After some years of operation, the stock head unit of my Toyota Avanza is having problem pulling in the CD, and I planned to replace it since several months ago.
I don't have high demand in car audio, and don't want to spend too much on it. However, I do have basic demand, which the quality of most of the China made brands not meeting my expectation. Therefore, I go for mid-range, and finally installed Kenwood KDC-U353R in my car.
This seems to be a new 2012 model, and cost me RM250.
Function wise, it meets my requirement to listen to radio and to play CD audio / MP3 / WMA with CD / CDR / CDRW or USB drive. In fact, this unit comes with a free 4GB USB Pendrive which can store several hundred MP3 files. I think this unit is unable to play AAC M4A file, which is something nice to have, but not a big deal if it doesn't have.
It also comes with a small remote control, a nice gadget for passengers in 2nd or 3rd row seat to take control of it.
Like most of Kenwood head unit, its faceplate is removable (so called Theft Deterrent Faceplate - TDF) and there is a special casing to keep the removed faceplate. Taking out and putting on the faceplate is pretty easy. However, there will be occasion to accidentally pressed the Eject button and cause the faceplate to come out from the panel, even if we don't mean so.
The Kenwood KDC-U353R head unit looks elegant at night, with red backlight and blue LED display. The brightness of the blue LED display can be adjusted in its function setting.
Radio reception is very good, better than the stock HU of Toyota Avanza 1.5G. The radio is still clear in some rural area where previously the stock unit will produce a lot of hissing sound.
Its sound quality is better than the stock HU too (this is as expected from Kenwood product). It works well with the stock speakers in Toyota Avanza, and I have added 2 tweeters in front to get more treble, especially when listening to radio.