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READ THIS BEFORE PURCHASING ANY CAR STEREO/NAVAGATION UPGRADE


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Hello all. My name is Bijan and I live in Melbourne, Australia. I am 39 years of age and have always had a fascination with Japan, its old-world culture (the fact 100 years ago, Japanese were honoured to engage in Seppuku, sometimes referred to as harakiri but now are marketed as Hello Kitty/Cosplay loving childlike adults) and its engineering ingenuity. 

 

My Vehicle is a 2011 JDM Nissan Skyline Crossover or USDM Infiniti EX37/QX50.

I have had my vehicle for a year and I spent a lot of time researching (as a hobby) on various upgrades.

I felt I needed to share this post to give some foresight to those of you who are on that same path. I am a thorough person and with that, I share with utmost confidence. 

 

Moving forward..

I have seen recently and over the past many posts relating to system upgrades as it seems Nissan/Inifiniti really dropped the ball when it came to support and back up for the Navigation System Upgrades.

 

NB: Whilst they share a different screen size, this guide also applies to the Nissan/Infiniti FM platforms (meaning a front midship location of the engine, with its centre of mass located behind the front axle centerline, shifting weight to the middle of the car, leaving the front suspension less encumbered). 

This includes:

  • M Platform: Y50/Y51 NISSAN FUGA/INFINITI M45/M35H/M35 02-13
  • S50/S51 INFINITI FX35/FX37/FX50/FX30D/QX70 03-17
  • E51 NISSAN ELGRAND 10-2013
  • R35 NISSAN GTR 09-16
  • If I have missed a vehicle, I do apologise. I think it's fair to say you get the general gist of the era (early 2000's for premium cars and ending at around 2016) for the both the USDM and JDM vehicles.

 

I will break up this post into 8 separate parts so it can be easily read.
 

  1. Models Applicable
  2. OEM Features
  3. Recent Tech Advances
  4. XANAVI upgrade
  5. GROM VLine/Vline2/Nifty City/AuCar Mark V
  6. Comparisons of Current Tech
  7. What I went with
  8. Final thoughts and why I would do it again

 
 

Models Applicable:

If your car is one of these models, keep reading. Some come with inbuilt Navigation, some didn't. Some with 360' Degree camera view, some didn't. Some came with a built-in HDD music box, some didn't. Some with Bose sound package, some didn't.

What they did all share (even though the model number might be slightly different or have a thread on the sides), was that all the screens came with the relatively same looking OEM software and a 7" touch screen. 

I will split the list into USDM and JDM. Here is the list!

USDM:

MURANO 09-10 display screen, dash, w/o navigation system; multi-color display (premium package)
INFINITI G25 11-12 (Sdn), display screen, w/o navigation system
INFINITI QX50 14-16 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation system
MURANO 11 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation system; multi-color display (premium package)
INFINITI G37 08 display screen, w/o navigation system
INFINITI G37 09-13 Cpe, display screen, w/o navigation system
INFINITI QX50 17 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation
INFINITI G35 07 display screen, w/o navigation system; (4 Dr, Sdn)
INFINITI G37 09-13 Sdn, display screen, w/o navigation system
INFINITI Q60 14-15 Cpe, display screen, w/o navigation system
ARMADA 08-15 display screen, dash, w/o navigation system
MURANO 12-14 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation system; multi-color display (premium package),
NISSAN PATHFINDER 4dr 08-12 display screen, dash, w/o navigation
INFINITI G35 08 display screen, w/o navigation system
INFINITI EX37 13 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation system
INFINITI Q40 15 (Sdn), display screen, w/o navigation system
MAXIMA 09-14 display screen (dash), w/o navigation system; multi-color display
 

JDM Equivalent:

