iPodding my car

Last month, I bought a new VW Passat from the folks at Antwerpen VW (who gave me a great deal on a demo model). So far, it’s been a great ride (better gas mileage, more room, and better performance than the Jetta VR6 I’d been driving about 6 years).

Having suffered through a couple of attempts to get my iPod to play through my old car (tape adaptor, iTrip), I looked forward to the opportunity to “iPod my car”. I finally had it done yesterday.

The good (so far)

  • The adaptor charges the iPod and plays tracks simultaneously.
  • The iPod lives in a secondary compartment above the glovebox completely out of view.
  • Controls work just like the external CD changer would.

The bad (so far)

  • You can only access the first five playlists in your iPod, or the list of all your tracks. It would be nice to able to pick which five map to the radio buttons.
  • No display of track name or playlist name. Apparently you get that information if you put in a CD with MP3s on it, but I still need to test that.

The ugly
The technician who installed the iPod adaptor managed to disable my satellite radio. It still receives channels and displays all the information, but there’s no sound 🙁
They’re going to be fixing that today.

The verdict
iPod integration is an improvement over the tape adapter, iTrip, or aux port options. It’s a bit pricey to install (around $350 for parts, labor, & tax). I’ve got enough songs and podcasts on my iPod that when the included 3 months of XM expire, I probably won’t miss them. Going the aftermarket route was probably the only way to address my hangups about playlists and display information, but for now I prefer how seamless the current integration setup is.