a webpage that has a video available to play. Weird. Wired CarPlay only on the Highlander. Wireless is nice.

3- Occasionally my 200 will startup in the OEM mode if I left it on OEM but not always and there seems to be no rhyme or reason. I use the AUX source with wireless CarPlay 90% of the time. It’s a few extra steps but it’s pretty easy to listen to XM and hold the home button to get to the EC and display Waze while driving. No audio directions because you’re not on AUX but no biggie. I also occasionally just use the XM App on CarPlay and stay on AUX for XM and Waze.

I don’t think either OEM or the EC box is perfect. Swapping sources in either can be a little clunky. The integration of CarPlay in the stock system on the Highlander is better than the stand alone system EC in my opinion.

Phone calls is a whole other story. The OEM BT works well for me. But the EC box likes to connect itself as the BT source on occasion and it is not good. It’s a very easy fix by selecting your source on the phone (speaker, local host, or Land Cruiser). But it’s an annoyance. I use Siri to initiate phone calls and that’s usually when it happens. I need to do some more testing to see if initiating from the steering controls or other way makes a difference.

I also use CarPlay to send/read messages with Siri a lot. The EC playback quality is not great. No big deal but it doesn’t sound crisp at all. Basically comparable to the bad phone call quality but it doesn’t matter much as it’s just reading back texts.

Both the Highlander and EC box are not great at understanding who I want to send a text too. I don’t understand that. The messages are dictated fine but the name of the person is wrong more frequently than it should. Both trucks. It’s weird.

I really like the EC Box. My big complaints are not being able to keep it at bay for my wife. It auto launches 95% of the time. As @greynolds said you should be able to default to whichever one you want... EC or OEM. And the few GPS quirks with Waze. I don’t want to have to go to my phone and find Waze, close it and relaunch while I’m driving. I’ve found that if I remember to make sure it’s got a GPS signal before I start driving it’s way better.

Good luck!
 

greynolds

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Very good point on resale value. Assuming history repeats itself, the Land Rover Defender will lose a ton of value compared to either Toyota option.

Even though I have never gotten into the habit of using Waze, I have looked into the GPS problem a bit (via Google searches) and it looks like it's a common problem with Waze / CarPlay integration, so definitely not an EC unit issue. The general consensus seems to be that a fix needs to happen in the Waze app.

Thanks for the feedback on the other phone and text functionality, @DomSmith, as that's something I rarely use in the car, especially in these pandemic times where I have less than 2000 miles on this LC I purchased back in June of 2020.

On another note, I've been experimenting a bit with offline navigation apps (these are apps that can download maps onto an SD card for use when you don't want to use up mobile data or are perhaps in an area with no coverage). The 2 I'm experimenting with currently (OsmAnd and MAPE.ME) both use OpenStreet maps, which appear to be really good map data. Unfortunately, the speech algorithms they use seem to be less than ideal as I'm getting directions along the lines of "in three zero zero feet, keep left" rather than "in 300 feet, keep left". This is dark ages stuff now that we've been used to Google Maps, Apple Maps, and even the OEM navigation for years now. Other than that, these apps seem to be pretty good overall and may have other options for the speech. One of them, OsmAnd, has a choice of different types map views and the "Touring" option is really nice for just driving around as the color choices used make streets show up really well (the streets are color coded by type and wide enough to actually see) on the map. Even if the navigation functionality is marginal, at best, it could be handy to have downloaded maps for the region you're traveling to or even the entire country to look at when you're out in the middle of nowhere.
 

CharlieS

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Very good point on resale value. Assuming history repeats itself, the Land Rover Defender will lose a ton of value compared to either Toyota option.

Even though I have never gotten into the habit of using Waze, I have looked into the GPS problem a bit (via Google searches) and it looks like it's a common problem with Waze / CarPlay integration, so definitely not an EC unit issue. The general consensus seems to be that a fix needs to happen in the Waze app.

Thanks for the feedback on the other phone and text functionality, @DomSmith, as that's something I rarely use in the car, especially in these pandemic times where I have less than 2000 miles on this LC I purchased back in June of 2020.

