Should I get a universal double din or a custom fit android headunit?

Sometimes the choice is out of your hands. If the android headunit manufacturers don’t make a custom fit for your vehicle, you can’t buy one.

Older vehicles often have a single or double din mounting and the Pumpkin of choice is often fitted to these vehicles as the best choice for a universal android headunit. If you have a double din mounting, you also probably have the standard ISO connectors in the vehicle that match the pumpkin well.

More modern vehicles and some manufacturers have been doing their own thing for a long time. Recognise the older Ford headunit? Found in early model C-Max, Mondeo and Focus. It doesn’t fit a standard double din but there is a huge choice of custom fit Ford android headunits available giving factory looking finish including the square shape Ford shown below.

There is also the Vauxhall trapezoidal factory radio fitted in Corsa D and other early Vauxhall cars. Luckily there are custom fit android headunit versions of these to make a Corsa D, Astra H or Zafira B install look like it was fitted in the factory.

One of the other biggest advantages for a custom fit is….
Factory style connectors. This should not be overlooked. The factory connectors on the custom fit android headunit match the vehicle perfectly. No need to splice or solder, no mistakes to make. Cut the red or the yellow wire? not a problem. Don’t cut any! No extra adaptors to buy, no choices to be made over which adaptor to get.

Custom fit are also useful for the modern vehicles that have computer integration with the factor headunit. Changing car settings via the factory headunit or car information displayed on the factory headunit screen is a good sign of a computer connection between the two. This connection is often referred to by is standard communication name of ‘CAN’ bus. The controller area network bus was introduced in 1983 and is often used to link car computers to the headunit.

A universal android headunit would not know how to communicate with every possible CAN bus enabled vehicle it could ever possibly be fitted in.

The custom fit android headunits are designed for a specific make, or model and the CAN interface is matched to communicate with its host. This level of communication over the CAN bus between custom android headunit and the host vehicle can keep the original feature options available.

Ford Focus custom fit android headunit showin CAN bus and factory connectors
The CAN bus decoder box and Ford style connectors with a custom fit Ford Focus android headunit.

Other options are to fit a fascia than converts an odd shape mounting space to a standard double din that will take the pumpkin and other universal double din android headunits.

So, from top to bottom, the list of choices you have are below in order of preference to fit an android headunit as either a custom fit or a universal..

If a well specified and good performing custom fit android headunit is available for your vehicle model, this would be the best choice to fit.

If a custom fit is not available and you have a double din 7″ style hole. Fit a universal, like the Pumpkin. The pumpkin is a very popular choice for this situation. Its standard ISO connectors make adapting these to the vehicle very easy.
Add any ISO to vehicle adaptors (never cut any factory plugs) and add an SWC adaptor is you want to continue to use the factory steering wheel controls for volume and tracks. Some plastic may need cutting to make a flush fit but a craft knife or junior hacksaw can sort this.

If there is a fascia available to adapt the space to make it a standard double din, then use the fascia and fit a universal double din, like the Pumpkin.

If you have a single din hole and there is no way or inclination to expand to a double din or you just want a 10″ screen, then fit the fastest universal headunit 10″. It has ISO connectors and an interface to the vehicle is available. Do not cut any factory plugs or wires. Or try something a little bit different?

An staff blogger. I am a multi-skilled dogs-body and I also make the coffee ☕

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