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Premium Member
2020 Ascent Limited
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129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
When I bought my Ascent I did not want a sunroof. I couldn't get navigation without getting the tech package that included the sunroof. I had the navigation in my Outback and also have it in the Forester. I figured using Android Auto would be fine, which it is for the most part. Most times I know where I am going and I do not connect my phone.

But every once in a while there is a road closure, accident or heavy traffic and I look at the head unit and all I see is what is playing on the radio. It takes too long to get my phone out, connect it and wait for AA to come up.

Is it possible to swap out the head unit with one that has navigation? Is there a GPS antenna involved that I would also be missing? If the price was reasonable I would consider it if it is available. Or I could just get in the habit of plugging my phone in right away, or buying a stand alone GPS.

Just thinking about it.
 

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IIRC, the telematics module is different, as is the antenna. The Navigation head unit costs around $1700. Additionally, everything needs to be re-registered to the car and to your account, which requires the dealer, who will charge quite handily. I am pretty sure no dealership will do this job, sadly.

I use a Proclips powered mount for my phone. It's especially nice for those not upgrading phones every year, because they're custom fit.

I tossed the cigarette lighter charger and then just plugged the USB cable into the head unit. So, when I get in my car, I just drop my phone in.

Here's what I use for my Note 10+

They make a version for phones with slim cases:

And they make ones for various other phones:
 

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Super Moderator
2019 Ascent Touring (CWP)
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From a financial and practical standpoint, I'll also say that AA/CP is the solution. I use CP and I actually have the navigation available in the head unit. Google Maps and Apple Maps are far superior to the always outdated in-vehicle map systems, IMHO.
 
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Premium Member
2020 Ascent Limited
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129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you Robert and Jim. I do use a USB connection now. Just plug it in and AA comes up on the head unit. Also get text messages, etc. on the screen. I just put the phone (Samsung S10+ with an Otterbox case) in the cupholder area. I'm ok with it and certainly not going to spend $2000 to upgrade if at all possible. As I'm typing this my brain is asking if an unused phone (no cell service) with AA installed on it would work as a dedicated GPS, left plugged in. Might have to try that.
 

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If you have wifi hotspot in the car, yes, an unused no cell service phone will work.

If you don't, you can download "offline maps" when your phone is connected to your home wifi, but it will have limited voice recognition capabilities which makes Maps/Nav work poorly, if at all (offline maps is best for navigating when a data connection is lost during travel).

Alternatively, you can enable a hotspot on your regular cell phone that your no-service phone can connect to when driving.

Keep in mind, without data, you won't get messages and other notifications.
 

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Premium Member
2020 Ascent Limited
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129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
If you have wifi hotspot in the car, yes, an unused no cell service phone will work.

If you don't, you can download "offline maps" when your phone is connected to your home wifi, but it will have limited voice recognition capabilities which makes Maps/Nav work poorly, if at all (offline maps is best for navigating when a data connection is lost during travel).

Alternatively, you can enable a hotspot on your regular cell phone that your no-service phone can connect to when driving.

Keep in mind, without data, you won't get messages and other notifications.
I would still have my regular phone for calls, texts, etc. My wife uses an old phone to play games, etc. even though it no longer works for calls. Made me think it might work with AA also. Not sure if the GPS functionality would still work. Since it supposedly can be used for 911 calls, maybe the GPS is still working.
 

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GPS unit is separate and will continue to work, but, most routing and most voice recognition is done by Google on their servers, hence the need for data connection. :(
 
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