On another note, I've been experimenting a bit with offline navigation apps (these are apps that can download maps onto an SD card for use when you don't want to use up mobile data or are perhaps in an area with no coverage). The 2 I'm experimenting with currently (OsmAnd and MAPE.ME) both use OpenStreet maps, which appear to be really good map data. Unfortunately, the speech algorithms they use seem to be less than ideal as I'm getting directions along the lines of "in three zero zero feet, keep left" rather than "in 300 feet, keep left". This is dark ages stuff now that we've been used to Google Maps, Apple Maps, and even the OEM navigation for years now. Other than that, these apps seem to be pretty good overall and may have other options for the speech. One of them, OsmAnd, has a choice of different types map views and the "Touring" option is really nice for just driving around as the color choices used make streets show up really well (the streets are color coded by type and wide enough to actually see) on the map. Even if the navigation functionality is marginal, at best, it could be handy to have downloaded maps for the region you're traveling to or even the entire country to look at when you're out in the middle of nowhere.
Are any of these maps good for rural navigation? I'm a Gaia user and like it well enough that I bought a 5 year subscription, but some of their rural map data is suspect (showing roads where they don't exist - like across pastures and field edges, showing road segments connecting when there aren't through roads - like over the spine of a mountain or across a wetland). I mean it is pretty decent overall, but I'm always on the lookout for something even better.
 

greynolds

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Are any of these maps good for rural navigation? I'm a Gaia user and like it well enough that I bought a 5 year subscription, but some of their rural map data is suspect (showing roads where they don't exist - like across pastures and field edges, showing road segments connecting when there aren't through roads - like over the spine of a mountain or across a wetland). I mean it is pretty decent overall, but I'm always on the lookout for something even better.
I don't know yet as I've just started taking a look at these. Gaia is really good for what it's designed to do overall, but I don't think it's really intended to be used for turn by turn navigation, for example. My understanding though is that the OpenStreetMap format is considered very good and the maps receive frequent updates that can be downloaded to update the offline maps as desired. One of my big complaints with Gaia is how tedious it is to download maps as there's no UI that allows you to download the maps by state.
 

CharlieS

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Thanks @greynolds. I generally just use google maps for the rare situation where I need turn by turn. I want a good mapping solution for exploring off the beaten track in rural areas.

To be honest, I think I have unrealistic expectations - I'd like the electronic and mobile equivalent detail to the "Gazeteer" map books that I used for paper maps before mobile device mapping software was so ubiquitous and affordable. I think the limitations I experience on Gaia are more related to the form factor of the device I am displaying it on than the Gaia software capabilities or the data - it'd probably be sweet with a 12" iPad pro on the dash instead of the factory monitor.

And I agree, the map downloading is a bit of a hassle sometimes.
 

greynolds

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Thanks @greynolds. I generally just use google maps for the rare situation where I need turn by turn. I want a good mapping solution for exploring off the beaten track in rural areas.

To be honest, I think I have unrealistic expectations - I'd like the electronic and mobile equivalent detail to the "Gazeteer" map books that I used for paper maps before mobile device mapping software was so ubiquitous and affordable. I think the limitations I experience on Gaia are more related to the form factor of the device I am displaying it on than the Gaia software capabilities or the data - it'd probably be sweet with a 12" iPad pro on the dash instead of the factory monitor.

And I agree, the map downloading is a bit of a hassle sometimes.
As a software developer, I don’t think your expectations are really unrealistic as it should be possible for these maps to be even more accurate than the old paper maps as they can be crowd sourced and continually updated. But these map apps have come a long way over the years and should only get better.

Google maps is really, really good, but shares the same issue with offline maps that Gaia has - there isn’t an easy way to tell it to download the maps by state. The other issue with Google Maps offline maps is that they expire with no option for the user to tell it to use the potentially outdated maps because no Internet access is available at the moment to download updates.
 
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First up a big thanks to @greynolds and @DomSmith for their effort in putting this all together. I bought the latest EC Vision interface box last week and installed it over the weekend. Without you guys there is no way I’d have been able to figure it out from the very poor instructions provided.

