New Alpine Jeep Stereo Models for 2022
Alpine recently announced two new Jeep Wrangler specific models for 2022: the i509-WRA-JL and the i509-WRA-JK. These two models are very similar to their predecessors, the X409-WRA-JL and X409-WRA-JK, but with some key differences.
Although I’ve always been a fan of the X409-WRA-JL, there were several features missing and others that could have been executed better. Thankfully, Alpine appears to have listened to the community and addressed a lot of the pet peeves many users and dealers had with their X409 series. I’m eagerly awaiting arrival of these two new models. Once received, an i509-WRA-JL will promptly be installed in our 2019 Wrangler (currently has a Stinger HEIGH10 which I’ve discovered through testing is not truly 4 volt as advertised – see here).
Optional GPS navigation
I’m always the first to tell clients not to pay for features they won’t use or need. Put that money towards better quality speakers, amps, subs, sound dampening, etc. That’s why I’m super stoked about is the OPTIONAL GPS navigation with off road maps. This helps to cut down on costs for features that may be of no benefit to some and allow those that see the value in sat based GPS to go ahead and pay for it.
Two USB ports because two is better than one
Both the i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK feature dual USB ports. When you’re spending over $2k on a head unit you kind of expect more than one USB. This was a major complaint of ours with the X409-WRA-JL. Some of us like to use Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but some of us are in areas without consistent or reliable cell service and we don’t always store music on our phone.
We have a USB stick loaded up with music for those times that we’re out of range. With two USB ports you can have both devices connected and easily switch sources on the radio rather than fumbling around while driving as you attempt to disconnect one device and connect another. Having said, that there is one important thing to note – if you do go for the optional GPS (KTX-NS01) it will occupy that secondary USB port. But that might be resolved with the next feature.
Wireless CarPlay and Android Auto – finally
The other expectation many of our clients had with their X409-WRA-JK and X409-WRA-JL is that these models should have been equipped with a wireless option for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Most were shocked it wasn’t a standard feature, again, when considering the price – and that shock was before the inflation and shrinkflation of 2021 descended upon our nation. We’re happy to see this sought after feature is included with the i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK.
The 9″ capacitive screen found on the X409-WRA-JL and the X409-WRA-JK was definitely a great screen. We had no complaints. We never had any trouble seeing it in bright glare and we drive exclusively with the top off as long as it’s not raining from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Yet, there is always room for improvement, right? The i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK are equipped with a higher resolution touch screen with 4x the resolution of the previous models. The new models feature a WXGA High-Resolution, Anti-Glare Display (1280 x 720).
Improved DAC and a LOT more audio control features
The i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK are loaded up with two types of EQ control. Users can select from a basic 5-band EQ – similar to what we see in the iLX-407 – OR you can really sink your teeth into the details using the glorious 13-band parametric EQ – and check this out, that’s per channel!!!
No need for a separate DSP with that kind of control. In addition to the 13 band parametric EQ, there are also all the standard audio features one would expect such as digital time alignment and built in crossovers for front, rear and subwoofer. Plus with the improved DAC, these new Alpine Jeep models for 2022 are capable of high resolution audio playback at 96 kHz/24 bit.
What’s not to love?
Edited – 4-9-22
My only complaint based on features/specs thus far is the camera situation. The i509-WRA-JL and i509-WRA-JK still only have two composite camera inputs. One of these inputs is going to be used to retain the OEM camera in the JL or to add a reverse camera in the JK. If you’re looking to add a front camera as well, you’re good, but if you want side cameras too, then you’ll need some type of external video switcher. This could be either something that is turn signal activated or something with a separate activation button kind of like the what you see with Alpine’s HDR cameras in the video below.
If you’re considering adding cameras to this kit, it’s a good idea to consider HDR cameras due to the screen size and resolution. When you take a basic reverse camera and connect it to a large, high resolution screen, the reverse camera image can get kind of washed out. This product design kind of forces you to go big or go home which I can appreciate, but sometimes it’s difficult explaining that to clients. I find seeing it in action, makes it easier to understand why. Just look at this comparison between a Kenwood HD camera and the OEM reverse camera in this 2018 CRV. It’s easy to see why the HD cameras are most costly, they’re much higher quality.
How much and when?
Pricing is always subject to change lately, but as of publishing time, the i509-WRA-JL will set you back $2,399.95 and the i509-WRA-JK set you back $2,199.95 – plus installation of course. Both models are considered a March 2022 release. When will they actually begin to ship? Only time will tell. I’ve got mine on order and once installed, I will make a follow up post and video. What do you Wrangler owners think of these new Alpine Jeep models for 2022? Are they worth the splurge?