Here is another update from Matt about his five hundred quid Clio…

I saw car advert recently where there was no mention of its available space for passengers, safety features or economy, all things that are usually important considerations when taking the plunge on a new motor. Instead, the ad boasted about gizmos like Bluetooth integration, Instagram and Spotify subscriptions, something like that.  All while driving.


I was clearly not part of the target audience (sigh) and I wondered how long it would be before the advert was pulled bearing in mind the Government’s current thinking on in-car, hands-free devices. The strange thing about recent proposed hand-free legislation is that the use of a satnav is currently part of the UK practical driving test and often a source of in car interference.  Work that out.


All this gave me a little idea.  As some people can’t live without in-car phone integration and might chose to buy a new car over an old banger to get those modern features, I decided that I would update the Clio’s in-car entertainment, in my usual frugal way.  Afterall, the CD player had died years ago (the radio worked OK) and who uses CDs now anyway.


The specification had to be; 1 DIN (to fit where the existing radio was), DAB+, FM, Bluetooth and have an AUX input.  At my budget, I wasn’t really bothered about the screen or button colour, to blend in with the period Renault orange dashboard glow at night.


Later, a few Google/ eBay searches revealed a couple of budget DAB 1 DIN radios, with the right connectors for £36 delivered. After clicking ‘buy it now’ and a two week wait, the radio arrived from China in a smart box.  It included the install tools, wiring adaptors (which I didn’t need) a windscreen antenna and even a remote control, perfect for back-seat DJs.


The Clio’s dashboard is Fisher Price robust and really simple in construction, so to install the antenna and hide the cable required just a bit of trim removal and careful wire threading to the back of the dashboard and new radio.


Within half an hour, the new radio was installed and picking up Radio 6 on DAB, was paired with my phone and tone settings adjusted. To be honest, I couldn’t believe how easy to install and feature-rich this thing was for the money.


Now I can listen to anything on my phone via the car stereo and take calls, when needed.  As a rule, I don’t use the phone when driving, but it’s a nice feature to have if there’s a problem while out and about.  On the phone side of things, the microphone is built in to the facia and so is a long way from your mouth, so as a result, it does pick a bit of noise, but hey, it works.


I had successfully updated the in-car entertainment with phone connectivity in my banger for under forty quid.  Much cheaper than a new Aygo.


While on eBay, I did see some really great touch screen radios with even more features like cameras, thermometers and other widgets, for more cash.  But for me though, this cheapy was fine.  Plus, no one really likes touch screens when driving anyway, do they?


Costs so far (excluding fuel):

On the road                                                               £443.00 (inc. car, insurance etc)

Costs incurred (excluding fuel)                            £36.00 (radio, delivered)

Servicing costs                                                        £0.00

Miles covered                                                         1000 ish

Breakdowns                                                             None

Depreciation                                                           None (market value £300 with MoT)


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