Kenwood DNR876S Head Unit Install + Review on 5th Generation Toyota 4Runner

 In 5th Gen Mods, Accessories, Install, Reviews, Tech


Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner

Kenwood DNR876S Headunit Installation and Feature Overview For the 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner

Technology is constantly evolving, particularly when it comes to vehicle entertainment and its overall integration with the vehicle and interfacing with the user.

Practically everyone has a smartphone and the term infotainment is now used to describe the integration of information and entertainment in a vehicle today.

Unfortunately, Toyota seems to be behind the technology curve when compared to other auto manufacturers with its proprietary Entune system.

Most people I know do not use its features due to its difficult interface, operational issues, and they just rather use the functions on their phones.

Adding Improved Functionality Compared to Toyota’s OEM JBL/Nav System

For 2020, the 4Runners are finally getting CarPlay and Android Audio, but the underlying system will still be Entune and will require a wired connection with your phone.

I decided it was time for an upgrade as I have wanted better integration with my phone with CarPlay and due to my Entune JBL system continuing to lock up randomly.

CarPlay and Android Auto are now available on the 2020 models with 8” screens, but upgrading to a 2020 model for these and a few other minor upgrades did not make financial sense to me.

Neither does trying to buy a 2020 JBL NAV headunit to possibly fit into my 2014 when even the existing JBL NAV units are $4000-$5000.  And you still have Entune.

You also have other options out there, like the Android T8 Head Unit and even the upgraded T9 Head Unit, but ultimately, I decided on the Kenwood for a number of reasons.

Why I Choose the Kenwood DNR876S Headunit

I decided to go ahead and go aftermarket with a Kenwood DNR876S.

However, I want to maintain the OEM JBL amps and speakers as the system sounds good enough for me and the new head unit would probably offer some improvement. Although, if you are looking to take it a step further, you could go with aftermarket speaker upgrade options like the “4Runner speaker only upgrade” package from OEM Audio Plus.

This is the first aftermarket headunit installs I have done in over 20 years as the days of installing all-out audio systems are far behind me. The unit is at the higher end cost-wise with a price of $1200 but offers a lot of functionality and improvements over the JBL system with only a few minor negatives.

I will not concentrate too much on the specific details of the installation as this is the same as any aftermarket headunit installation found with a search on internet and is described in available instructions, but I will provide more details of the functions offered by using a Kenwood, or other Maestro compatible, headunit with a 5th Gen 4Runner.  This information is not readily available or clear.

Unit Features and Parts for Install

Beyond the normal radio functions, Bluetooth, sound adjustability, Sirius XM radio compatibility, and graphics-intensive interface seen in today’s headunits, the DNR876S also offers the following:

  • 6.95” screen (versus 6” OEM screen)
  • Wireless connectivity for CarPlay and Android Auto
  • No DVD/CD drive (I don’t use it and something else to break potentially causing other problems with the headunit)
  • HD Radio (which I do use)
  • Garmin navigation
  • Works with OEM backup camera
  • iDatalink Maestro compatibility where the unit displays vehicle performance data such as tire pressures, temps, and other data normally accessible through the OBDII port using a device like Scan Gauge for the 4Runner.
  • Access to some vehicle settings that normally require a trip to the dealer or a laptop with Techstream connected to OBDII port.

I will provide more information and screenshots of the last two in later sections.

I ordered my unit through Crutchfield as the price for the DNR876S was about the same as anywhere else. You can get pretty much everything else on Amazon.

Parts for Installation

  • Kenwood DNR876S: Check Price
  • iDatalink Maestro ADS-MRR – the centerpiece and brain for integrating the headunit to the vehicle for steering wheel controls, OEM JBL amps/speakers, vehicle info and settings: Check Price
  • iDatalink HRN-RR-TO2 – wiring harness to connect the MRR above to the OEM wiring harnesses and Kenwood Headunit: Check Price
  • iDatalink ACC-SAT-TO2 – connects and allows the use of OEM GPS and XM antennas with Kenwood headunit: Check Price
  • Metra 40-LX11 Antenna Adapter – connects OEM antenna cable to Kenwood headunit: Check Price
  • Metra AX-TOYUSB – connect Kenwood headunit to the OEM USB port at bottom of the center stack: Check Price
  • Scosche TA2106B Silver Dash Kit – mount the Kenwood headunit into the dash: Check Price

Crutchfield also includes their MasterSheet Installation instructions with installation instructions and wiring diagrams.  The above parts are also the same needed for those with 2014+ models with the base audio system or Premium Entune with Nav.  For those with 2010 – 2013 models, the harnesses for the USB port and iDatalink Maestro are different part numbers.