Z51 NISSAN MURANO 09-11 display screen, dash, w/o navigation system; multi-color display (premium package)
DBA-V36/NV36 NISSAN SKYLINE 250GT 11-12 (Sdn), display screen, w/o navigation system
DBA-J50/NJ50 NISSAN SKYLINE CROSSOVER 370GT 09-16 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation system
DBA-CKV36/V36/DBA-KV36, NISSAN SKYLINE 370GT 07-14 (Sdn and Coupe), display screen, w/o navigation system
CPV35/PV35/HV35/V35 NISSAN SKYLINE 350GT (Sdn and Coupe), 01-07 display screen, w/o navigation system;
V37 NISSAN SKYLINE 14-15 Cpe, display screen, w/o navigation system
Y62 NISSAN PATROL 08-15 display screen, dash, w/o navigation system
Z52 NISSAN MURANO 12-14 display screen, (dash), w/o navigation system; multi-color display (premium package),
R51 NISSAN PATHFINDER 4dr 08-12 display screen, dash, w/o navigation
A35 NISSAN MAXIMA 09-14 display screen (dash), w/o navigation system; multi-color display
Let me know in the comments below if your over it yet 😂

 

 

OEM Features:

Whether optional or standard, Nissan was the world first to develop alot of these features that are seen in Mercedes, Porsche, BMW etc. Years before zee Germans (everyone always thinks my car is a Porsche Macan - I say to them "Yes the Germans stole it and decided to charge more for less product" - I love love love the VQ37VHR-VVEL/VQ35VHR motor)

360 Camera View
Intelligent Cruise Control
Voice Activation
3D Navigation
Birdeye view Navigation
Lane Departure System
Forward Collision Warning
Automatic Understeer and Oversteer controls
Bluetooth connection
Voice Activation
Steering Wheel Control 
Music Box with inbuild HDD
 

Recent Tech Advances:

This refers to the current world and what we have available now (and quite frankly, far better than what we got)

2.5D IPS or QLED Screens that quite frankly shit all over TFT screens
Apple Car Play (and now wireless)
Android Auto (and now wireless)
Android Automotive, a new OS with its own entire open-source platform separate to Android OS is coming out https://arstechnica.com/cars/2021/05/android-automotive-os-review-under-the-hood-with-googles-car-os/
Bluetooth 5.0
5G WiFi
Tyre pressure monitors
Better Soundchip software
Faster CPU
More RAM Memory
More Storage Capacity
Affordable OBD components
Digital (DAB+) Radio
 

XANAVI upgrade:

I will give credit when credit is due. These two lads from Estonia have made a pretty penny having worked out over the cold North European winter months... sitting at home with nothing to do, probably purchased an Infiniti or Nissan and thought "this is crap"

So what they did was tweak things a little. Smart.

Whilst I may not be as Tech Savvy, I am a Real Estate Agent and one thing I do know is if I smell Bullshit. If Stereo/Navigation/Infotainment system upgrades had a hierarchy, Xanavi is the undisputed King of Bullshit.

 

You are paying these guys for software knowledge and know-how. Whenever I go to a new restaurant, I order the most basic and staples they offer, if they can't get it right (for example a Margherita Pizza at a Woodfire Pizza Shop), there is no way in hell their more complex offerings are going to be better. Master the basics, proceed with the rest. The most basic of any software company is how they present their... tech. Right?

https://xanavi.net/

"We have a lot of happy customers at all the world as we provide our services remotely regardless of your location

We always provide a warranty, support from A to Z and we perform our work as for our personal car

P.S. OUR SITE IS IN THE DEVELOPMENT BECAUSE OF IT SOMETIMES IT MAY NOT WORK OR WORK WEIRD"

Yeah, no thanks.

They ask you to send your core unit (postage you pay for) and send you out a screen someone else donated to them. The language upgrade and simplicity of the OEM suite for a computer programmer would be.. childsplay compared to complex UX and UI developers have to code with when for example, making an app for an iOS device.

They used to charge folks $700 USD 😳

Some people in countries like Australia, NZ, USA.. they have a license agreement and also charge through the roof still to this day (albeit a bit cheaper).

Don't get me wrong, this is what I had put on when I received my car.. it works. But it's still a piece of crap. Now... its just in English. And hey, you might be a purist and want to keep the eye-gouging centre turn knob (I admit at night the purplish/blue hue is nice), then go for it. I am just making you aware of what they are doing and why it cost nowhere near as much as it does (yes I know it takes expertise to crack software, but it's not like they were hacking the AFP or CIA).

