Meet the Alpine i209-WRA – combining the perfect mix of features and value

Although I couldn’t make it to CES 2017, I was excited to see that Alpine finally appears to have the right combination of features and price point with at least one of their two brand new 2011 and up Jeep Wrangler dedicated head units. The Alpine i209-WRA and X209-WRA are both scheduled for release April 2017.

**Edit – 9/27/17 – Don’t forget to check out my new post Alpine i209-WRA installed.

Alpine X209-WRA - Jeep Wrangler Head Unit 2017
Alpine X209-WRA – Jeep Wrangler Head Unit 2017

I think the bigger seller here, by far, will be the Alpine i209-WRA which is their new mechless 9″ stereo featuring Apple Carplay and Android Auto. Aside from being water resistant and dustproof*, this model adds a ton of features that were lacking in last year’s model i109-WRA such as:

  • iDatalink Maestro integration
  • SiriusXM capability (requires SXV300 tuner and possibly an iDatalink SAT1)
  • New high visibility WVGA capacitive touch screen
  • Bluetooth for handsfree calling and audio streaming
  • HD Radio
  • HDMI input**

*A note about the IP54 rating which is defined in two parts according to Wikipedia: Ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment; Water splashing against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effect. Having said that, it’s kind of like dropping your iPhone in the snow – pick it up, dry it off and it will survive, but you probably wouldn’t have the same luck if you submerged it in water for an extended period of time. It’s not entirely infallible to the elements, but can withstand a decent bout of dust and rain which is inevitable for Jeep Wrangler owners.

**Correction 2/8/17 – a previous publication of this article stated this model lacked an HDMI input. After receiving some conflicting information, Alpine has clarified and confirmed HDMI input is a feature of the i209-WRA.

So what’s the Alpine i209-WRA going to cost you?

All this can be yours at a retail price of $1999.95**. Keep in mind, Alpine wants that price to be a fully installed price. So let’s compare that to a fully installed price on something like Pioneer’s AVH-4200NEX or Kenwood’s DDX9703s.

Both models feature a 7″ touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, SiriusXM capability, HD radio, Bluetooth plus an on board DVD/CD Player (which the Alpine i209-WRA lacks). Both models come with a 1 year warranty when purchased from an authorized retailer.

When you add the iDatalink Maestro module, the Maestro harness, the FM/AM antenna adapter, the dash kit, the USB flush mount/retention adapter and installation you’re looking close to $1150 installed for either one.

Alpine i209-WRA Jeep Wrangler Head Unit 2017
Alpine i209-WRA Jeep Wrangler Head Unit 2017

Spend an extra $850 on the Alpine i209-WRA you’ll get:

  • A much larger 9″ screen
  • A water resistant and dust proof WGVA high visibility capacitive touch screen that is designed to be visible even in bright sun (a screen designed for the Jeep Wrangler environment)
  • 3 year warranty (I’m assuming on this one – that was a feature of previous models, I don’t see why they wouldn’t carry that forward)
  • Bragging rights

Want an on board GPS navigation and a DVD player too?  That’ll cost you.

Alpine takes it one step further with the next model up, the Alpine X209-WRA. With a suggested retail price of $3499.95***, the Alpine X209-WRA adds:

  • On board GPS navigation
  • CD/DVD Player
  • Dual Zone – (DVD output from in dash unit to rear seat entertainment option like headrest screens with wireless headphones for example)
  • Alpine Connect infotainment service and companion smartphone app featuring in-dash content from iHeartRadio, Yelp, Glympse, and Spotify

How well these models sell will certainly depend on the market. I can tell you in our area, I can see Jeep Wrangler owners making the $850 leap from a 7″ Kenwood or Pioneer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto head unit to the Alpine i209-WRA. I’m not so sure about the X209-WRA, but time will tell.

What do the Jeep Wrangler owner’s out there think? Which model would you be more inclined to install in your Jeep Wrangler? The i209-WRA or X209-WRA?

***I corrected this article 2/3/17 to reflect the minimum advertised price. The original article stated the price of the i209-WRA was $2200 and the price for the X209-WRA was $4000. Despite obtaining those prices from Alpine’s CES press release, the minimum advertised price for the i209-WRA is actually only $1999.95 and the minimum advertised price for the X209-WRA is $3499.95.

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  1. Hi Annie,
    I just wanted to give you and your readers a update regarding the Alpine head unit to the sPOD 8 circuit wiring system.
    I just received a e mail from John at sPOD about their joint project with Alpine that I mentioned in my earlier comment. The plug n play small box will work with Alpines KAC-001 accessory to work on up to 8 accessories like lights, compressors, cb’s, and so on. The magic box will be a available in about 3 or 4 weeks plus and the price will be forthcoming.
    You won’t need overhead toggle switches or have to use either sPOD’s 2 types of touch screens (LCD or Touch pad) models. The head units screen will take their place or they might work with the above mentioned switchs and touch screens, but I haven’t confirmed this with sPOD.
    Take care,

  2. Hi Annie. I just ordered my i209-wra and it will be here tomorrow. Looking forward to spending my Saturday removing my Kenwood DNX573s that I am not happy with and returning it to Best Buy. Does the i209 come with everything I need minus the Sirius module? Should I need anything else? Will a Pioneer backup camera work with the i209?

