Motoring blog looks at state of in-car digital radio

Whilst government estimates point at a potential switchover from FM to digital radio for many radio stations between 2015 and 2019, most car manufacturers do not include a DAB digital radio as standard.

The new Volvo V40, which went on sale late last year, features a sound system with 5″ colour display, a radio and CD player, USB and iPod inputs and eight speakers but omits DAB. The car can be fitted with a £325 digital radio option on top of the list price, which starts at £19,995 OTR.

The new Renault Clio includes a radio with four speakers, handsfree and USB and Bluetooth connectivity. The £14,995 Dynamique S MediaNav trim level also includes a 7″ screen with satellite navigation, however there is no digital radio add-on option.

Manufacturers Ford, Volkswagen and BMW are starting to offer DAB as standard, whilst Vauxhall and Skoda offer it as an option. The current Astra in the Tech Line trim (£16,540) includes digital radio, but is indicated as being “DMB digital radio” rather than DAB. The new Skoda Rapid is available with DAB as a part of a £550 satellite navigation option on the SE trim level and above.

At the Autocar web site Mark Tisshaw has blogged about the availability of DAB in new cars.

…But I can’t remember the last time I got into a car with long wave, so the only way to listen to the matches is digitally on 5 Live Sports Extra. Which is great, because you can actually hear what the commentators and pundits are saying without excessive crackle or interference.
Mark Tisshaw, writing at Autocar

Motorists are currently able to purchase retro-fit systems which integrate behind the radio, a completely new stereo, or the add-on systems such as the Pure Highway. Whilst many recent cars include Bluetooth for streaming audio and handsfree calls, iPod connectivity, USB sockets and auxiliary ports many manufacturers have been slow to include digital radio as standard or an option.

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