Meet the Alpine i209-WRA – combining the perfect mix of features and value
Although I couldn’t make it to CES 2017, I was excited to see that Alpine finally appears to have the right combination of features and price point with at least one of their two brand new 2011 and up Jeep Wrangler dedicated head units. The Alpine i209-WRA and X209-WRA are both scheduled for release April 2017.
I think the bigger seller here by far will be the Alpine i209-WRA which is their new mechless 9″ stereo featuring Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Aside from being water resistant and dust proof*, this model adds a ton of features that were lacking in last year’s model i109-WRA such as:
- iDatalink Maestro integration
- SiriusXM capability (requires SXV300 tuner and possibly an iDatalink SAT1 – not sure if that’s included yet with the radio)
- New high visibility WVGA capacitive touch screen
- Bluetooth for handsfree calling and audio streaming
- HD Radio
- HDMI input/output ready – requires additional accessory KCX-630HD
*A note about the IP54 rating which is defined in two parts according to Wikipedia: Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Having said that, it’s kind of like dropping your iPhone in the snow – pick it up, dry it off and it will survive, but you probably wouldn’t have the same luck if you submerged it in water for an extended period of time. It’s not entirely infallible to the elements, but can withstand a decent bout of dust and rain which is inevitable for Jeep Wrangler owners.
So what’s the Alpine i209-WRA going to cost you?
All this can be yours at a retail price of $2200. Keep in mind, Alpine wants that price to be a fully installed price. So let’s compare that to a fully installed price on something like Pioneer’s AVH-4200NEX or Kenwood’s DDX9703s.
Both models feature a 7″ touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM capability, HD radio, Bluetooth plus an on board DVD/CD Player (which the Alpine i209-WRA lacks). Both models come with a 1 year warranty when purchased from an authorized retailer.
When you add the iDatalink Maestro module, the Maestro harness, the FM/AM antenna adapter, the dash kit, the USB flush mount/retention adapter and installation you’re looking close to $1150 installed for either one.
Spend an extra $1050 on the Alpine i209-WRA you’ll get:
- A much larger 9″ screen
- A water resistant and dust proof WGVA high visibility capacitive touch screen that is designed to be visible even in bright sun (a screen designed for the Jeep Wrangler environment)
- 3 year warranty (I’m assuming on this one – that was a feature of previous models, I don’t see why they wouldn’t carry that forward)
- Bragging rights
Want an on board GPS navigation and a DVD player too? That’ll cost you.
Alpine takes it one step further with the next model up, the Alpine X209-WRA. With a suggested retail price of $4000, the Alpine X209-WRA adds:
- On board GPS navigation
- CD/DVD Player
- Dual Zone – (DVD output from in dash unit to rear seat entertainment option like headrest screens with wireless headphones for example)
- Alpine Connect infotainment service and companion smartphone app featuring in-dash content from iHeartRadio, Yelp, Glympse, and Spotify
How well these models sell will certainly depend on the market. I can tell you in our area, I can see Jeep Wrangler owners making the $1050 leap from a 7″ Kenwood or Pioneer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto head unit to the Alpine i209-WRA. I’m not so sure about the X209-WRA, but time will tell.
What do the Jeep Wrangler owner’s out there think? Which model would you be more inclined to install in your Jeep Wrangler? The i209-WRA or X209-WRA?