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Add a touchscreen stereo, keep your car's factory features

An iDatalink Maestro makes it possible

By

Jon Paulette

Jon Paulette is a veteran automotive writer who has spent a fair portion of his life hanging out at racetracks and talking to amazing people who make extremely loud cars reach ridiculous speeds. Despite all that, he still has enough hearing left to enjoy a stupidly large music collection. A native Virginian, Jon lives in the Charlottesville area, roots for the Nationals and would like a good BBQ sandwich right about now.

More from Jon Paulette


kenwood navigation receiver

An aftermarket upgrade saves you from hefty dealership prices

If you own a Ford equipped with SYNC®, a Chrysler vehicle with UConnect®, or a GM vehicle with OnStar®, you know they're some of the better factory systems around. But you also know that if your car didn’t have navigation when it rolled out of the factory, adding it later meant: A) installing an aftermarket nav receiver and losing your factory system, or B) having a factory nav receiver installed at the dealership and spending lots of money. Now, thanks to iDatalink, there’s a better solution.

iDatalink Maestro

The iDatalink Maestro lets you keep the handy factory features you use everyday.

Gain navigation, smartphone controls, and hold onto your SYNC or UConnect functions

With the iDatalink Maestro radio replacement package for 2006 and up Ford, Chrysler, GM, and VW vehicles, you can install a powerful navigation receiver and keep your familiar factory features intact. And with a compatible receiver from Kenwood, you can stay on top of what's happening under the hood with touchscreen access to information like tire pressure, battery voltage, check engine codes, and more in certain vehicles.

So, how does it work? Basically, the Maestro speaks your car's language, allowing a factory system like SYNC to communicate with your new receiver and vice-versa. The features you use every day — voice commands, Bluetooth® connectivity, iPod® control, steering wheel controls, your back-up camera, even satellite radio in some vehicles — will work beautifully alongside aftermarket benefits like an HD Radio™ tuner, Garmin navigation, CarPlay™, and Android Auto™. And best of all, when you buy the Maestro with a new receiver, we'll offer you a deep discount on it.
kenwood receiver sync menu

You'll find all of your SYNC options on the easy-to-read menu screen.

A Crutchfield Advisor takes the Maestro for a spin

To see how the Maestro works in the real world, we asked Colt, an advisor in our Southwest Virginia call center, to give it a try. His 2008 Ford Edge came with the standard SYNC system, but he’d always wanted to install an in-dash nav receiver.

“The Kenwood Excelon receiver I installed offers a nice bang for the buck, because it’s a great stereo with built-in Garmin navigation and Bluetooth,” he said. “The Maestro makes it possible to get all that stuff without losing SYNC or the steering wheel controls.”

Colt installed the receiver and the Maestro bundle himself, then used the straight­forward startup menu to set his preferences.

“The Maestro lets you choose what works best for you,” he explained. “If you like the factory iPod controls, select that option. If you don’t, you can choose the Kenwood controls. The same goes for Bluetooth. I decided to stick with the SYNC options when I did the setup on my car.”

The Maestro allowed Colt to retain the factory steering wheel controls in his Edge, and let him assign a secondary “press and hold” function to each button. He was also able to keep his vehicle’s factory SiriusXM satellite radio capability, which made him happy.

If you’re thinking about upgrading with the iDatalink Maestro and you want a receiver that maximizes your vehicle's factory system, you can give an advisor like Colt a call at 888-955-6000 to investigate your options.

Kenwood receiver installed

Thanks to the iDatalink Maestro, Colt can enjoy full control of his SYNC system as well as the souped up sound and features of a new Kenwood stereo.

  • Bk from Omaha

    Posted on 3/19/2016 4:19:16 AM

    I have a uconnect system. I don't need Xm/serius or nav I would like to keep the climate control features and other vehicle settings, how can I upgrade the stereo and not lose those things?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 3/20/2016 3:08:10 PM

    BK, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • JG from Crofton, MD

    Posted on 4/7/2016 9:21:52 PM

    I am interested in the same question for uConnect for a 2014 RAM 1500

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/8/2016 9:07:46 AM

    JG, We can help with that. I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Dylan Olson from Cloquet

    Posted on 4/23/2016 10:12:20 PM

    I would like to keep the steering wheel controls for the stereo and heat. Does this work for that? 2005 f150 supercrew.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 4/25/2016 10:04:22 AM

    Dylan, We have everything you need to retain your truck's factory features. I've sent your question to our sales team, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Rich Busser from Elk grove village

    Posted on 5/2/2016 2:12:16 AM

    Hi, I have a 2016 Ford Edge with Sync that came with the built-in 4.5(?) inch screen. Is it possible to upgrade my stock radio w/Sync to either just Sync3 or Sync3 with a better head unit? When I bought the vehicle I couldn't afford the 201a equipment group which included Sync3, 12 speakers, sub-woofer with a Sony head. I only have six speakers, no sub and stock Ford radio. Any comments or suggestions on 1) if I can upgrade at all, and 2) if so, what's the best recommended upgrade and the best services to do the upgrade? Thanks so much.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/2/2016 10:36:34 AM

    Rich, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • carlos

    Posted on 5/4/2016 5:27:13 PM

    I am interested in the same question for uConnect for a 2015 Chrysler 200

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/5/2016 9:02:14 AM

    Carlos, I've sent your question to our sales team for the best answer, and they'll be contacting you via email soon. For immediate help, you can contact them via phone or chat.

  • Mark from Whittier

    Posted on 5/13/2016 12:00:10 AM

    What about the 2015 Fiesta ST? Would it work in there?

  • Richard Gossett from Madison

    Posted on 5/14/2016 6:24:31 PM

    I have a 2016 ford fusion with the non touch screen I want to install touch screen in my car but want to keep all my factory steering wheel controlls do you carry an option for this?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/16/2016 10:02:34 AM

    Richard, At the moment, we don't recommend replacing the radio in the '16 Fusion. That's because there isn't an aftermarket dash kit available to hold the new receiver -- yet. The Fusion is a popular car, though, so that could change. Watch this space.

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/16/2016 10:19:35 AM

    Mark, Not at the moment, it seems. You can use our vehicle selector to see which stereos fit your car and get some info on what else is needed for the installation. Good luck!

  • Joe Krasko from Rembert

    Posted on 5/18/2016 3:16:05 PM

    I installed this system in a 2012 Ford Super Duty with Sync. My Sync is fully functional and interacts with the aftermarket head unit. Unfortunately I have no way to perform an firmware update since the factory head unit displayed the status and my aftermarket does not. Are you aware of a way the update the Sync system with the latest update another way?

  • Jon Paulette from Crutchfield

    Posted on 5/19/2016 9:47:56 AM

    Joe, If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help with this issue. If you purchased your equipment elsewhere, you can still get expert Crutchfield Tech Support - 90 days-worth for only $30. Check out our tech support page for details.

  • Charlie from Belgrade MT

    Posted on 5/28/2016 1:40:37 AM

    I have a 2016 transit cargo van. I'm looking to upgrade the stereo and keep the sync functionality, and mic, and backup camera. What do you recommend I get to do all that.