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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter #1
I had this installed in my 2015 2.5i Premium today by World Wide Stereo, Montgomeryville PA. I've always done this sort of work myself, but I'm just not sufficiently bendy anymore. It replaces the stock system with Clarion HU and 6 speakers.

This is a simple upgrade of the head unit and front door/dash speakers. I'll do the back doors myself (less bending) next week. I was looking for better Bluetooth, Android Auto, and of course better quality audio. I don't need ear-bleeding volume, I don't need deep bass, but I do need clear, accurate sound.

The system was $1100 all in (including PA sales tax). A bit more than some other installers would have charged, but WWS advertizes their familiarity with Subarus, and generally is a high-end audio dealer with a rep for quality. My experience supports that reputation. (The "waiting room" was a millionaire-class home theater with my choice of movies.)

HU is a Sony XAV-AX5000.
Front speakers (component speakers with separate tweeters installed in dash, plus crossover): Focal RSE-165
Back speakers (not yet installed, but purchased from Crutchfield for additional $120): Focal RCX-130

Even with the old speakers still in the back doors, the new system is a spectacular improvement. It sounds like high fidelity now; it sounded like a car radio before, if not a bad one. Everything else seems to be working as it should: AA, steering wheel controls, radio reception, backup camera, telephony, etc. It's early days yet, of course, but I drove home from the install a happy man.
car stereo.jpg
 

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2019 Forester Sport Rubber band
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459 Posts
I'm not familiar with what came on your car but that install looks nice and clean. Enjoy
 

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2015 Forester Premium CVT
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376 Posts
Looks great. There are no physical buttons on the stereo though. I am leery of such stereos as I can not change anything while driving without touching the screen. Hope you don't have that problem.

Do your steering controls still work? From my research, you need a very specific cable made by a fellow Subaru owner, unless something else has come up.
 

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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter #4
There are small rocker switches along the bottom for Home, Volume +/-, <<>>, and a multifuncton “option” button.

But yes, the steering wheel controls all work and do what they always did. This is one reason I went to a dealer familiar with Subaru.

Also, with Android Auto, the Google Assistant can handle Nav, music, and phone commands. The Sony mic — which seems much more sensitive than the original Subaru one and is mounted on the mirror stem — seems optimized for voice command.

I’m not a fan of touch screens, either, and in fact in 2014 chose this car in part specifically because it didn’t have one. But in the intervening years I realized two things: 1) I rarely touched the stereo anyway; I used the steering controls while driving, and mostly I play music on shuffle from my phone or a thumb drive, and 2) I was using Google Maps on my phone for both nav and music, and a bigger screen running Android Auto would be easier to read and safer.

Plus the stock stereo sounded like doodoo.
 

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Hi thanks for sharing your experience as we are looking to do the same exact thing for our 2015. Would you think a chain like Best Buy could handle install of a system like this? It’s less about price but more confidence in a purchase guarantee from a chain vs a small shop. Appreciate any insight. Thanks!
 

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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter #6
Would you think a chain like Best Buy could handle install of a system like this?
I think it's a lot like picking a surgeon. The first thing you ask is "how many of these procedures have you done, and what is your success rate?"

Specifically, Subarus are weird, as I understand it, and approaching one without prior experience with its specific idiosyncrasies may be asking for trouble. That's why I looked for a reputable shop that advertised its expertise with Subarus, and I'm happy to report six months later that it worked out even better than I expected.

There are a lot of Best Buys, and they can't all be equal. I understand the attraction of a warranty that is honored nationwide. I think the best approach would be to, first, use a resource like Crutchfield to familiarize yourself with the specifics and available options of an installation like the one you want. Then, armed with that knowledge, make an appointment to speak with the manager of the BB installation department at the store you want to use. See if they know their Subarus, and what specific issues they will encounter and how to solve them. And decide from there.

It's certainly possible to do a completely successful installation in our Foresters, and it should be within the capabilities of a high-volume operation like Best Buy. But my advice is to trust an individual, not a just a business, and talk to whoever will oversee your specific job. The best guarantees are the ones you never have to use, because the work was done right the first time.
 

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2015 Forester XT
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I’ve replaced the head unit several times in subies over the years, Crutchfield has always been a great option, provided step by step instructions with every order and a custom “plug n play” wire harness, you are still req’d to cut and splice wires here and there.

My 2015 FXT will be on deck for this upgrade soon, I only listen to FLAC HD files so the ability to read and play those via microsd/sd card is key, as well as waze integration, steering and camera.

Thanks for the info.
 

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2015 Forester2.5i Premium CVT
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Discussion Starter #8
The Sony I described above does support FLAC on both USB inputs, but there's no SD slot (which is something you don't usually see on non-nav HU's these days). I specifically chose this unit so I could keep a thumb drive full of FLACs in USB2 without interfering with using Android Auto with USB1. And the unit supports selecting any source for music while still using Android Auto for navigation, and you'll still hear navigation voice prompts.
 
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