Back in February & March of 2006, I had been exploring the potential of replacing the XC90's factory stereo system with an aftermarket stereo. The reasons were due to the failure of Volvo to offer a hardwired solution to iPod connectivity as well as no provision for any satellite (XM or Sirius) radio. I ultimately selected the Alpine IVA-W200. The next challenge was for Alpine to release the IVA-W200. Following is a summarization of the benefits of the Alpine IVA-W200:<p> + Navigation system integrated with head unit.<br> + iPod hardwired with full control from the head unit.<br> + XM (or Sirius) satellite radio integrated with head unit.<br> + Bluetooth communications integrated with head unit.<br> + Head unit reads CD/DVD(audio & video)/MP3 discs.<br> + Two video inputs (RSE & backup camera for example).<br> + HD radio support (requires separate tuner module).<br> + It even has support for an AUX-IN port - anyone for cassette players?<p>There are probably more benefits, but the above are what immediately occur after the first pass through the manuals that came with the system.<p>I have chosen to install the IVA-W200 with the Alpine Navigation (NVE-N872A), iPod, XM, Digital Suround Sound, Sub-woofer, and Bluetooth functions. The one thing that you need to keep in mind about an IVA-W200 install in the Volvo XC90 is that this is probably not something you want to tackle in an afternoon. Based on what I knew about the closed architecture of the XC90's stereo system, and knowing what I did not know about how to replace the factory stereo, I sent the XC90 to a professional installer. Following is a Cliff-Notes version of the install effort.<p>The first thing the installer did was try to find integration points where they could connect the IVA-W200 to the factory stereo. Guess what - there aren't any (integration points). I told them that going in, but they wanted to rule that out before going down the path of replacing the factory stereo. The next step was to remove the front seats, A-pillar trim (for routing the Bluetooth microphone), trim pieces around the D-pillar and the rear cover for the battery box. One item that emerged out of the removal of the A-pillar trim was that the left hand drain tube for the sunroof had been crushed closed from the factory - the trim piece had pressed the tube shut. Then the amplifiers (for subwoofer and surround sound) and navigation system control unit were mounted under the driver and passenger seats. The factory head unit was wrapped in foam and zip-tied out of the way. The factory CD player was removed and presently is sitting in a box. The IVA-W200 control unit (double DIN size) was mounted in the space that opened up with removal of the factory head unit and CD player. Martz makes a mounting unit for the XC90 that is presently single DIN sized, so some surgery was required to make it double DIN compatible. The one thing that could be re-cycled from the factory stereo installation was the speakers. The antennas for Navigation and XM radio were mounted on the rear part of the roof, just in front of the plastic panel at the extreme rear of the roof.<p>After everything was buttoned back together, the system really comes into its own. The iPod integration alone illustrates just how much of an embarassment the factory system really is (artist/title display, ability to control the iPod better than is available on the iPod itself, sound quality that is out of this world). Adding XM into the mix with full artist and title display was one further nail on the coffin of the Volvo factory system. The Alpine Navigation system is head and shoulders superior to what Volvo offers. This is really what Volvo SHOULD have offered. You can even play video DVDs (after putting the brakes on for safety) and connect a hitch-mounted video camera for a view where you are backing up.<p>In terms of the cost-benefit of the IVA-W200, it is competitive with a collection of dealer installed accessories (Navigation, Stereo upgrade, Bluetooth and iPod); add in the superior sound and integration and functional capabilities, and the IVA-W200 becomes a no-brainer if you are looking for a true high fidelity solution to the factory stereo system.<p>Net, net, the IVA-W200 is superior to what Volvo has offered or will offer in the future for the XC90.<p>Pictures will be following after I figure out Flicr.