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I am considering buying a 2019 RTL-E but the look of the all-touch head unit kind of puts me off, specifically those interface "buttons" on the left. I feel like a physical volume/off button on a radio is a BIG plus it would be a shame to "give that up," but having Android Auto is on my "want" list. I am no hurry to buy and I wonder if the head unit with the button will migrate from the newer Pilot models to the Ridgeline in 2020.

For those who have this head unit - how is on a day to day basis?
 

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For those who have this head unit - how is on a day to day basis?
As with most things, you adapt and get happy with it (because the 2019 RTL-E is just so damned good overall).

For me the steering wheel volume control is handy and rapid enough once I got used to defaulting to using it (a minor and quickly learned change of habit).

For me the presence / absence of an analog volume knob certainly fell so far down the list of 'determining features and factors' that it ultimately played no role in my trim-level or 'buy 2019 / wait for 2020' buying decision. There's simply too many other factors that carry more weight in those decisions.

I'm 100% confident that IF I suffer '2019 remorse' when the 2020 finally comes out and all is known about it …. the remorse is not going to be because of a volume knob.

One man's opinion, YMMV. :)
 

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I am considering buying a 2019 RTL-E but the look of the all-touch head unit kind of puts me off, specifically those interface "buttons" on the left. I feel like a physical volume/off button on a radio is a BIG plus it would be a shame to "give that up," but having Android Auto is on my "want" list. I am no hurry to buy and I wonder if the head unit with the button will migrate from the newer Pilot models to the Ridgeline in 2020.

For those who have this head unit - how is on a day to day basis?
After a few weeks all I use is the steering volume button. I use Apples Car Play 90% of the time. It’s a much cleaner interface. Take the time to get to know the unit and you won’t mind it at all.
 

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I suspect that if it is one of few vehicles you drive, you will quickly get used to it and it won't be an issue. If you drive a lot of different vehicles, like car reviewers do, then you may dislike the alternative interface.

The 2020 G2 will almost certainly have the volume knob. Honda has acknowledged that it was likely not a good decision to lose the knob. However, i don't think the single-knob interface is much better. It lacks elegance and symmetry. A dual-knob system would look so much better, but those knobs cost money....
 

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Thanks for everyone's input! I rented a 2019 Sport on Turo earlier this month and "test drove" over the weekend, so I certainly love everything else the truck has to offer (even at lower trims). I am just unconventional a when it comes to big purchases and get real focused on optimizing my bang for the buck, not to mention I am very tech and spec focused - hence focus on something as silly as a radio knob.

I didn't think of the steering controls, so thanks for mentioning that. How are the touch buttons on the side of the radio anyway?
 

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I personally never got what the Knob issue was, the steering wheel controls work well. That being said, I think the 2020's will go back to a knob because Honda heard that complaint where as they are deaf on a locking tailgate (and a few other items).

Don't let a knob get in the way of you owning a really great truck/sedan with a bed, or what ever you want to call it.... It's a great vehicle.
 

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...because Honda heard that complaint where as they are deaf on a locking tailgate (and a few other items)...
That was the other thing I wanted to learn more about. Is there a list of common "shortcomings" with the recent models? Are there common modifications 2nd gen owners do (I know the longer rear door linkage is one)?
 

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I didn't think of the steering controls, so thanks for mentioning that. How are the touch buttons on the side of the radio anyway?
They do the job just fine. One thing to keep in mind is that there's an 'alternate control' for almost everything - E.g. steering wheel buttons, and on the RTL-E / -BE (and maybe -T, I'm not sure) there's also voice command (my preference for lots of things).

Also worth noting that with the -T and-up trims there's many more options available for customizing features like touchscreen sensitivity and the amount of prompting/feedback the system provides, both which can be tailored to streamline the actions as you get familiar with it all. IOW, there's more opportunity to "optimize" the vehicle to your preferences with the upper-trims.

It can take a bit of hands-on exploration to figure out what method fits you best for each action, but IME that's a reasonably quick learning curve and your preferences soon become second nature.

FYI the 'full' manuals for both the vehicle and NAV system (much more comprehensive than the paper 'guides' you get with delivery of your vehicle) can be downloaded from the Honda Owner Site by anyone, anytime. Those cover the customizing options and voice commands in great detail. Upon purchase you can get those full comprehensive manuals free as paper hard copies, but you must request within 6 months of new purchase and furnish your VIN (again via Owners website).
 

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I will note that the touch sensitivity of the screen in the default setting was not satisfactory to me. It’s much better to set it at the higher/highest sensitivity in my opinion (which was easily changed in the vehicle settings).

