Auto manufacturers usually provide customers with decent infotainment systems that are developed along with various other systems of the car from the conceptual stage.
Take the Honda Civic Hatchback featured above for example. The car, priced at Bt1.169 million, comes with a 7-inch touchscreen that looks like a mini iPad but also serves as a display for automatic climate control system and a rearview camera.
The Civic Hatchback’s infotainment system allows you to connect smartphones and music players via Bluetooth, USB and HDMI inputs. I use a Samsung A5 and connected through the car’s Bluetooth system, which is smooth and easy, with music player and hands-free phone functions.
You can play standard music files from smartphone, USB sticks or MP3 players, but bear in mind that there isn’t a CD player, which I guess Honda considers obsolete these days (as well as reduce costs). And there are eight loudspeakers in the car, four in front and four at the rear.
After getting over the disappointment of not being able to play the Sade Greatest Hits CD from my collection, I hooked on the phone Bluetooth and played some music.
Streaming was quick and the flow was never interrupted, meaning that we have a decent system to start with. The touchscreen was also easy to use because you don’t have to press on it too hard like screens I have wrestled with.
While the amount of details were satisfactory for a standard OEM audio system, it is easy to feel that the overall sound is unpolished. The bright midrange is particularly disturbing, and luckily it is possible to reduce the mids in the tone control before my ears start to hurt.
The overall sound is little more balanced now (I am playing MP3 files), with acceptable detail and imaging (I think the channel separation is quite good here as well). But turn up the volume and it could also be a tiring experience as the sound is still pretty harsh.
If I had bought this car, one of the first things I’d consider is upgrading the sound system. I’d keep the front end since the design prevents you from replacing it, but the four tweeters and woofers (two pairs) are definitely out.
A budget of under Bt10,000 can get me two decent pairs of loudspeakers from well-known car audio manufacturers, and in many cases, this could be enough for starters.
For more power, I can throw in a 4-channel amplifier and there will be even better bass, so there isn’t a need for subwoofers, which dramatically increases your upgrade budget. And for additional fine-tuning, there are many things you can do, such as upgrading speaker cables and using high-quality car audio fuses and connectors.
Car audio shops usually have special promotional upgrade sets for different car models, and considering that the Civic is a popular car model, there will be proven upgrade choices that are worth spending money on.