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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Intro

I have been using the Compass-Nav system for a couple months now so I wanted to take some time to write an honest review of my experience. I hope this review will give a nice overview of my experience from purchase to install and of course, use. Around late October 2013 I was browsing Hyundai-forums.com and I discovered that there were a few companies offering a solution that took your existing factory radio and expanded on the features while maintaining all the factory features I had come to enjoy. The first one I found was Unavi and I had sent an email to them to enquire on price/available but never did receive an email back from them. After doing some more research I found Compass-Nav which is based in Quebec, Canada. I also live in Canada so not having to pay extra in customs and brokerage charges was a good incentive for me to order from Compass-Nav versus the other options.

Purchase

I emailed Compass-Nav and didn’t get a reply for about three days. When I got a reply, Charles, the owner of the company apologized for the delay (they were busy at the SEMA show) and then after verifying my trim level promptly got me a quote. I also asked him for an installation manual so I could see what was involved prior to modifying my vehicle. I was happy to find out that there is no requirement to cut the existing wiring, which is something I really didn’t want to do on a one year old vehicle.

The pricing Charles gave me appeared to be competitive with the market and after searching the web for any possible information and reviews I could find I decided to go ahead and order it as well as a backup camera. Charles came back with an updated quote for the new unit and backup camera (he bills in US Dollars so the value changed a bit based on the current exchange rate in Canada) but he didn’t have the backup camera in stock. Charles told me they would be in next week and would adjust the total invoice if the price went down due to the exchange rate, which it did. The item was shipped via Canada Post Expedited Parcel so it took almost a week to get to me but the shipping charges were reasonable.

Installation

The first step of installation of the Compass-Nav system was removing the existing radio. The instructions Charles provided for removal were clear and I had the existing radio out in about 10 minutes. I took the existing radio inside and began to modify it for use with the new system. Essentially what you do is remove the existing face, change over the side mounting brackets and plug the ribbon cable that went to old face into a small box that will later interface with the Compass-Nav face. There was a little bit of confusion because the manual picture showed a replacement front bracket that was the same size as the old radio, whereas I was shipped one that was about half that size. The half-sized bracket still worked fine and a full sized one would have been unnecessary but because the manual didn’t match up I was confused. Swapping all the parts over took about an hour but I was taking my time.

The next part was the installation into the vehicle. You need to run a cable from the radio area to the glove box for the SD card and USB port box. The manual stated to drill a hole in the back of the glove box that was large enough to pass the connector through. I did that and ran the cable the way the manual described and mounted the box on the inside sidewall with double sided tape. It became quickly apparent the cable would not be long enough to have the SD Card/USB box installed inside the glove box part that swings out. With the cable connected to the Compass-Nav system it was impossible for me to open my glove box. I emailed Charles regarding this and he advised me that the manual is wrong and you actually need to mount it on the top wall behind the glove box. I went and tried that but the glove box wouldn’t close because there is no clearance. After another email he told me that I would need to cut away some of the back side of the glove box. I had already drilled a hole I didn’t need so I was hesitant to cut way more of the glove box for fear of it looking terrible. I still haven’t cut that away and just have the box stuffed behind the glove box. I’m not sure I will ended up cutting that part away for reasons that will be explained further down.

The rest of the installation went okay. You just plug in a patch cord between the existing factory harness and the factory radio. The wires that the Compass-Nav needs are brought out so no splicing is required. When I first powered it on, my steering wheel controls were not working. I traced that problem back to a wire that wasn’t hooked up. I couldn’t find where in the manual it told you to hook it up, maybe it was supposed to come hooked up already but got disconnected when I was doing the install. The hardest part of the install is that there are a lot of wires to tuck away behind the Compass-Nav but once you get them tucked away the new screen pops in nicely and looks very much like a factory installation. My other gripe with the installation, especially when it came to the backup camera, is that the some of the pictures and descriptions seemed like they were from a Santa Fe instead of a Tucson. Most of it was the same but there were some small differences that caused some confusion.

Functionality / Use

When you power it up you are greeted with the Compass-Nav logo and then taken the home screen of the unit. From here you can select things like Music, Movies, Nav and TRIP. TRIP is what they call the interface between the Compass-Nav system and the factory radio. When you activate the TRIP screen you see a representation of the stock radio interface including all the buttons/knobs etc. The functionality of the old radio is maintained although you obviously lose the hardware buttons and knobs. The steering wheel controls still work fine and you can hold the mode button down to switch between the TRIP mode and the Compass-Nav screen (for navigation, movies, A/V in etc). When I initially had to re-program my station presets it took a while because you can’t press and hold on a knob and have it keep going. You have to tap it and it moves one item at a time. Charles said they were hoping to address this in a future firmware update. It would also be nice if they redesigned the TRIP interface to be easier to use via touch. Simulating round knobs is not really a good practice with a touch screen. In some ways it reminds me of a poorly designed WinAmp skin.

