Now that we're deep into summer and everyone's hitting the road for vacation or a quick weekend getaway, having a great system in your car is more important than ever. With family trips in mind, we chose the venerable 2006 Volvo V70 2.4 wagon - a modern icon of family transport - as this issue's upgrade candidate, and had two Sunbelt shops fashion systems for it. The $1.5K upgrade adds power, bass, and satellite radio to the Volvo's stock system, while the $5K system outfits the family wagon with back-seat video, a serious speaker upgrade, and enough amplification to power it all. With entertainment options like this, family road trips will never be the same.
|$45 Zapco Symbilink SLDIN-BTL line-output converter
$36 Symbilink 18-inch cable
$469 Zapco 350.2 two-channel amplifier
$60 Stinger amplifier-wiring kit
$210 Treo TSX10.22 10-inch subwoofer
$230 Subwoofer enclosure fabrication and materials
$159 Terk XM Commander
$290 Installation labor and materials
Brent Davidson, namesake installer and show-car master of BD Audio Creations in Austin, Texas, has some pretty clear ideas about how to turn a mommymobile like the Volvo V70 into a music venue on wheels. "Newer cars usually have good speakers that'll last awhile," he explains, "so I focused on putting in a subwoofer and XM Radio." (He left the stock head unit and speakers intact for budgetary reasons.) Davidson kicks off his upgrade with a Zapco line-output converter that'll feed the high-level signal out of the stock radio to a Zapco 200-watt stereo amplifier bridged to power a Treo 10-inch subwoofer. The sub is secured in a sealed enclosure squeezed into the Volvo's rear cargo area. "It's built into one of the side panels so that the seats still fold down and you can continue to fit stuff back there," he says.
To add some musical variety for those long hauls, a Terk XM Commander brings satellite radio into the mix. While it's an FM-modulated option, Davidson notes that his patrons have been happy with the results. "I had a customer who was pretty surprised at how good it sounded," Davidson reports, "so he left it in his system."
Ultimate Audio, a four-store chain in Central Florida, is known in the car-crazy Sunshine State for audio systems that run from plain to insane, so UA's marketing manager Imran Ahmad was eager to sink his teeth into our $5K Volvo V70 upgrade. His layout slips Kicker speakers behind the stock grilles in the front and rear doors and adds two Kicker 12-inch subwoofers in a custom ported enclosure behind the back seat. Two Kicker amplifiers - one to drive the door speakers and another to power the subs - sit atop the sub box on a carpeted panel. "It depends on how showy the customer wants it to be," Ahmad adds. "With a bigger budget, we could do more custom fabrication to hide everything."
Just to make sure everyone's happy, an Alpine overhead console that contains a 10-inch video screen and comes with wireless headphones attaches to the ceiling. If front-seat passengers want more options, Ahmad says future upgrades could include satellite radio and iPod integration.
|$1,400 Alpine IVA-D310 DVD receiver
$40 Best Kits radio-installation kit
$20 Best Kits radio wiring harness
$20 Best Kits FM antenna adapter
$250 Kicker KS62 6.5-inch component speakers (front doors)
$130 Kicker KS525 5.25-inch coaxial speakers (rear doors)
$360 Two Kicker Comp VR12 12-inch subwoofers
$550 Subwoofer enclosure/amp rack fabrication and materials
$230 Kicker ZX200.4 four-channel amplifier
$580 Kicker ZX750.1 mono amplifier
$140 Kicker CK4 amp-installation kit
$550 Alpine PKG-1000 overhead video console
$730 Installation labor and materials
Copyright © 2013 Bonnier Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.