To buy a refurbished screen will cost you: https://www.buyautoparts.com/buynow/2010/infiniti/g37/center_module_screen/18-30071_r

So whilst it works, I won't deny this.. Their business model has absolutely no overheads. What a dream come true. 

 

SCAM 2.0: Xanavi and Co's Latest Scam: https://www.facebook.com/commerce/products/4253208614806791/?ref=mini_shop_storefront&referral_code=mini_shop_page_card_cta

$1100 on an SD card 😂

Here is where they are ripping the idea from: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003697686640.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.48972ba2i2uKO0&algo_pvid=5358f7df-a9ed-4282-a307-03d9e1c153e7&algo_exp_id=5358f7df-a9ed-4282-a307-03d9e1c153e7-6&pdp_ext_f={"sku_id"%3A"12000026845563217"}&pdp_pi=-1%3B85.31%3B-1%3B-1%40salePrice%3BAUD%3Bsearch-mainSearch

You're welcome, I just saved you $1000. 

Xanavi.... Amateurs🙄

 

GROM VLine/Vline2/Nifty City/AuCar Mark V:

Ok, now we get onto the lesser knowns.

GROM VLine: https://gromaudio.com/store/vline/nissan-infiniti-2010-2017-vline-carplay-android-auto-infotainment-system-navigation-upgrade.html

Price: $659.95 USD

Verdict: Just wow. They send you a that looks like it came out of the 80's (albeit you don't have to send your screen in like Xanavi) and basically, all they do is upload open-source software (remember guys, open-source means free.) Onto a cheaply made box, throw a grey sticker on it saying VLINE (that's so smart, it's sexy) and throw is a wiring harness. What they are doing is basically this https://www.ijert.org/research/dual-boot-operating-systems-in-smartphone-IJERTV2IS90547.pdf with outdated hardware which is saturated on the market and can pick up for next to nothing (3GB Ram). Then.. the kicker... Android Oreo 8.1 (heavily outdated but with 3GB Ram, you can't run much else) is completely open-source!

!!!

Yeah, no thanks.

Nifty City: https://www.niftycity.shop/collections/infiniti

Price: $1,139.00 USD + extra for peripherals

Don't miss their January SALE!

😂😅

AuCar Mark V: https://aucarauto.com/product/aucar-tesla-android-9-aucar-infiniti-q50-android-module-integrated-with-intouch-carplay/

Price: $849 USD + extra for peripherals

Nothing says this is a premium "Beats by Dr.Dre" image than a slick-talking, African-American with Rap in the background driving with the seatback. So cool. I am sold. (And please, I am by no means making any racial slur my friends, I am a migrant myself and quite frankly don't care what race, gender, sexual orientation anyone is as long as they aren't a shit person! But you know, Hip Hop, Rap, Bling Bling.. it sells right? 😅)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnAJlgdZ0So
 

Honourable Mention: The Mark V moniker makes it sound very British and very premium. Don't get me wrong, it works, but the internals are outdated. You want to buy something that's future-proofed. Not yesteryear tech. 4Gb Ram/64 GB Memory. Better but not good enough.

 

Comparisons of Current Tech:

So, as of writing Friday the 7th of January, 2022, there are a few options out there.

However, at the time of writing it seems most manufacturers will upgrade the units every 6 months with new CPU's and every few years or so with the new Android Update.

As it stands, the best specs money can buy right now are (Drum Roll):

2.5D Screens (meaning they are curved like your smartphone)
QLED Screens - Superior Colours, blacks, brightness and viewing angle. I haven't seen one yet that isn't 2.5D
Android 11
CPU - Octa Core 2.0ghz
Audio Amplifier - TDA7851
EQualiser - DSP 48EQ
8GB Ram
128Gb Storage
 
 

What I went with:

After hours, days, weeks, of research. This is what I went with. This was the best choice with the options I had and the look I wanted. I wanted to keep that gaudy old clock, call me sentimental, but it's a nice centrepiece at night and adds a bit of old-world nostalgia. So I didn't opt for the 13.1 or 12.3" vertical "Tesla Screen" and.. no one was selling a tesla screen upgrade with higher-end internal components. So that made my choice easier.

