Longtime lurker first time poster here. I've been waiting for CarPlay to come to my 2017 CX-3 since I bought the car and found out it wasn't a standard feature. After false promises from the dealer that it was coming in Dec 2017, and more false promises that it was going to be a "free upgrade" it finally happened and the kit was released- but after seeing the $199 price tag and $199 labor fee I was hesitant.. but after using a few different cars that actually had CarPlay I was determined to get it into my CX-3 one way or another.
I paid about $146 for the kit from eBay and began researching installation guides for the CX-3 which to my surprise there really wasn't any guides-- atleast nothing as detailed as all the guides out there for the much more popular Mazda 3/6. After digging for a while I managed to find NotAPreppie's post on a thread detailing how he did the install (which helped tremendously btw.. thanks!) and I got to work. The whole process took about 2 hours and I'm proud to say I did it! This was my first ever modification involving removing pieces of trim and installing cables, etc - so the fact that I got it to work means that pretty much anyone can do this, so I figured to give back to this community for helping me get my install done I'd throw in a few notes on top of NotAPreppie's wonderful post to make it smoother for anyone else who decides to do this themselves:
- He was not at all kidding when he said to tape the ever loving crap out of the dash around the CMU.
I used what I thought was a generous amount of tape and even I still managed to get a nice little scratch when putting the CMU back into place.
- When removing the CMU - he doesn't mention it but after taking out the two 10mm bolts there are two clips on each side of the CMU that need to be popped in order to lift the CMU forward and out.. this had me scratching my head for a few minutes but that just might be my ignoramus showing.
- When he mentions removing the center console/arm rest.. about halfway through removing my arm rest I realized that I didn't have to follow this step at all.. after removing the shift trim all I had to do was lift up on the center just enough to pull the shift plate up and turn it to the side - I did not have to disconnect the command knob or anything like that. Not sure if this part is model specific or not. I have a 2017 GT and he has a 2016 GT but from my understanding they are pretty much the same.
- I could not for the life of me figure out how to disconnect the 12V from the assembly with the CD player and the USB hub so I ended up leaving it connected and working around it - which led to me having to break the clips on the old USB hub to remove it because I wasnt able to get a firm grip on it.
- He mentions following the instructions with the kit to install the cables, unfortunately my kit instructions referred me to the dealer MXConnect app for instructions which I did not have access to. For this part I ended up googling a picture of what color connects to what.. and as far as where to put the cable once its connected.. after foam taping the cable I zip tied part of it to the existing cluster and then coiled up the rest of it, zip tied that and tucked it in the void under my shifter/dash.
- Test the install before remounting the CMU! I forgot two small cables that were left unplugged on my CMU and was panicking when I turned on my car and the screen wasn't turning on. Thankfully it was just two small cables that I had forgotten about.
As far as how CarPlay works on the CX-3... I like it! My touch screen never fully worked prior to the install, and it has always been an issue on my car (some parts of the screen dont respond when touched - even when stopped) so I was never really too concerned about touch functionality and it works quite nice with the commander knob. I also like that pushing the music and nav buttons on the command cluster will switch to Apple Maps and Apple Music respectively instead of the default connect navigation/music.
Now for what I don't like:
- Regardless of what navigation app you are using at the time, if you hit the Nav button it will always bring you to Apple Maps.
- My car's connect system has always been notoriously slow at starting, and CarPlay is one of the last things to load up.
- Not really a CarPlay issue but finding a spot to put the phone that's not the silly phone slot on the arm rest (my arm rest is up a lot)
Anyway that's my experience and my take on the CarPlay/AndroidAuto retrofit kit. I apologize for how long and drawn out this post is and I'll make sure to upload a few pictures I took during and after the install later on when I get home.