Just know that if it wasn’t great at the showroom floor, it can be adjusted.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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We lost the knob when we got our 2016 Accord so going to the RL from my 2011 Pilot was not that big of a deal. My phone is tethered via BT so when I do get a call, it auto mutes the music. The steering wheel controls work just fine for me and as others have stated the ability to adjust the settings of the display go a long way. Other than that my nit picks are with Car Play and learning how to set up apps so they do not auto launch when you plug in, that and keeping a micro fiber cloth handy to wipe down the display. Pull down the online manuals and dive in to customizing to suite your taste
 

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Twenty years ago, I bought a 1999 Regal which was my first vehicle with steering wheel controls. Although the radio had a volume knob, I almost always used the volume buttons on the steering wheel - a behavior which continued with subsequent vehicles. A 2016 CR-V was my first vehicle without a volume knob. Actually, no it wasn't - I had a '94 Escort and '95 Probe that had volume buttons only on the radio. I'm accustomed to adjusting volume many different ways and while I have a slight preference for a rotary volume knob, it's something I rarely give any though to.

I find the graphics and interface on the Ridgeline's Display Audio system to be rather plain and dated, but I'll take that over the plethora of bugs that have been present in the newer systems in the Odyssey, Pilot, Passport, and RDX - the latter of which I found to be extremely buggy. It's like having to choose between a runway model with a horrible attitude or a person of modest looks who is compassionate, caring, and giving.

I tend not to fiddle with infotainment systems very often, so my interaction is limited. Since iOS 13 was released last week, I've been really enjoying listening to music, podcasts, and navigating using Apple CarPlay and been completely reliable so far. The only problem I can recall right of hand is that the Truck Bed Audio on my 2019 will "stick" on requiring me to drive the truck more than 9 MPH to turn it off. My 2017 didn't do this.
 

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That was the other thing I wanted to learn more about. Is there a list of common "shortcomings" with the recent models? Are there common modifications 2nd gen owners do (I know the longer rear door linkage is one)?
You need to rent one and try it out before purchasing.

If I'm honest, I absolutely love the vehicle itself, but am very disappointed with the driver technology features of the RTL-E. At this point, I've disabled practically everything I paid extra for with the "-E". If the AWD Sport would have come with forward collision, then I'd be happy with that model.

The stereo drives me nuts with the slow response time, but I've learned to mainly use XM Radio. However, I have to stick to presets and use the steering wheel controls because it is very difficult to hit the channel forward "button"/screen at freeway speeds. Changing to normal radio or any other function is a 10 second delay. Usually when I'm driving and paying attention to the road, it takes me 2 tries to hit the right spot on the touchscreen.

Another note is that the Android phone must be plugged into the USB port for Android Play, only it is a low power outlet that won't charge my phone faster than it drains. It won't connect via Bluetooth, so you can't use a different charger for more power. The highest power outlets are actually for the rear seats.

I won't get into everything I don't like about the car's technology, but I never realized any of it during test drives. It came from owning the car for a few weeks.
 

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My biggest complaint about the nav radio is the slow to boot time and slow to respond source button. The slow to boot is not a normal problem, but when I forget to turn the volume down and kids are getting in I might blast their ears out before I can turn the volume down. The source button is soooooo slooooow when I want to switch between FM and Bluetooth, I bet that wont be a problem for you if you are going to be using android auto and keeping it there.

Volume control could obviously be better, but it isn't the end of the world. I would prefer to see a mute button on the side instead of the brightness mode setting, but that's too much to ask. We have to turn out volume up or down to get the volume "menu" to appear, then we get an option for mute which goes away after a second or two. At least it is just a tap of the screen (or steering wheel control) to return volume.
 

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My biggest complaint about the nav radio is the slow to boot time and slow to respond source button. The slow to boot is not a normal problem, but when I forget to turn the volume down and kids are getting in I might blast their ears out before I can turn the volume down. The source button is soooooo slooooow when I want to switch between FM and Bluetooth, I bet that wont be a problem for you if you are going to be using android auto and keeping it there.

Volume control could obviously be better, but it isn't the end of the world. I would prefer to see a mute button on the side instead of the brightness mode setting, but that's too much to ask. We have to turn out volume up or down to get the volume "menu" to appear, then we get an option for mute which goes away after a second or two. At least it is just a tap of the screen (or steering wheel control) to return volume.
Just touch the power button and voila - mute! Touch it again - unmute!
 

