Last year I replaced the stock head unit in my CRV with an Alpine 52-BTE. Not great, but good enough for me. I mostly listen to podcasts, audiobooks, and 90s lo-fi indie rock, so a true audiophile system wasn’t my priority.
I just installed a complete set of decent JBL components in the front and coaxials in the rear. They’re 5.25”, which is smaller than stock but soooo much crisper. The one thing the setup lacks is bass. As in, LACKS. There is none.
Alpine makes a nifty 45Wx4 amp that plugs right into the output from my HU, then into the stock wiring harness. No muss, no fuss. Great user reviews. It’s also perfectly rated for my speakers.
I get an under-the-seat powered 8” sub for just a few bucks more. It’s not high end, but based on the user reviews and recommendation from Crutchfield’s support, I think it’ll be fine. I’d just need to pull the sub-out from the HU and some juice from a spare in the fusebank (I have an LX, so there’s an unused 30amp fuse for the powered seat that I don’t have), easy peasy.
I just don’t know which to get with the remainder of my X-Mas gift cards. I’ll likely get the other piece next spring, so it’s not an all or nothing proposition. I just want to get the piece that will make the greatest overall improvement to the quality of audio right now.