Just some observations from my testing and drawing these threads together:
  • The system worked ‘out of the box’ - booted correctly first time and did all the right things including automatic wireless CarPlay setup/operation
  • I’m disappointed to realise that one of the key reasons I bought the unit over others (the ability to wire in additional cameras - the caravan camera in my case) won’t work properly as putting the car in reverse just bypasses the device and shows my car camera(s).
  • I believe that EC Vision have tried to make the CarPlay work well (by their own words) but (in the words of others) - if that’s all it will do well then might as well go with Naviplus
  • EC Vision sold me the wifi OBDC reader however testing and this thread shows that its not possible to use this as CarPlay takes over the wifi connection - if the device is primarily a CarPlay device then why advertise/sell OBDC connectivity when you can’t do both together? (as an aside, the Torque app talks about hacking the wifi to work - maybe there is an oblique way of getting both to work? I’ve emailed EC Vision to ask)
  • Android 8.1 is on the box and many of the ‘key’ apps aren’t available in the GooglePlay store - Netflix and Disney have been mentioned here. The link provided above for Netflix works but I still need Disney+ one that works - I used the suggested link from this thread and it works - except it won’t run without insisting that I upgrade to a newer version - none of which I can find work. The later versions all load/run but then crash.
  • The various bugs and other ‘features’ listed above all still exist in my version. I agree that keeping the last mode (Android box or OEM) should be default.
Cheers
Richard
 

greynolds

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  • EC Vision sold me the wifi OBDC reader however testing and this thread shows that its not possible to use this as CarPlay takes over the wifi connection - if the device is primarily a CarPlay device then why advertise/sell OBDC connectivity when you can’t do both together? (as an aside, the Torque app talks about hacking the wifi to work - maybe there is an oblique way of getting both to work? I’ve emailed EC Vision to ask)
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your kind words.

With the old version of the EC hardware, it was possible to plug in a USB to Ethernet adapter (and I suspect a USB to WiFi adapter would have worked as well) to get Internet access while the built in WiFi was otherwise occupied. I asked the EC guys about doing this with the new hardware and they claimed it would cause problems, so I haven't tried it yet. I kind of doubt it would brick the unit, but I'm not too keen on having to ship the thing back to Australia to be fixed if I were to brick it.

But the point being if a USB to WiFi adapter could work to create a 2nd network connection, you could pair the WiFi ODBC reader to that connection while the built in WiFi is busy with CarPlay. If you don't live too far away from the EC folks, I might nominate you to be the first one to try it :).
 
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HI all,

New to the forum as well, just got a 2016 LC200. I was originally planning to get the 2020 Green TRD pro, but markets been crazy for it and an LC200 popped up locally here in Seattle, and my wife and I fell in love. I've been reading options to update the infotainment system and really appreciate your in depth reviews of the EC unit. In kind of curious, have any of you read much about the Alpine x902d unit? Any thought about compatibility in the US? Pros/cons (other than price) compared to the EC unit?

Thanks again!
Welcome to the forum and thanks for your kind words.

With the old version of the EC hardware, it was possible to plug in a USB to Ethernet adapter (and I suspect a USB to WiFi adapter would have worked as well) to get Internet access while the built in WiFi was otherwise occupied. I asked the EC guys about doing this with the new hardware and they claimed it would cause problems, so I haven't tried it yet. I kind of doubt it would brick the unit, but I'm not too keen on having to ship the thing back to Australia to be fixed if I were to brick it.

But the point being if a USB to WiFi adapter could work to create a 2nd network connection, you could pair the WiFi ODBC reader to that connection while the built in WiFi is busy with CarPlay. If you don't live too far away from the EC folks, I might nominate you to be the first one to try it :).

20210415_185522.jpg


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greynolds

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New to the forum as well, just got a 2016 LC200. I was originally planning to get the 2020 Green TRD pro, but markets been crazy for it and an LC200 popped up locally here in Seattle, and my wife and I fell in love. I've been reading options to update the infotainment system and really appreciate your in depth reviews of the EC unit. In kind of curious, have any of you read much about the Alpine x902d unit? Any thought about compatibility in the US? Pros/cons (other than price) compared to the EC unit?
Welcome to the forum. Am I correct in assuming that would that have been a 4Runner? I actually considered getting a 4Runner, but didn't end up even test driving one as I knew that I "really" wanted the Land Cruiser... But people do really love their 4Runners and it probably would have been fine for my needs, if I'm being completely honest. I'm a bigger guy (aka "fat" :)), so the extra space in the Land Cruiser is nice.

I wasn't even aware of that Alpine unit until you posted. Someone posted in another thread recently about a similar option from Kenwood (DDX920WDABS). that's also marketed in Australia. There are also some so-called "Tesla Style" units out that appear to be compatible through the 2021 model year. But I have yet to see anything resembling a thorough review of any of these or discussion that really covers what happens to the factory systems if you swap out the entire factory infotainment system.

