This week in the shop we installed an Alpine X008U with Alpine’s KTX-ESD8 dash kit in a 2010 Cadillac Escalade.

The OEM 2007 – 2014 Cadillac Escalade navigation systems are known for being problematic.  Screens blacking out, loss of GPS signal and “MAP DVD Read Error” messages are just a few of the common problems, but consumers who go to their dealer may be shocked to find out a new OEM navigation system goes for $2495 plus install. Yikes. Alpine saw this as an opportunity to develop a pretty sweet Cadillac Escalade dash kit. You may recall seeing the Alpine Cadillac Escalade dash kit from my Alpine CES 2015 coverage.

Alpine KTX-ESD8 Cadillac Dash Kit
Alpine KTX-ESD8 Cadillac Dash Kit shown at CES 2015 with Alpine X008U

Compared to other aftermarket navigation options on the market, the Alpine X008U is really the only smart choice. Take a look at where Metra places the stereo in their Cadillac Escalade dash kit:

Metra Cadillac Escalade Navigation Kit
Metra Cadillac Escalade Navigation Kit

And remember this is what the car looked like from the factory:

Cadillac Escalade Navigation Dash
Cadillac Escalade Navigation Dash

Why Metra designed a dash kit that lowers the position of the touch screen is beyond me. They did the same thing with the 2013 – up Ford F-150 dash kit. I wouldn’t recommend that to any customer. People are distracted enough as it is with technology while driving. I really don’t want to encourage them to look down any more than they have to. By the way if you have a 2013 up Ford F-150 with the 4.3″ My Ford radio check out iDatalink’s new K150 dash kit here.

The point is, if you have a 2007 – 2014 Cadillac Escalade and your stock navigation system has crapped out, the Alpine X008U and KTX-ESD8 kit is the best aftermarket solution for your vehicle at this time. I wouldn’t feel good about selling another product to replace the Cadillac Escalade navigation system. The 8″ Alpine X008U fits perfectly in the dash and ships with almost everything you need. Take a peak:

Alpine X008-U installed in Cadillac Escalade with KTX-ESD8 dash kit
Alpine X008U installed in Cadillac Escalade with KTX-ESD8 dash kit

The dash kit is OEM fit and finish and includes the flush mounted USB, AUX and HDMI inputs. It also includes a Pac Audio interface to retain things like steering wheel controls, rear seat entertainment, Onstar, reverse camera and factory SiriusXM radio.

This is my only complaint.

For the customer with SiriusXM, that really likes and uses SiriusXM, it’s worth it to pay extra for the iDatalink Maestro interface. Here’s why. To access the factory SiriusXM using the Pac Audio interface you have to select AUX on the radio as your source (which means that flush mount AUX really isn’t functional because we’re using it for factory SiriusXM retention) and then you have to press and hold the “Source” button on the steering wheel to enable SiriusXM control.

Retaining SiriusXM with aftermarket stereo using Pac Audio
Retaining SiriusXM with aftermarket stereo using Pac Audio

Once you press and hold Source on the steering wheel controls you will hear a beep and see this pop up on your instrument cluster:

Retaining SiriusXM with Cadillac Escalade kit KTX-ESD8
Retaining SiriusXM with Cadillac Escalade kit KTX-ESD8

Then you can use your steering wheel controls to scroll through channels and presets. Your only display for SiriusXM is that instrument cluster display. All the while your $2100 Alpine stereo is displaying nothing other than “AUX” on it’s big beautiful 8″ touch screen.

SiriusXM retained Cadillac Escalade Alpine X008-U and KTX-ESD8
SiriusXM retained Cadillac Escalade Alpine X008U and KTX-ESD8

It’s definitely a bit confusing. It took me more than a couple minutes to figure out even after reading the instructions. After teaching it to the customer he opted to have us install the SXV300 SiriusXM tuner that would actually show up and be controlled on the Alpine X008U. All in all, I would have preferred to use the iDatalink Maestro interface and AVGM5 harness.