The touchscreen is actually pretty responsive; I had my doubts when I saw that it was a resistive touch screen versus a capacitive screen. Even though resistive screens have their downside they have the unique advantage of being able to use them even when you are wearing gloves, a plus in Canada!

The best part of this system is the great navigation software it is running. It is very quick to load and calculate routes. Everything is laid out very intuitively and it’s easy to select alternate routes depending on your preferences. I haven’t taken it on any long road trips but using it around town has proven helpful and it seems to have every point of interest I’ve looked for.

Ultimately the biggest issue and the reason I’m considering pulling it out and going back to stock is that I am unable to read the display during the majority of my day time driving. When it’s bright out and I have my sunglasses on the TRIP interface screen looks like it’s almost completely black. The main problem is the part that shows what song is currently playing is displayed with a dark blue background and an only slightly lighter blue for the text. When you’re wearing sunglasses (especially polarized ones) the problem is compounded even more and the display might as well not even be on.

I find myself constantly lifting up my sunglasses just to read the display. The navigation screen is also a bit dark but they use higher contrast colors so I can still read it with my sunglasses on. I’ve emailed Charles about this and he says it’s just due to the Tucson’s screen position and there really isn’t anything he can do. As far as I know the stock Tucson navigation that is offered from the factory does not suffer from this issue, nor did other cars I’ve driven. I think if Compass-Nav invested some time/money a newer high contrast skin it would boost usability. At night the screen is nice and readable but unfortunately when summer comes, 90% of my driving will be during daylight hours and not being able to see the display is unacceptable to me. Unless Compass-Nav comes out with a firmware update to help alleviate this issue before summer, I will remove this unit from my car and pick up a nice standalone GPS for my navigation needs.

I really want to like this system which is why I’ve put up with the poor readability for so long. The concept of extended the factory features like this is brilliant but the execution could be better. Perhaps in the future the units could be sold with a brighter LCD and designed in such a way that polarized glasses don’t interfere. I’m not exactly sure how the last part is done from a technical standpoint, but other cars and navigation screens I’ve used do not suffer from this polarization issue.

I hope this review helps others who may be considering a Compass-Nav CN-M5 in their Hyundai Tucson. Let me know if anyone has questions about this review, or maybe someone else has this system and have found ways to work around the major visibility flaw.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Here's a picture of it. This was taken in the shade with my camera roughly eye level. It's already hard to see but then when I put on my sunglasses it's basically pitch black.

 

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Thanks for taking the time to write up this review. I have been considering replacing my stock radio with compass- nav for some time now. Your experience will help me decide.
A couple of questions
"You need to run a cable from the radio area to the glove box for the SD card and USB port box". I do not like the idea of cutting a hole in my glove box and why do you need another usb port. Cant the existing usb port be used.

For the back up camera ,did you run video and power cables from the rear to the radio? If so how difficult was it to do?

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Great review! Thank you!

How does the back up camera work and was the installation difficult?
The backup camera works well. It switches over quickly when you put the vehicle in reverse. Installation wasn't really that hard but did take a couple hours. The worst part was removing one peice on the tailgate as it has these tricky clips. I think your best bet is to use some long pliers and you can try to get around the clips and squeeze to pop them out. You'll need someone helping you to keep tension off so it doesn't pop back into the holes.

Using a wire fishing tool you just run it down the left side of the car, you have to pop off a few panels but it's not too bad.

Having said all that, the backup camera still suffers from being impossible to see in bright sunlight with my sunglasses off. I can't really recommend this system in it's current iteration, they really need to include a better LCD that is brighter and works better with polarized sunglasses.
 

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The backup camera works well. It switches over quickly when you put the vehicle in reverse. Installation wasn't really that hard but did take a couple hours. The worst part was removing one peice on the tailgate as it has these tricky clips. I think your best bet is to use some long pliers and you can try to get around the clips and squeeze to pop them out. You'll need someone helping you to keep tension off so it doesn't pop back into the holes.

Using a wire fishing tool you just run it down the left side of the car, you have to pop off a few panels but it's not too bad.

Having said all that, the backup camera still suffers from being impossible to see in bright sunlight with my sunglasses off. I can't really recommend this system in it's current iteration, they really need to include a better LCD that is brighter and works better with polarized sunglasses.
Its a real pity the LCD display is so dark. Other than that it seems like a really nice system. However the dark LCD makes it a no no for me. I wonder if the UNAVI display is better.
Going back to the back up camera, could you go into a little more detail about the install which panels did you need to "pop off"
and which part of the tailgate was it that gave you problems?

thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Its a real pity the LCD display is so dark. Other than that it seems like a really nice system. However the dark LCD makes it a no no for me. I wonder if the UNAVI display is better.
Going back to the back up camera, could you go into a little more detail about the install which panels did you need to "pop off"
and which part of the tailgate was it that gave you problems?

thanks
You need to undo a few screws on the inside of the hatch and remove the plastic cover, this part is easy and only takes a couple minutes. Then you need to remove about 13 or so nuts that are underneath that cover. Then all that's left is those clips (and nuts) are what hold on the peice that the backup camera mounts on. It's the piece on the rear that has the hyundai logo that you are removing. You drill the hole in that part and mount the camera. Then you run the wires up along the existing wiring towards one of the rear lights. You get the power from the reverse light wiring. From there you run the video cable (mine also had a signal wire built in with the video cable) up out of the hatch through the main rubber boot and into the vehicle. I ran mine down the left side of the vehicle.