I also ordered the Sirius XM SXV300V1 Tuner as I use XM service and it was free after mail-in rebate.

Kenwood INSTALLATION

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step-By-Step Installation

Step 1. Flash Maestro Unit For Your Vehicle

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step 1. Flash Maestro Unit For Your Vehicle

The first step for the install is to flash the Maestro unit for your particular vehicle.

iDatalink has made this straightforward.  Using a computer with a USB port, you simply plug the Maestro unit into the computer using the supplied USB cable.

You go to their website, create an account, and the system will connect to the Maestro unit.

Next, you will be walked through steps of selecting your vehicle, the type of OEM system you have, and then the features.

Step 2. Connect Maestro & Kenwood Harness

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step 2. Connect Maestro & Kenwood Harness

I decided to use Crutchfield’s ReadyHarness Service where they connect the various Maestro harnesses to the Kenwood harness specifically for your vehicle.

This saves A LOT of time determining which harnesses to use and connecting wires.  Plus it is neater than I would have done.

Step 3. Remove OEM Headunit, Heater Controls & Disconnect Wiring

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step 3. Remove OEM Headunit, Heater Controls & Disconnect Wiring

Removing the OEM headunit is very straightforward.

Simply pull off the two vertical trim pieces on either side of the heater controls.  Then pull off heater controls and disconnect the wire.  Then remove the 4 10mm bolts located below the radio and pull off the radio along with the surrounding trim piece.

The HVAC vents, vent controls, and pocket piece below OEM clock are removed from the OEM dash bezel with a few Philips screws while the hazard light switch simply pops out.

The HVAC pieces and pocket are secured into the Scosche bezel using the OEM screws and hazard lights switch pops right in.  The Kenwood head unit is secured to the bezel using the brackets and hardware supplied with the bezel.

I set the depth of the head unit where the top and sides were flush with the opening in the bezel.  This particular headunit has hard buttons along the bottom protruding further out than the rest of the front face.

The harness connections were made to the head unit.

Step 4. Connect Maestro Assembly & Place Into Dash Cavity

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step 4. Connect Maestro Assembly & Place Into Dash Cavity 

All the wiring can be intimidating; however, the connections are rather straight forward with each connector for the Maestro module and the truck being different and preventing screw-ups.  The only two connectors that are common are the GPS antenna and XM antenna.

These can be mixed up, which I did initially.  Everything gets plugged together until there are no connectors left.  The assembly is then placed into the dash cavity.

There is enough space for all the wiring, but I pushed the Maestro module off to the side of the headunit to help as there is empty space to the left and right of the headunit in the dash.

Step 5. Find & Secure Location For Microphone

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step 5. Find & Secure Location For Microphone Cavity 

The one OEM item that cannot be used is the microphone.

You have to use the microphone supplied with the Kenwood.  I placed mine on the left side of the pocket where the OEM clock is for a central location for both driver and passenger.

Step 6. Route USB To Blank Switch Opening (Optional)

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Step 6. Route USB To Blank Switch Opening (Optional)

I decided to go ahead and route the second USB connection from the Kenwood to a blank switch opening I had in the center console for connection of another device if I ever wanted to.

The OEM USB connector at the bottom of the dash is connected to the first USB connector of the Kenwood and used for wired CarPlay if desired.

Sound and Overall Impressions

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Sound and Overall Impressions

After having the new headunit for several weeks, I am very happy with the new head unit!

All the customization for personal tastes and usability is great and easy to perform.  The color of the bottom hard buttons can be adjusted to match any OEM dash color and dim with the dash lights.  Setting up everything to your liking can take some time due to the many options for sound and visual features.  With the various adjustments for the sound, especially the 13-band EQ, the sound is noticeably improved even with the OEM JBL amps and speakers, especially the highs.

Wireless CarPlay works without any issues, both wired and wireless.  I cannot comment on Android Auto however as I do not have an Android phone.

When you put the vehicle in reverse the OEM backup camera works as intended.

The unit has a hard button at the bottom right (CAM button seen in the picture) where you can turn the camera on at any time.  The Kenwood adds parking guidelines just like the OEM system, but they are completely adjustable and move with the turning of the steering wheel instead of being fixed like OEM.

