Following the trend of shipping next year’s models early, Kenwood is delivering some of its entry-level car radios this month.
An Excelon model KDC-X497 includes built-in HD Radio with iTunes tagging via a dedicated button located near the volume control. It works with Pandora on an iPhone and has a scrolling text display to identify HD Radio broadcasts. Suggested retail price is $210.
A step-down model is the KDC-X397 ($160) which offers SiriusXM compatibility and full Pandora playback from an iPhone but it does not have HD Radio. It is compatible with a steering wheel control interface and has 4.0 volt preamp outputs.
Four additional Kenwood models are now available at suggested retail prices from $110 to $200.
The top model of the group is the KDC-HD455U with built-in HD Radio, and iTunes tagging with a dedicated button at $200. A step down model is the most cost effective satellite radio-compatible model in the line, the KDC-355U. It has iPod/iPhone/Android smartphone connectivity and Pandora control on an iPhone. It also gives you steering wheel control capability and 4.0 volt preamp outputs at $160.
Also new is a KDC-255U which has most of the features of the 355U except for satellite radio capability and steering wheel interface capability. Plus it has a single preamp output.
The leader model is the KDC-155U ($110) which is similar to the 255U but it has a fixed red illumination display rather than the variable color displays found on some of the step up models.