All in it was a lot easier than I had expected, the panels all pop off nicely and I didn't break any clips. I also changed out all my speakers and the door panels came off really nicely. This is one of the better vehicles in my opinion when it comes to removing panels.

If I take out the compass nav I might see about getting a mirror with the backup camera screen in it because I would miss having the backup camera..
 

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You need to undo a few screws on the inside of the hatch and remove the plastic cover, this part is easy and only takes a couple minutes. Then you need to remove about 13 or so nuts that are underneath that cover. Then all that's left is those clips (and nuts) are what hold on the peice that the backup camera mounts on. It's the piece on the rear that has the hyundai logo that you are removing. You drill the hole in that part and mount the camera. Then you run the wires up along the existing wiring towards one of the rear lights. You get the power from the reverse light wiring. From there you run the video cable (mine also had a signal wire built in with the video cable) up out of the hatch through the main rubber boot and into the vehicle. I ran mine down the left side of the vehicle.

All in it was a lot easier than I had expected, the panels all pop off nicely and I didn't break any clips. I also changed out all my speakers and the door panels came off really nicely. This is one of the better vehicles in my opinion when it comes to removing panels.

If I take out the compass nav I might see about getting a mirror with the backup camera screen in it because I would miss having the backup camera..
Thanks for the explanation. So you did not get one of those cameras that replace the license tag light holder?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the explanation. So you did not get one of those cameras that replace the license tag light holder?
The one Compass-Nav sells is not of that style, however those type you mention would save you from drilling a hole but you'd still need to take off everything else to run the wires.

I should also take this opportunity to let everyone know that Charles from Compass-Nav reached out to me as soon as he saw the review and is taking my concerns seriously. He's looking at options for various films that will hopefully help my situation.

The problem I'm having seems to be made worse by the Tucson's screen angle as well as my polarized sunglasses. I think the visibility would be a lot better in other cars like the Sonata because the angle of the display is much better. Also if you're not one to wear polarized sunglasses this wouldn't be as much of an issue for you.

Also from my search I found that Compass-Nav isn't the only one with display brightness issues when wearing polarized sunglasses and I appreciate he is working to find a solution, a lot of other companies wouldn't even bother!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 · (Edited)
Hi all,

I've got a brief update regarding this. I ended up removing the Compass-Nav display from my vehicle because it was not useable especially as the days get longer and brighter.

Charles is still looking into some films to help but I guess polarized sunglasses are incompatible with the Compass-Nav system so they won't help me. It's a shame because I did like it but if I can't read it then it's useless.
 

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Even under normal daylight, on the oem navi screen, I cannot see a thing with polarized sunglasses. I have to use the flip-up type to peek.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Even under normal daylight, on the oem navi screen, I cannot see a thing with polarized sunglasses. I have to use the flip-up type to peek.
Thanks for the info, I guess it's more of a screen positioning problem with the Tucson. I suspect Compass-Nav should work better in other Hyundai models.
 

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Thanks for the info, I guess it's more of a screen positioning problem with the Tucson. I suspect Compass-Nav should work better in other Hyundai models.
The CompassNav works great on other models. Just installed on the Santa Fe. Mind you, I haven't tried wearing polarized glasses yet, but with regular UV glasses, I can see the screen just fine. Plus it has better specs so processor speed is always fast.
 

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Compass-Nav 2013 Santa Fe Sport 2.0L 7-25-15

Brief comments below more to follow as I continue to use navigation system.

Compared Compass-Nav and UNAVI. I liked CN display and a few software offers not with avail with UNAVI.
After speaking with "Charles" at CN and his much , much fairer price than U, I ordered the CN unit.
I Had it installed locally along with a Rear view camera. (total 5 1/2 hours)
So far my expectations have not only been met, but EXCEEDED!
The unit looks beautiful, is as seamless as OEM, I retained ALL blue link and factory settings and options!
The display, menus, options, and user friendly interface is simply marvelous, even for this 68 year old technology dinosaur to use.
The "after sale" support provided by "Charles" is unbelievably exceptional. His concern for his customers is something I have never experienced before.
I will follow up with a more detailed evaluation as I learn all of the features, "slowly".
The aftermarket camera is installed exactly like the Stock, OEM unit from Hyundai.
Everything looks stock!
Jim M

PS: the display nighttime and daytime is totally legible with my UV sunglasses.
 
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