Head Unit: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003717469637.html?spm=a2g0s.12269583.0.0.5d6d58cbhbfkdC

Price: $525.42 AUD

Not a QLED but an ISP which is 1 era of technology lower and 2 eras of technology higher than the current Nissan TFT screen.

2nd fastest processor: 1.8 GHZ octa-core

The nicest looking UI stock

They had the Screen Fascia Kit I wanted. Plain and simple.

8Gb Ram/128GB Memory

Accessories: 

OBD2 Scanner: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000790032478.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $6.72 AUD

360 720HD Sony Lens Camera System: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001859062000.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $78 AUD

8 Node Parking Sensor: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/4000829825263.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $56 AUD

Armrest USB extender: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003048393268.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $13.70 AUD

Dab+ Radio and Antenna: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001369975344.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $43.63 AUD

External fit (no need for Tyre repair shop) Tyre Monitoring system: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001369631215.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $23.33 AUD

SD Card 128GB for DVR camera (Samsung EVO overstock): https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005001862551935.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4djHUv3j - $11.48 AUD

4k Front, Internal and Rear Dash Cam/DVR/ADS: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005003208833917.html?spm=a2g0o.9042311.0.0.27424c4dsOzi4n - $198.26 AUD

Total Cost: $1102.15 Including Import tax and delivery.

 

So that has basically turned my 7" inch, outdated and painfully odd to operate with no extra featured Nissan Skyline Crossover into a fully upgraded, highly rated (the Dashcam is voted one of the best in the world) highly positive reviewed and highly researched, 2022 powerhouse.

I will update you with my setup and how it looks as I am waiting for a few more items to arrive.

 

Final thoughts and why I would do it again:

Now there are better components out there for other cars eg: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/1005002889014765.html with a QLED screen, however, they were not willing to source the fascia kit for me as I wanted the one that goes with the unit I purchased above.

There was this Fascia kit: https://www.alibaba.com/product-detail/Nissan-radio-fascia-kit-for-2013_1600249151912.html?spm=a2g0s.imconversation.0.0.1a6a3e5fI8JHb2 but that glossy black plastic looked way too cheap with a 9.7" screen, however, no one was offering a high spec vertical 9.7" screen, only 9".

Then there was the Tesla Screen option.... however, sometimes too big is... too much. This is why I like the size of my SUV. It's big enough, but not a moving fortress.

They will ask you for photos of your current unit OEM software, and photos of the rear of the unit and its wiring harness:

7' Screen? Simple: https://www.ebay.com/itm/175075436610?hash=item28c34f2842:g:FuQAAOSwEFxhwgbY as an example of mine. "Just google Infiniti G36 Infotainment system ebay"


Anywho, the companies I have spoken to are quite helpful. If you really need support, make a friend from China 😃 and jump on WeChat. They will blast through it (not that I have had any issues).

What you pick and choose is up to you, just remember the formula. Android upgrades every couple of years, this means hardware will increase indefinitely and 2) CPU/RAM/Storage upgrades happen every 6-12 months.

 

This post will serve you now and into the future and I hope I made life a little easier.

Time to complete Post: 6 hours... I think I deserve a beer!

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Edited by Bijan
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Does your screen only control audio etc? In the fuga it includes a lot of car settings which I guess you are losing with an aftermarket setup, this is the key reason I went Xanavi

Good to see there are more modern alternatives, tech moves a long way in t10 years.

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On 1/7/2022 at 7:26 PM, Duncan said:

Does your screen only control audio etc? In the fuga it includes a lot of car settings which I guess you are losing with an aftermarket setup, this is the key reason I went Xanavi

Good to see there are more modern alternatives, tech moves a long way in t10 years.

No, you do not lose any of the Car Settings you are referring to. It does what your Fuga does and about 200% more. 

