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I'm in the market for a cheap plug in hybrid. Right now its between the 2014 Ford Fusion Energi and the 2014 chevy volt. I know that the chevy volt is more efficient and a little cheaper but I just can't get over the center console/radio system. I know this may be an unpopular opinion but its honestly a deal breaker. I hate the glossy white with the tiny buttons and the strange controls.

My old car was a 2003 vw golf and I was able to install an aftermarket radio that included car play for about $300. I was wondering if anyones done anything similar with the volt. Could you replace the whole center console or just the radio? Is there an aftermarket console that retains all the important features of the oem console. Please help, I know it may sound crazy but this console is an absolute deal breaker for me.
 

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If the white center console bothers you why don't you get a Volt with the gray console?

Like this?
2012-chevrolet-volt-5dr-hb-dashboard_100374562_m.jpg
 

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Replacing the OEM radio is probably not possible, or at least, not practical. Ask me how I know...

The main obstacle is that the climate controls are integrated into the factory radio. I figured I could live without just about everything that the factory touchscreen does, except that there is no way to gain control of some of the climate settings without the touchscreen. This is why I say that it’s “probably not possible” to replace the unit, though I did succeed in adding a second radio to my car.

About a year ago, I added a Pioneer SPH-DA120 to my 2011 Volt, and although I am satisfied with the result, I don't think I'd do it again if given the chance. It was a lot of work, and I doubt I could have paid anyone to do it for me, so it was a labor of love - and determination!

The project involved dissecting the Pioneer radio so that I could spread its components in and around the console. The Pioneer unit's screen is mounted in the center console where the factory touchscreen used to sit, and the rest of its “guts” are squeezed in just behind the firewall, ahead of the gearshifter. I had to use a very long ribbon cable to extend the Pioneer’s screen so that it could reach its remote circuit boards. The stock touchscreen now sits where the dash-top storage bin used to be, on a custom mount I made. There’s enough slack in the wiring harness that allowed me to easily relocate the screen without cutting and splicing any wires. I did have to remove the RFID sensor which is mounted under the bin, but I simply left it sitting in the cavity under the relocated factory touchscreen.

The Pioneer’s audio outputs are fed into the AUX port of the original unit, which was a simple solution to the problem of trying to interface the new unit to the existing amp and speakers.

If I get the chance, I’ll post some photos of my project. I don’t have any photos of the process, but I'll try to take some “after” shots of the finished product.
 

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My first reaction to the console was "whoa!" Then some one mentioned it was their "Storm Trooper" console. It became kind of cool. Now it's one of the things that makes the car so unique. No one else has anything like it and it grows on you. It has little knobbies that direct you to where the buttons are. If I wanted something that looked like every other car, I would have bought some other car.
 

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The white console reminds me of a 1953 Corvette's dash, which also sweeps onto the door
1953-corvette-dashboardjpg.jpg
 

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My first reaction to the console was "whoa!" Then some one mentioned it was their "Storm Trooper" console. It became kind of cool. Now it's one of the things that makes the car so unique. No one else has anything like it and it grows on you. It has little knobbies that direct you to where the buttons are. If I wanted something that looked like every other car, I would have bought some other car.
Don't get me wrong, I love my Volt - but my wife and I agree that the center console has too many buttons! Sadly, it still hasn't grown on us.

It reminds me of this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LyUN40weqIk
 

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The console does not bother me, but I agree it is an odd design with some drawbacks. It is too integrated with the car to change it - not worth the trouble. It was completely changed for the 2016 model year and later, if you can swing one of those in your budget. I think the bottom line is that if it is a deal killer for you, get the Ford.
 

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On the capacitive touch buttons, I doubt anyone will agree that it's the best user experience. Not all "tech" features succeedl. Some old cars had record players in them, lol. Few cars have a smooth enough ride for that tech to work.

In this case, Chevy learned and did not keep the capacitive touch grid for Gen 2 or the Bolt.
 

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One of the nice things about the Gen1 center stack is that you usually have 3 different ways to select functions. You can press a function on the center stack, or choose the same function on the touch screen, or scroll through the functions with the knob and select by pushing Select in the middle of the knob. Plus the steering wheel controls can be used for some functions. The touch screen on my daughter's 2014 Camry recently became non-responsive in the lower right-hand quadrant and those functions were totally unavailable. Luckily the entire head unit was replaced under the extended warranty, which more than paid for itself.
 

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One of the nice things about the Gen1 center stack is that you usually have 3 different ways to select functions. You can press a function on the center stack, or choose the same function on the touch screen, or scroll through the functions with the knob and select by pushing Select in the middle of the knob. Plus the steering wheel controls can be used for some functions. The touch screen on my daughter's 2014 Camry recently became non-responsive in the lower right-hand quadrant and those functions were totally unavailable. Luckily the entire head unit was replaced under the extended warranty, which more than paid for itself.
That's true about multiple input methods, but (disappointingly) they neglected to provide any way to adjust many of the climate controls (beyond fan speed and temperature) on the stack. Without a functioning touchscreen, you cannot access many important features.
 

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That's true about multiple input methods, but (disappointingly) they neglected to provide any way to adjust many of the climate controls (beyond fan speed and temperature) on the stack. Without a functioning touchscreen, you cannot access many important features.
I wonder if you got a head unit that is supported by idatalink Maestro if you could adjust the HVAC from there? They claim that you can access HVAC, but don't list the Volt as supported, I'm guessing because you can't easily replace the radio on the Volt so most people wouldn't attempt it, but maybe if you contacted the company they could work something out for you.
 
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