    • Hi John, I’m sorry for the belated reply. You probably found out it does come with everything you need other than the sat radio kit and that your Pioneer camera should work fine. I hope you’re enjoying the new stereo! Got any install pics to post? Here’s one we did recently.Alpine i209-WRA installed Jeep Wrangler - Sounds Incredible Mobile, Brookfield, CT.

  3. Hi Annie,

    Do you know if the x209-WRA has a harddrive or is the only way to play music is through my iphone via apple car play or an app like spotify? In my current vehicle I am able to plug in a thumb drive filled with my music into an indash USB and play all those songs. Or i can load songs on to the nav’s hard drive and play songs that way. Do you know if either of those were a possibility on these units?

    • Hi Travis, no built in hard drive, but the USB on either will read a few different media formats on a thumb drive like MP3, WMA, AAC, FLAC. Owner’s manual says limited to 512 MB and up to 10,000 files/folders (including root folder).

  4. Just an FYI, my X209-WRA shipped today!

  5. Hi Annie,

    Do you know if these system are setup to integrate with the Hard Rock Jeep Model which comes with the 9 Speaker Alpine stereo system already?

    • Hi Mike,
      Should be no problem – I think they’re putting that same 9 speaker Alpine system in other Jeep models and I know it’s compatible in those. When I check on iDatalink, the Maestro RR (the included module that retains the steering wheel controls and any stock amp if equipped) is compatible with stock stereo model numbers RBZ, REQ, REU, RHB, REN, RER, or RHR. The model number of your stock stereo should be printed in tiny print on the face of the radio.

      • Thanks for the quick reply Annie, will get mine ordered!

    • They will not work right because the Hard Rock system is set up at 2ohm while the X209 is a 4 ohm system. Once you change anything on the Hard Rock everything has to change. That’s where I’m stuck right now. The speakers are fine but the HU sucks.

      • Not true at all, the way the iDatalink module works is it allows us to use the stock amp so in this case impedance of the stock speakers doesn’t matter at all. The Maestro RR even gives us gain adjustments over the digital stock amp, it’s pretty cool. By the way I think every Jeep we’ve installed one of these Alpine restyle units had the stock amp and sub set up so speaking from experience here.

  6. Have you heard any updates about the release date for the i209-WRA? I see that a couple of websites are advertising early-August, but I haven’t been able to get anything from Alpine. Some of the big players like Crutchfield have even gone out of their way to take the item off of their website, but I’m not sure if that implies a longer delay or if they just don’t want a bunch of pre-orders piling up without a known release date.

    • Hi Rex, my Alpine rep just today told me they were starting to ship the i209-WRA’s, but I still see my order sitting marked “open” in our online Alpine dealer portal. I’ve asked him to clarify that statement and will post back when I have a response. I will note that sometimes Alpine will ship product on a Friday and I may not see it updated in their system until Monday or Tuesday.

    • Hi Rex, just found out my i209-WRA shipped yesterday. I think there still might be a small delay on the X209-WRA, but I’m not positive.

      • Awesome, hopefully mine will ship soon. Thanks for the update!

  7. Hi Annie,

    Your blog is really helpfull. Thank you.

  8. Hi Annie,
    Is the delay just for the i209-wra or is the X209 included? I ordered the X209, I know it’s pricy but I don’t have an iphone, I’m an android user. I use waze currently even though I have navigation but would love to integrate waze into the x209, is that possible? I brought the KAC-001 add on so that the Alpine can control the winch and hood lights. Can’t wait for the delivery, hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.

    • Hi Joe, yeah Apple is holding this up, not sure when they will allow release. Alpine said definitely this summer. With Android Auto you can use Google Maps. I heard that eventually Android wants to switch this over to Waze. You could always use the HDMI input to mirror Waze from your phone, but it just mirrors the audio and video, you still have to control everything from the phone itself. I agree, I hope it’s sooner than later!

  9. Hi Annie,
    I too, am waiting on the arrival of Alpines new Jeep JK X 209 WRA head unit that has me still unsure if I want to drop so much money on this “Big Screen”well thought out tool.
    From the available spec. info for a multi cam setup using the add on
    KCX-C250MC($145.) you would think that you can setup a 4 camera system (front, rear, right and left side view cameras) using 1 camera port on the head unit and 3 more on the adding KCX? I contacted Alpines tech department and was told that you can only run 3 cameras??
    The head unit also can run up to 8 accessories ( lights, air compressor and more) using the KAC-001 ($ 200 to $250 ) add on.
    Many Jeep owners are very familiar with sPOD’s 6 and 8 circuit electrical accessory switching systems that have served many, many on and off road enthusiasts for several years.
    This new Alpine unit will do the same thing, but unlike sPOD’s 8 circuit system that uses mofset permanent circuit breakers/fuses the KCA doesn’t.
    I contacted sPOD a couple months ago after reading about this new Alpine feature loaded JK head unit to see if my new SE edition 8 circuit w/led screen would be compatible with the Alpine? Josh e mailed me from sPOD and said that they were going to meet ( in a week or two )with Alpines engineers to see if it would be possible or if it would be a waste of time. Josh stated that the Alpine uses positive switching and the sPOD uses negative switching.
    I e mailed sPOD about 1 1/2 or 2 weeks ago for an update and Josh informed me that they are working on a solution to make this great head unit work with the equally great sPOD system.
    As I’m sure your aware of new and pending legislation regarding electronic equipment ( phones, gps, cameras and other screens ) and distracted drivers in some states that might put and end or severely restrict use of these types of devices. If these two products can be made compatible, it could make these new laws a non issue by eliminating the sPOD LCD screen and or toggle switches from the drivers field of view and a ticket or a possible accident!
    I hope this info will help you and your subscribers with some info that might help in the decision process.