 

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Glad to hear you've had a good experience. I'd need a lot more information compared to what the Fuga listing provides, it has a lot of vague statements like (my highlight)

Q2. This model will support the steering wheel control,A/C display, factory amplifier, etc?
A:Hi, friend, usually all products models will fully support and be compatible with the original car functions, such as STW, A/C, AMP, etc. But if your car is with specially factory functions, such as Optical Fiber Amplifier, BOSE Amplifier, XM satellite radio, factory NAVI, etc, please contact us further
I guess if I was going to go this way I'd have to look through what the Xanavi offers, what of that I actually use, and confirm with the seller what is carried over. Certainly I don't use the Navi, I just use my phone, but plugged in Android Auto was a worse experience than just using the handset last I used it, and I only use Bluetooth from the phone for audio so none of the AM/FM/Satellite/Video is important to me either (and Xanavi is annoying dealing with 2 paired phones as I do). Things like Distance to Empty display I use all the time, and Hybrid display at times. AC is displayed but not controlled by the screen in the Fuga. Reverse camera is important too and the factory resolution is terrible so that is a potential improvement.
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Posted (edited)
On 1/7/2022 at 7:44 PM, Duncan said:

Glad to hear you've had a good experience. I'd need a lot more information compared to what the Fuga listing provides, it has a lot of vague statements like (my highlight)

Q2. This model will support the steering wheel control,A/C display, factory amplifier, etc?
A:Hi, friend, usually all products models will fully support and be compatible with the original car functions, such as STW, A/C, AMP, etc. But if your car is with specially factory functions, such as Optical Fiber Amplifier, BOSE Amplifier, XM satellite radio, factory NAVI, etc, please contact us further
I guess if I was going to go this way I'd have to look through what the Xanavi offers, what of that I actually use, and confirm with the seller what is carried over. Certainly I don't use the Navi, I just use my phone, but plugged in Android Auto was a worse experience than just using the handset last I used it, and I only use Bluetooth from the phone for audio so none of the AM/FM/Satellite/Video is important to me either (and Xanavi is annoying dealing with 2 paired phones as I do). Things like Distance to Empty display I use all the time, and Hybrid display at times. AC is displayed but not controlled by the screen in the Fuga. Reverse camera is important too and the factory resolution is terrible so that is a potential improvement.

Understood entirely and your concerns! This is why Android (the worlds most customised OS) has everything.
I found something for Nissan Leaf. Something HAS to be out there.

Eg: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digitas.android.nissan.carwings&hl=en_AU&gl=US
 

 

 

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Posted (edited)
On 1/7/2022 at 7:52 PM, Bijan said:

Understood entirely and your concerns! This is why Android (the worlds most customised OS) has everything.
I found something for Nissan Leaf. Something HAS to be out there.

Eg: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.digitas.android.nissan.carwings&hl=en_AU&gl=US
 

 

 

I found a solution. I have a friend with a M35H. He had one installed. And yes you are right about the hybrid option as Nissan/Infiniti havent provided as much support with it as say Hyundai or Toyota.

However, there is a unit (and the only one on the market), however it isnt for the international market and only the chinese domestic market. It is in full english tho.

Its a whole new screen, you keep all the functionality of your buttons and knobs, or you can use the screen. Your steering wheel is not altered. And it shoes your driving range 😃 The screen keeps your old OEM.

But as Xanavi where, it piggy backs onto the original OEM software, this unit maintains Android first and allows the OEM software to piggy back onto it. SO, you will have the beautiful updated screen, larger resolution, superior functionality and app access, nicer looking screen and you can swap over to the old software anytime or split the screen into 2 (which is what my friend does - he simply leaves the hybrid/fuel driving range part on with the rest in android).

https://m.tb.cn/h.fQtIFYN?sm=83a0c3
 



If you do need help and don't have access to a Native Mandarin speaking person, I do and happy to help. Sometimes they don't allow international transactions, but my friend will and we can purchase it for you and discuss remuneration. Just an idea 😃

My friend who has purchased this has commented that this is 10 times better than the Xanavi set up with way more functionality and aesthetics.
 

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