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I agree if it's even possible to rent a RL at all it would be a good idea. And you'd need at least a week to figure out if it's for you or not.
That's the problem in general with buying big expensive things. You don't know if you'll have to suffer with the safety features that are very annoying or whether they work perfectly. Take for example the current rental 2019 Rogue SV that I'm driving. I previously had a Rogue SL that i was very very impressed with the self/auto driving characteristics of it. It was really a good design that seemed like the best of the ones I've driven with that feature. It could hold a line in traffic almost perfectly, it could literally stop the car and start moving again in downtown Toronto traffic jams and with a slight turn of the wheel onto the off ramp it could even navigate itself till the last minute when i had to take over for lane chanes to the hotel. It was darn impressive. But, this one the SV version and in 2019 it appears they added to standard installation on all Rogues (base included) the "surround" feature whereby it watches front and rear, the traffic and stopped cars along with pedestrians etc... and while it seems like a good idea in implementation after driving it now for over a week I've found it annoying and unfriendly. Last Saturday the wife and i went to a Cancer event and while backing the car out of the parking spot it suddenly SLAMMED on the brakes and stopped cold. It had "seen" that there was a car behind me in a parking spot and decided for me that i was too close or moving too fast towards it or something and slammed the brakes on. This is the type of behavior that turns people off to anything nanny. It seems to me that they sometimes over compensate for human failures when driving with safety features that are on the "safe" side of the programming equation. Like we the people can't take responsibility for our actions. And this is the future. Watch out here it comes!

I'll add some radio comments along with this rental too. I've found a number of the rentals that have issues with the Bluetooth connections. We on the RL group complain about the Bluetooths not working correctly but the truth is they don't work that well on many of the rental cars I drive. No matter the make or models. So it's probably more complicated in why they don't all work right. Since Saturday or so I've been experiencing weird issues with my Iphone 8. I have Bluetooth hearing aids and a Bluetooth watch along with all the Bluetooth car connections on my phone. And since the 13.1 Iphone update it's all been acting even weirder than normal. I've tried resetting some of them and tried rebooting at times too but what happens is suddenly the connection will change from one to another just while driving down the road or something else like changing the source from Sirrius to Iphone music. Or it just changes for no reason at all. It seems to me that 13.1 has possibly added some new quirks to the whole mix. Time will tell as i use it in my own RL2 as well. Just not for a few weeks yet.

Steve

You need to rent one and try it out before purchasing.

If I'm honest, I absolutely love the vehicle itself, but am very disappointed with the driver technology features of the RTL-E. At this point, I've disabled practically everything I paid extra for with the "-E". If the AWD Sport would have come with forward collision, then I'd be happy with that model.

The stereo drives me nuts with the slow response time, but I've learned to mainly use XM Radio. However, I have to stick to presets and use the steering wheel controls because it is very difficult to hit the channel forward "button"/screen at freeway speeds. Changing to normal radio or any other function is a 10 second delay. Usually when I'm driving and paying attention to the road, it takes me 2 tries to hit the right spot on the touchscreen.

Another note is that the Android phone must be plugged into the USB port for Android Play, only it is a low power outlet that won't charge my phone faster than it drains. It won't connect via Bluetooth, so you can't use a different charger for more power. The highest power outlets are actually for the rear seats.

I won't get into everything I don't like about the car's technology, but I never realized any of it during test drives. It came from owning the car for a few weeks.
 

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After 5 months of ownership, I've gotten used to the touch controls and have no concerns; I use the wheel as well as the screen controls. IMHO the head unit on the -E overall is pretty good in terms of performance. With simple speaker upgrades I really like the sound quality I have. I use Carplay almost all the time. At this point the '20s have to be here soon though......or do they?
 

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I purchased an RTL specifically because of the complaints I'd heard about the touch screen radio. Much more research later and I'm thoroughly enjoying my Sony touch screen (with volume knob) and upgraded components. I have no desire for, nor do I miss, the other various driver nannies included on the higher end models.
 

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I have a Black Edition and you do get used to the touch screen. That said, I'd love to replace it with an aftermarket unit. What's the point of app pages that you cannot install apps on? The audio quality is not as good as I would like. Outdated MP3 integration. It just feels half done. Like they took "form" over "function".
 

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I'm going to be picking up my RTL-E today! I am aware of many of these drawback with both the touchscreen and the overly aggressive nanny controls. As always, "we'll see".

I do have one question already - is there any way in Carplay (which I think I will prefer for navigating) to listen to FM radio? I am lucky to live where there are actually 2 really good ones. I see "I Heart Radio" as a music service, but needing to pay for something that the head unit can already do seems... nuts.

Maybe I need a dime store radio and actually run the aux in? Can you even do that while Carplay is running?
 

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I was already used to steering wheel controls from my 2012 Outback so it was an easy transition for me. Once you get used to steering wheel controls my guess is that it will be all you ever use. At least it was for me.
 
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