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Steering Wheel Control Functions

Steering Wheel Control Functions

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Steering Wheel Control Functions

The Maestro setup offers complete programming for the steering wheel controls.

Each button can have up to two functions.  One function as a result of normal button press and the other function result of push and hold.  You can choose all the functions during the initial programming of the Maestro module.  I have had zero issues with any of the steering wheel controls.

All have been working as programmed and consistently.

Vehicle Performance Data and Information

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Vehicle Performance Data and Information

The Maestro module comes with an OBDII connector for connection to the 4Runner’s OBDII port.

Kenwood headunits then have built-in functions to access vehicle performance data and vehicle settings.  The performance data are various temperatures (yes, including transmission temperature), volts, MPG and other trip type data, distance to empty engine load, etc.

There are two screens with gauges where each gauge can be set to show the desired data.  Simply push and hold on the gauge to bring up the list of available data to choose from.

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Vehicle Performance Data and Information

Tire pressures have their own dedicated screen to display all four tire pressures.

Each TPMS sensor can be programmed to the actual position on the truck by running a setup where the air is let out of every tire one at a time in the order shown on the headunit screen and the system recognizes the drop in pressure for that location and assigns the appropriate TPMS sensor reading.

This screen also shows door and hood ajar information as shown by the yellow driver’s door.

Vehicle Settings

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Vehicle Settings

This capability was pleasantly surprising.

Most of you probably know there are vehicle settings that can be changed, but usually requires going to the dealer or using your own laptop with a “version” (wink wink) of Techstream to connect to the OBDII port to access the 4Runner’s computer.

The Kenwood headunit allows direct access to these settings at any time.

This is very convenient for adjustments.  You can see in the pictures below the descriptions appear to be cut-off, but pressing the arrow next to the words will make it begin to scroll and show the entire description.

Final Thoughts

Installation and Review of Kenwood Dnr876 S Headunit in 5th Gen Limited Edition 4Runner: Final Thoughts

I am very happy so far with the new headunit, especially with the sound quality and the many options for the steering wheel controls.

Pros:

  • Complete compatibility with the JBL amps and speakers
  • Wireless and wired CarPlay And Android Auto
  • Improved sound quality with many more adjustments and options for fine-tuning.
  • A large amount of control using the steering wheel controls
  • Easy access to vehicle performance data and settings (other brands have these functions also)
  • No more Entune! LOL
  • Garmin NAV

Cons as nothing is perfect (all minor though in my opinion):

  • Cannot use the OEM microphone and have to install the supplied microphone. Though it may be able to find the right wires for the OEM microphone and cut/splice, I’m not interested in doing this
  • Programming of the steering wheel controls does not have an option to move through preset stations (XM and normal radio) only. The only option is to Scan up or Down for the next available station, preset or not.
  • I used the built-in maintenance reminders in the OEM JBL radio and thus lost this option. Now I just use a phone app to help with reminders.
  • The compass in the OEM center information display in the dash no longer appears due to the removal of the JBL head unit. However, the Kenwood unit as a compass “widget” which displays direction.
  • Scosche trim piece has two locations along with the edge meeting up with the OEM pocket piece below the OEM clock that is rough due to poor trimming of the mold gates (locations where the plastic is injected into the actual part during the molding process). See the provided images on the post.  However, these are not really visible from the seating position due to the angle of the pocket.

Hopefully, this write-up can provide some information to what is available to 5th Gen 4Runner owners in terms of aftermarket radios and available integration with our trucks.

It is impossible to cover all the various options and settings in this write-up, but if anyone has any questions please post them in the comments section and I will try and answer them.

Questions or Comments? Leave them below!

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Trevor VarneyCarloMichael AllenMatthew Faldmo Recent comment authors
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Matthew Faldmo
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Matthew Faldmo

This looks epic! Thank you for the post. I have been desperately waiting for a better option than the T8-T9.
My question is….is this also doable on a non-premium 5th Gen model. (Standard SR5?)
Cheers!

Carlo
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Carlo

Wow that is a HUGE improvement over stock! I really like the OBDII integration as well.
I’m not sure how the TMPS work. Are you using the stock ones?
Also I wish the dash replacement came in black as well.

Trevor-SGBD
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Trevor-SGBD

Very cool functionality, however, I wish it was bigger screen as there seems to be a lot of wasted space. I think I’m waiting to see how the 2020 4Runner radio update will go before changing factory head unit.

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