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Erin Blanton's 2000 Honda CR-V

An affordable system that rocks ... pink subwoofer box and all!

Ever since I was 16 years old, I've driven a beater. (My last car was an '87 Honda Civic wagon with 225,000 miles — and almost as many bumper stickers. Great gas mileage, but very little style.) So, I was thrilled to get my hands on a 2000 Honda CR-V last spring. It's not fancy, but it's officially The Prettiest Car I've Ever Owned. Of course, with a new-ish car comes a larger payment, so I didn't have tons of cash left lying around for the sound system. I knew I wanted a system that was upgradeable (for when my ship comes in), sounded loud and clear enough to defeat road noise, and had a little bit of bump. And satellite radio was an absolute must-have. The bottom line: I wanted a lot, and I wanted it for less than $1,000.

Heads up!
I figured that the logical place to start was with the head unit. I picked the Alpine CDA-9805 for a few reasons: first, it's XM-ready, and will control Alpine's TUA-T020XM XM Satellite Radio tuner. Second, it has three sets of preamp outputs (there's that upgradeable thing). Third, the green-and-amber illumination looks pretty sweet with my dash lights. Fourth: the CDA-9805 is (you guessed it) relatively affordable. Retail price: around $170.

Radio from space, and a space for the radio
For XM reception, I needed a tuner and an antenna. The Alpine TUA-T020XM was a no-brainer — it integrated perfectly with the CDA-9805 receiver and would easily fit under the front passenger's seat. I picked it up as part of an FM modulated system that retailed for around $150. (This Alpine tuner is no longer being made. However, you can now get an "XMDirect" tuner that works with Alpine head units when used with a special adapter. Together, the adapter and the tuner are retailing for around $150.) The antenna was a little tougher. I considered an on-glass model, but the cosmetics just didn't appeal to me. In the end, I chose the Terk XM3 magnetic-mount antenna, and placed it on the rear roof, above the brake light. It's small and unobtrusive, and the reception is excellent. Price: about $50.

I decided that to save money, I would just replace my front speakers. The CR-V has 6.5" speakers in the front doors and in the rear cargo area — but since I don't tote around too many passengers in the back seat, I figured I could unhook the back speakers and let the fronts take care of business. I chose the Polk Audio EX365 speakers. They were a pretty easy fit, requiring only a little bit of cutting to install. Plus, they sound great. A huge value for the money (retail price: $70).

Amping it up
To get the loud-and-clear sound I was craving, I knew that I would have to use an amp to power the speakers. Even though my Alpine head unit has relatively high power, the CR-V does have some road noise to overcome. Plus, I like to drive with the windows down, so I tend to crank the volume pretty high. (Especially when I'm listening to the 90s channel on XM! Hey, it reminds me of high school.)

Alpine to the rescue again — the V-Power MRP-F240 4-channel amp was within my budget (priced at $199.99), and the power output (although not mind-blowing at 40 watts x 4) was enough to get the job done. I installed it under the driver's seat using an 8-gauge Scosche amp wiring kit. The amp's two front channels power my front speakers, and I bridged the rear two channels to power my subwoofer with 100 watts RMS. Speaking of the subwoofer ...

Bring the bass!
With the speakers, head unit, and amp in place, it was time to pick out the sub and enclosure. I chose to stick with Alpine (because you can never have too much of a good thing) and picked up a 10" Type-E SWE-1041 subwoofer (price: $89.99). With savings on my mind, I decided to build my own box. It turned out to be a lot of fun, and I did save some cash!

I thought about carpeting the box, or painting it, but I wanted something a little different and (yes) a little girly. I decided to let my inner arts-and-crafts freak free, and decoupaged the box with squares of pink scrapbook paper.

How do I feel about the finished result? Love it! The system gets more than loud enough for my tastes, and sounds clear even when it's cranked. The 10" sub rounds out the lows to perfection ... and I can't let a day go by without telling at least one person how much I adore my satellite radio. All that for a total retail cost of around $800 (including box-building materials and amp wiring) — in my book, a bargain.

What's next?
Even though I'm pleased with my system, I definitely have some upgrades in mind. I've got my eye on a set of Polk/MOMO component speakers for the front doors (the tweeters should fit nicely into the sail panels), and plan to pop the current Polk speakers in the back when I install those components. I also want to switch to a 5-channel amp with some more juice for the components and for my subwoofer. The pink sub box, though, is here to stay.
  • Kerry from Houston

    Posted on 11/13/2023

    Hello! Looks amazing. How did you build your speaker box? Thanks for sharing!!

    Commenter image

    Crutchfield Writing Team from Crutchfield

    on 11/20/2023

    Kerry, The in-depth details of that build are lost in the mists of time, but we can give you plenty of advice on how to build your own sub box. Give us a call and talk to one of our advisors. We can help you choose the right gear and give you the right advice on how to install it.
  • Jim jr. from LaVerne, Ca

    Posted on 6/27/2023

    You did a great job with your system and(although not for me) the sub box is a work of art, I love when people put their own personal spin on things, GREAT job!!

  • Gary J Wyszumiala from Waxhaw

    Posted on 1/31/2021

    Thanks Erin,and I worked for jeep 30 years. But WOW this crv stuff is cool. I love my 2000 !

  • Billy Jack Caldwell from Payson, Az

    Posted on 5/31/2018

    J. Spencer from Rolling Prairie, if you actually read this, I'm curious, did the Infinity Reference 6522EX speakers fit your CR-V without any cutting or modifying? If they did fit, how did they sound? And were you using an amplifier to power them? Or just using your stereo head unit? If you do actually read this and you would reply when you get a chance, I would really appreciate it!

  • Commenter image

    Alexander Hrabe from Crutchfield

    Posted on 12/5/2017

    J, Great to hear from you. Don't hesitate to contact us if you need any help along the way.

  • J. Spencer from Rolling Prairie

    Posted on 12/3/2017

    I have a 98 CR-V (same color) that I just put four Infinity Reference 6522ex's in. As much as I love this car the audio situation has been challenging. It should take 6 1/2's front and rear but the openings are tiny, necessitating a very shallow 6 1/2. The JBL GT7-6's I bought previously are 6 1/2's and wouldn't fit without cutting plastic in the front, plastic and metal in the rear. I ended up putting them in my wife's Element. Unfortunately given the restrictive speaker openings a subwoofer is essential to get any sort of warmth/bass in this car so I'll be going the same direction you did here with a sub and amp. I've enjoyed doing business with you guys for 25 years and have never been disappointed. Thanks for the article, and advice.

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