Some of the points to consider are:
  • Are all of the factory climate control features retained? This would include things like 4 zone climate control, including controls that are only accessible through the touchscreen. One of the "Tesla Style" units has 2 physical knobs, one for temperature and one for blower speed. So an obvious question is how do you deal with adjusting driver and passenger temperature separately (I'm sure this is covered, but I'd like to understand how before buying).
  • What about access to factory settings, such as changing what happens when the driver's door is unlocked (only unlock the driver's door or unlock all doors)? At least on the newer models, there are a bunch of settings like this that are accessible through the infotainment system and I wouldn't want to lose access to changing those. It's possible that these settings can be accessed through Techstream as well, so getting the required hardware dongle and Techstream compatible software might deal with this.
  • SiriusXM satellite radio would most likely be lost. Not really the end of the world, just something to be aware of.
  • Do these units use the factory microphone and factory GPS antenna or do you have to hook something else up? It would be really nice if the factory microphone could be used as an add on GPS antenna can be mounted under the center speaker.
  • What about the factory backup and 360 degree cameras?
I suspect I've missed a few things, but these are at least some of the key things to consider before swapping out the entire factory infotainment system on these newer model year LC's where systems other than music and navigation are integrated into the system. Some of these changes could make service trips to the dealer a bit more interesting as well.

That's one of the strong pluses of solutions like the EC Offroad unit this thread is focused on - you don't lose access to any of the factory functionality. The downsides are that you're still stuck with the low resolution factory screen and switching back and forth between factory and Android mode can be a it clunky.

Long term, I do see myself moving away from the EC unit I'm currently moving to one of these full replacement options. But I need to get a much better understanding of the above points I made before doing so.
 
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HI all,

New to the forum as well, just got a 2016 LC200. I was originally planning to get the 2020 Green TRD pro, but markets been crazy for it and an LC200 popped up locally here in Seattle, and my wife and I fell in love. I've been reading options to update the infotainment system and really appreciate your in depth reviews of the EC unit. In kind of curious, have any of you read much about the Alpine x902d unit? Any thought about compatibility in the US? Pros/cons (other than price) compared to the EC unit?

Thanks again!


View attachment 2648689

View attachment 2648690

That Alpine unit is only compatible with GXL and Altitude 200s (not US spec Sahara).

 
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Seattle, USA
Ah I didn't realize the US was the Sahara, that's good to know for future reference. And @greynolds thanks so much for your thoughtful and detailed response. You're a treasure to the community!

And yes, I was originally considering the 4runner. The 2020 TRD Pro in green really spoke to me. I just got into gravel cycling and loved being out in the woods, so I was hoping to get good solutions for how to take the family with me and get off paved roads more. The Landcruiser had the extra bit of space and obviously comfort that made sense for my family, who will be exploring with 3 car seats for the foreseeable future 😂 Were absolutely in love, just hoping to the get infotainment updated.

I think I'm leaning towards the EC unit as my top choice after reading through here and the NaviPlus threads. I think the added Android functionality could be pretty useful.
 

greynolds

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Jan 20, 2006
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Billerica, MA
I think I'm leaning towards the EC unit as my top choice after reading through here and the NaviPlus threads. I think the added Android functionality could be pretty useful.
Yeah, as long as the clunkiness of getting WiFi going and having to exit CarPlay mode isn’t a problem, it’s an excellent solution. I have a hunch the Tesla style options will be more viable after some more time. Mostly due to the pandemic, I’m not putting many miles on lately - just over 2000 since I purchased it in June.
 
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Dec 27, 2020
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Indiana
Hey guys. I've been running the EC offroad unit since January and it has been a disaster. It probably only works 40% of the time. It will boot but the android software that runs the box crashes, freezes or glitches. This locks up your entire screen and it cannot be reset, turned off, or switched back to the Toyota unit. It also doesn't reset with a simple.power cycle of the vehicle. You have to turn the car off for about 5 minutes for it to reboot.

I've contacted them many times. They have no idea what the issue is and have not replaced or provided a software fix. I attached a video of one type of glitch. This isn't all that will happen. It will flash like a GROM or throw pop-ups of error message

I will now have to pay to have it removed... not sure what the plan is at this point
 

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