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Hey all! I will be getting my car in a few days! Its a 2012 with 90k with the inline 4. When I get the car I will be sure to take pics. I got a couple of questions. Im going to replace the stock stereo with something nicer. I know its the non Bose system. I test drove an 08 and thought it didn't sound bad. I am planning on redoing the head unit and speakers. Is it worth replacing the speakers? Should I just do the head unit? I really want apple car play. I know the head unit I would like to get does not have a lot of power.. About 16W. If I go with a 4ch amp, where would you guys recommend I put it? I also have a sub and amp for the trunk. What are your thoughts? What are some common mods that people usually do their cars? What are some small performance mods? Maybe cosmetic? Thanks!!!

-Ty
68990
 

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2012 Malibu 2LT Switchblade Silver Metallic
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Welcome to the Malibu! You're gonna love it! I actually did something very similar to what you're trying to do, and I love it! Some things to note that came to mind while I read over this...

If you want to retain the factory stuff, such as chimes and OnStar, that harness you have is about the only way to do it. Unfortunately, it doesn't support AMPs according to the documentation. It also doesn't support crossovers as far as I know, unless it's only certain crossovers it doesn't like. I tried a JBL crossover, and it didn't work once the headunit power cycled. Inline crossovers work though, so you can throw them on the tweeters so you don't blow them!
Also, that headunit is a resistive touchscreen. Basically, what that means is it uses the same technology as the old GPS screens. Scrolling....doesn't work, to say the least.
My recommendation would be to go with the Sony XAV-AX7000 for the headunit instead. I've got the 5000 now, but totally would've gotten the 7000 if it was out when I did it. They both have a capacitive touch screen (basically the same as a phone), and the 7000 can do 45w RMS per the 4 channels. Plus, I like that Sony sticks with the matte grey look, it helps keep the stock look in my opinion. The 7000 will run you about $498 on Crutchfield right now, so it'll be more expensive, but you'll get both the amp, and the headunit in one then, so it should be about the same cost wise. Plus, less wiring! Also to note, if you do the AX7000, it only has a mono output for the sub, so if your sub amp is a stereo amp, you'll have to get a mono to stereo adapter to take full advantage of the sub. I think I got one for $10 on Amazon.
As for the speakers, that's all gonna be personal preference as to the sound you want from the system.
That's just my own two cents though!

As for any other mods, I'm wrapping up my personal long term project, I'm working on converting my '12 2LT to an LTZ, but I'm not too familiar with what performance mods people do, so I'll leave that to some members that are a bit more familiar with those! But yeah! Have fun with it, and don't hesitate to ask if you've got any other questions!
 

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2017 SS Sedan 6.2L
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Welcome to the site! I've seen several double din head unit replacements in the Malibu and they add great functionality to the stereo system. Makes the interior look a lot more modern, too.

The gen 7 with the 4-cylinder engine is not mod friendly. Unless you're really hands on and willing to pay for a custom tune job, most people are better off just keeping up on good maintenance practices.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Welcome to the site! I've seen several double din head unit replacements in the Malibu and they add great functionality to the stereo system. Makes the interior look a lot more modern, too.

The gen 7 with the 4-cylinder engine is not mod friendly. Unless you're really hands on and willing to pay for a custom tune job, most people are better off just keeping up on good maintenance practices.
Welcome to the Malibu! You're gonna love it! I actually did something very similar to what you're trying to do, and I love it! Some things to note that came to mind while I read over this...

If you want to retain the factory stuff, such as chimes and OnStar, that harness you have is about the only way to do it. Unfortunately, it doesn't support AMPs according to the documentation. It also doesn't support crossovers as far as I know, unless it's only certain crossovers it doesn't like. I tried a JBL crossover, and it didn't work once the headunit power cycled. Inline crossovers work though, so you can throw them on the tweeters so you don't blow them!
Also, that headunit is a resistive touchscreen. Basically, what that means is it uses the same technology as the old GPS screens. Scrolling....doesn't work, to say the least.
My recommendation would be to go with the Sony XAV-AX7000 for the headunit instead. I've got the 5000 now, but totally would've gotten the 7000 if it was out when I did it. They both have a capacitive touch screen (basically the same as a phone), and the 7000 can do 45w RMS per the 4 channels. Plus, I like that Sony sticks with the matte grey look, it helps keep the stock look in my opinion. The 7000 will run you about $498 on Crutchfield right now, so it'll be more expensive, but you'll get both the amp, and the headunit in one then, so it should be about the same cost wise. Plus, less wiring! Also to note, if you do the AX7000, it only has a mono output for the sub, so if your sub amp is a stereo amp, you'll have to get a mono to stereo adapter to take full advantage of the sub. I think I got one for $10 on Amazon.
As for the speakers, that's all gonna be personal preference as to the sound you want from the system.
That's just my own two cents though!

As for any other mods, I'm wrapping up my personal long term project, I'm working on converting my '12 2LT to an LTZ, but I'm not too familiar with what performance mods people do, so I'll leave that to some members that are a bit more familiar with those! But yeah! Have fun with it, and don't hesitate to ask if you've got any other questions!
Thank you guys!!! Im hoping to have it soon! Car only has about 80k and was garage kept. I think I am just going to do a head unit swap for now and see where I am. Ill get the sub installed too since I already have it. Now.... this is kinda crazy but I am thinking of tinting my windows anddd.... Blue under glow to match the color of the car and maybe some interior lighting too. Nothing too fancy just adding a little style.
 

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I would definitely replace the speakers, the stock driver side front speaker goes out in the cold, this is a common issue. Cosmetic, i would just do wheels and lowering springs to keep it simple. There are a couple companies that make coilovers specifically for our car like Ceika and Gecko Racing but if it were me I would not spend 1/4 of my cars value in suspension lol. If you do any exhaust mods, don't do it before the secondary cat or you'll be running into problems.
 
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