Alpine – Why didn’t you just include the iDatalink Maestro with your KTX-ESD8 Cadillac Escalade kit?

The iDatalink interface provides much better SiriusXM retention as it allows you on screen control and access of SiriusXM. Alpine ships this interface with some of their other Restyle kits so I really don’t know why they cheaped out on their Cadillac Escalade kit.

if Alpine would package this kit with the Maestro RR and AVGM5 then the Alpine X008U would display all of this SiriusXM information on screen:

  • Meta Data Display
  • Recall Presets
  • Store Presets
  • Direct Tuning
  • Channel Guide
  • Category Guide
  • Category Seek

Additionally, the iDatalink Maestro RR retains the park assist distance display on screen. The included Pac Audio interface just retains the audible warning chimes. Other cool perks of the iDatalink Maestro include vehicle information like:

  • Tire Pressure Monitor Display
  • Battery Voltage Display
  • Read and Reset Check Engine Codes
  • Door Open Status and Warning
  • User Selectable Gauges

Here’s what the SiriusXM control would look like if you used the iDatalink Maestro interface.

Alpine iDatalink Maestro
Alpine includes the iDatalink Maestro module in their X009-GM kit shown here.

Some of you may be wondering why I keep harping about the SiriusXM retention considering how I truly feel about SiriusXM, but at the end of the day I care mostly about my customer’s experience and I feel it’s in Alpine’s best interest to dump the Pac Audio interface and include the iDatalink module. Dealer cost and consumer retail are pretty much the same so I’m really not sure what their reasoning is behind it.

Have you installed the Alpine X008U in your Cadillac Escalade? What do you think of this Cadillac navigation replacement?

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  1. I have the 108u and the esd8 kit in front of me. After days of arguing, I’m putting the Maestro RR in. It’s integrated, has altered factory function of XM and everything works… EXCEPT volume/source/track on the SWC. Fact is its inferior, seriously inferior. If you notice a beautiful display with a host of diagnostics and real time data, your less than $200 away from it with this head unit and a maestro. That said, the dash kit is the best there is out. However, it bothers me. You can only run one USB input, yet they put a port on the face plate, when you already have one integrated from factory. So one or the other is dead. Give me a hard wire adapter to make it live power at least.

    Thank you all for the knowledge I gained prior.

    • Hey Justin – Thank you for the feedback! If you want to at least make that USB a power plug, Pac Audio has a nice high powered one, the IS4324. I think that’s because not all of them have the factory USB. I’m pretty certain the one I did was not equipped with the OEM USB port because I don’t recall that. I remember we did have a redundant aux input since we kept the RSE.

  2. I have a 2008 Escalade with a non nav 6 disc head unit, no back up camera. Can this unit have an aftermarket backup camera installed to display on the screen?


    • Not that I’m aware of. You could do something in the rear view mirror if you wanted to like this (scroll down for the Onstar compatible mirrors).

  3. Quick question – I have a 2008 Escalade with no bluetooth. Can this stereo add bluetooth to my Escalade or am I way off on this one? Thanks.

    • Hi Cory – yes this model comes with Bluetooth for handsfree calling and for audio streaming.

  4. I liked it at first but the ktx-esd8 is junk. Rear tv doesn’t work. If i touch the ktx box or hit a bump all my speakers buzz. The the i data link. I lost rear camera turing lines. Plus much more. I feel like i down graded the system. Tempted to return the whole thing and put the stock headunit back in.

    • Hey Tommy,
      Sounds like you have some bum equipment or some settings off. I did upgrade my customer to the iDatalink module instead of the included Pac Audio part, but mainly because I found it was a more user friendly interface. We didn’t have any buzzing issues, the rear seat DVD works and rear camera works (worked with either module). I don’t think the one we worked on was originally equipped with dynamic park assist lines from the factory, it was a 2010 so thank you for pointing that out! The Alpine does have standard fixed park guidance lines, however.

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