    • Thank you for all that helpful info! Yeah, I’m surprised it could only run 3 cameras. Unless it’s like other brands where there is a dedicated front camera input and dedicated rear camera input and the KCX-C250MC just splits the dedicated rear into two side cameras and the rear camera? I’d have to see the back of the radio or the install guide to determine if that’s true or not.

  10. Hi Annie,
    Just wanted to give you and your readers a bit of news regarding the Alpine X209 WRA head unit and a very popular Jeep accessory the sPOD electrical 6 or 8 accessory switching systems.
    I contacted sPOD a couple months back to see if the the two units will work together? Alpines new unit has the ability to work with the same type of accessories as the sPOD does.
    I received an e mail from Josh at sPOD and he said that they had a meeting planned with Alpine that next week. I e mailed sPOD 2 weeks ago and Josh said that they were working on making the two product compatible. Josh informed me during my first e mail that the issue was the sPOD uses negative switching while the Alpine uses positive switching.
    This could be very beneficial for people living in states that have laws ( or future laws) that prohibit electronic devices (gps, phones, sPOD screens etc.) that may distract or obscure a drivers vision around the windshield area.
    Have a Great Fourth Weekend!! “Give thanks and remember all those who fought and continue to fight and die for this country”

  11. It seems like the prior versions (x009/i009 & x109/i109) were pretty different when it can to the software. The “x” had accessory control, sensor data, EVIC integration – very Jeep. The “i” was basically a CarPlay system. Now, if I’m reading stuff right, it seems like they are virtually the same, but the “x” has mechanicals and independent NAV. So the “x” can do CarPlay when you plug the phone in and the “i” can do accessories, EVIC, etc. Do I have that right?

    • Hi Sean, you got it right. Last year’s i109-WRA was really just an oversized iLX-007. Very limited in features and functionality. That’s why I feel like Alpine finally got it right this year. The i209-WRA has so much more to offer like the iDatalink Maestro integration (which gives you the on screen vehicle information like tire pressure, check/reset a check engine light error, etc). It’s also SiriusXM ready and has HD radio for FM/AM. The X209-WRA has the on board GPS navigation and the in dash DVD/CD player. Still waiting for them to ship though, last estimate I received from Alpine said mid June ship for end of month delivery, but I’m still waiting for shipment notification. Looks pretty cool though.

      • Heard any updates on the shipping time? I ordered mine back in March and the latest I heard from Alpine was that it would ship in early July for mid-July delivery.

      • Hi Rex, I’m curious, when did you talk to Alpine last? I talked to my rep this week and he sounded very uncertain, they wouldn’t give me specifics, just said still waiting on Apple and should be this summer.

      • Hi Annie,

        enjoying the blog and just got a jeep. any word on these being available yet? Is the bezel surround as silver as it looks or does it match the more gunmetal color in most jeeps?

      • I just found out the other day that’s it been delayed yet again by Apple. They were hoping to get them released this week, but Apple still hasn’t signed off yet. At this point my rep is simply saying it will be some time this summer 🙁 Same sort of thing happened to Kenwood last year. They had a March release date, got delayed by Apple and they ended up finally shipping in July so hopefully it will be something like that.

        I didn’t see the prototype at CES, but I think it’s designed to match the OEM trim. Like my 2014 Wrangler has a gun metalish silver trim around the A/C vents so I’m guessing it will have that appearance and texture to it.

  12. Probably the i209, although I wonder if there’s a simpler solution for a Wrangler. Really I’m just looking for something with decent sound that lets me use Waze from my iPhone.

    • Hi Bruce – there is a way to use Waze with iPhones with certain Pioneer double din stereos – basically all AVH models that feature App Radio One connection. For example, it will work with the AVH-X2800BS. You need to uses an app called App Radio Live and standard USB to lightning cable. It’s not as seamless and intuitive to set up as Apple CarPlay, but it’s not that difficult to get going and control from the screen. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll ever see Waze integrated through CarPlay since Google owns Waze.

  13. I am leaning more towards the i209. $4000 seems a bit absurd. Jeep owners spend a lot on their jeeps so every purchase is calculated. That $2000 difference I could get new tires or something.

    • Thank you for the feedback. I agree, I think the non navigation model will outsell the more expensive nav model 4 to 1.

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