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ON THE ROAD WITH XM RADIO

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Mon, Nov 17, 2003

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

Delphi's all-in-one Roady satellite radio system in sky blue mode

A Rolling Road Report: Delphi XM Roady

ON THE ROAD WITH XM RADIO By ROY NAKANO

LA CAR has reviewed a number of cars factory-fitted with satellite radio systems, and we enjoyed them all. Most recently, it was an XM Radio-equipped Cadillac Escalade ESV that we had the pleasure to listen to. The clean, distortion-free CD-like sound quality, coupled with the vast selection of stations (100 - ranging from comedy to news to television programs to just about every kind of music genre you can think of) always makes the ride just that much more enjoyable with satellite radio. We always wanted to try an aftermarket satellite radio system, but were put off by all the nickel and dime parts needed to assemble it, and ultimately by its total price.

Delphi has introduced an aftermarket system that addresses both concerns. It's called the XM Roady, and comes fully-equipped will the parts one needs to enjoy satellite radio: XM receiver, cassette adaptor, cigarette lighter power adaptor, and micro-antenna. Best of all, the whole package sells for only $119.99. This was enough for us to take the initiative to acquire one for long-term use.

Delphi's micro-antenna on the trunk of the Passat

Driver's Log, Day 1 The micro-antenna is magnetic, so it secures itself to the trunk of our long-term Passat without the need for adhesives or drilling. The antenna wire is easy to feed trough the trunk pass, into the back seat seams, under the floor mats, and under the front seat. The Roady comes with an assortment of mounting paraphernalia. The receiver fits conveniently into the slot in the dashboard, with the aid of a coin purse. After hooking up the cables, we plug in the power adaptor. Total installation time: 30 minutes(!). Now that we know how to do it, we can probably do the next installation in five minutes.

XM Roady in night blue

Driver's Log, Day 14 There are seven display colors, and only now do we realize that one of the colors - night blue - is a perfect match to the Volkswagen blue that lights up the instruments of Passats, Jettas, New Beetles, et al. We use a cloth glove to hide the unit, since the Roady's gleaming silver visual presence is otherwise too tempting for would-be thieves.

Driver's Log, Day 28 The Roady doesn't have quite the same sound quality that we've experienced with dedicated satellite radio systems, like that in the aforementioned Cadillac Escalade ESV. It lacks the delicate treble detail of the latter. However, it still has a CD-like quality to it - no crosstalk, no static, and no fading signal (except under bridges and in buildings). Regular FM radio and CDs get played less-and-less. Every now and then, we switch to AM radio to hear the traffic report. Driver's Log, Summary We predict that the Roady's all-in-one approach will impact satellite radio in a big way. First, it will force manufacturer to bring the price of hardware down. Second, it will spawn a number of all-in-one copy cats. We are all for it. Finally, satellite radio comes to the masses..

For more information on XM radio, go to the XM Radio homepage. For the definitive XM sateliite radio forum, go to XMFan.com. For the definitive Sirius satellite radio forum, go to Sirius Backstage.

SIDEBAR: CADILLAC ESCALADE's XM RADIO SYSTEM

Cadillac Escalade ESV

The Cadillac Escalade may be quite the fashion statement among some rap stars, but the abundance of plastic panels and fake wood scream "Chevy Suburban" in the cabin of our extended wheelbase ESV. The mighty 6.0 liter, 345-hp V8 moves the mass quite well, and the four-channel active control StabiliTrak stability enhancement system keeps the Escalade relatively sure-footed around turns. Still, there's no getting around the fact that this vehicle feels and drives like a truck - albeit a pretty plush truck.

On the other hand, the Escalade's standard XM satellite radio never failed to keep us entertained (as they say on The Iron Chef, "always a pleasure"). XM offers 70 music channels, plus 30 channels of news, talk, sports and entertainment. Cadillac provides the hardware. You have to provide the monthly subscription fee of $9.99. In our opinion, it's well worth it to be able to enjoy the virtually endless genres of music and entertainment offered, including more than one 24-hour comedy station and many commercial-free channels through the static and distortion-free venue of satellite radio. - Roy Nakano Cadillac Escalade ESV audio features: Premium Bose® digital music system AudioPilot® 6-disc CD changer 9 speakers XM satellite radio

Company Information: Cadillac Motor Division, General Motors

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