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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Summary: What reasonably priced name brand Android Auto-compatible navigation display/radio/CD/DVD audio heads are recommended. Do they reproduce all the functionality of the OEM head unit? (2012 Grand Cherokee with stock audio system - broke!)

Im not a jeep person but trying to help out my cousin by marriage, whose 2012 Grand Cherokee radio works about 3% of the time. She just lost her husband, who was like a brother to me. This is a labor of family love.

Im knowledgeable on the Ford/GM side with my past audio upgrades and use Apple CarPlay and iPhone apps on my F150.
I know nothing of Jeep and nothing of Android (other than I think "Android Auto" provides both navigation display/audio and bluetooth phone connectivity)

Im assuming an aftermarket replacement is in order.
Im partial to Pioneer but am open to other well regarded brands that are reliable. Lower end price and features preferred.

She has an Android phone and would like navigation, phone connectivity, and listens to FM radio and audio CDs/DVDs. She is NOT looking for an audiophile solution or thumper boom box. She will be keeping the same speakers (unless I find a problem there). Navigation thru the Android Auto, not embedded GPS navigation, is my preference for her since it will be updated and I assume has more choices for Nav apps (does it?).

Im looking at the Pioneer site for fitment. But not sure about true plug and play functionality
Do these aftermarket nav screen systems:

    • Provide all the controls and displays done on the OEM radio? (not necessarily in exact format/user interface but want to know no functions are missing)
    • Interface with steering wheel buttons
    • Provide all the OEM audio warnings, chimes, etc.
    • What on-screen navigation apps are available that work with Android Auto (I assume Waze. What about Google maps? Other recommended)
    • Plug and Play (I can do it but prefer not to cut wires or any mounting components (minor interference trimming is OK). So assume a Metra or other brand adapter harness is available. I will order from Crutchfield and get their install instructions if they have a reasonable price)
What y'all recommend? Anybody who's done it like above have a part ID for radio, adapter harness, and any other non generic parts? Save me some research time.
Is there anything im assuming that is incorrect?

Edit: OK im confused! Looking at Pioneer AVH2300NX specs and it says "Andriod Auto" included (usb cable required -which is OK). But under navigation, it says Navigation Ready - AVIC-U280 Required???? AVIC-U280 is an embedded GPS nav module. I just want Android Auto navigation apps running on Pioneer screen. Does this Pioneer model do it? https://www.pioneerelectronics.com/PUSA/Car/NEX/AVH-2300NEX#specs
 

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Crutchfield's site will help you choose a new hear unit that has the features you want and will also provide the necessary interface kit and wiring adapters to insure you retain vehicle functions, such as steering wheel controls.
 

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Android Auto allows using the apps from an Android phone on the car's head unit display. As such, it is not necessary to get a navigation head unit because the built-in navigation would be ignored in favor of the phone's Android Auto navigation (IOW, navigation in the head unit is redundant).

Now, if you wanted built-in navigation rather than having to plug in the phone all the time (with few exceptions, Android Auto is USB cable based) then I would recommend Kenwood. I've always found Pioneer and Kenwood to be two of the best brands available. Pioneer is the clear choice if FM radio is a primary factor because their SuperTuner III is head and shoulders above other tuners. But Kenwood uses Garmin for its navigation system so it's the obvious winner in that area. Kenwood menus and settings are logical and easy to use but their technical support can be lacking occasionally. Pioneer menus and settings are a little more difficult to navigate but their technical support is top notch. So it's give and take between those brands depending on which things are most important to you.

As Jim mentioned, Crutchfield is a great place to find all the accessories and installation items you'll need to make your installation seamless.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I spent some more research time and confirmed android auto can run the android nav apps on the phone with the appropriate Pioneer unit . There are cabled version android-compatible receivers and newer, wireless receivers, that use the wifi feature of the phone and receiver to get the bandwidth needed.

Pioneer (in the users manual, not the install manual - for some strange reason) recommends a cable adapters from https://maestro.idatalink.com, which is a tedious site to navigate. But it does provide lots of tech data. It appears they provide cables to retain the steering wheel button controls, and possibly the OEM video camera. However, Pioneer provides a microphone with their units and it doesn't look like idatalink supports use of the OEM car microphone.
 

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AFAIK, no aftermarket head unit can use the OEM microphone in the JGC....because it's really different than a normal "plug-in" type microphone.
 

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@evofxdwg
You’re describing a digital media receiver; no nav and no optical disc player. I’m in the process of updating the head unit on my 2012 Overland with a Kenwood DMX906S, which is a digital media receiver. I chose it for its Apple CarPlay integration, but it also supports wired and wireless Android Auto.

The DMX906S is widely available for $550, but I just ordered it online for $450 from Sound of Tri-State. I had never heard of and was leery of the seller, but it’s listed as an authorized dealer on Kenwood’s website.

If your cousin doesn’t need wireless Android Auto, there are many other options that cost less. As mentioned by others, Crutchfield is a good resource to research them.
 
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