The Ford Maverick pickup doesn’t come with many options in the way of audio. It does come with an 8-inch touchscreen AM/FM radio that features Bluetooth connectivity standard, including a number of features but certainly not XM satellite radio.
You can only get XM with the top Lariat trim grade and Luxury Package which then has a nice B & O sound system, SYNC3. Unless you are in that top 1%, you have only two ways to get XM satellite radio into your speakers.
The first is using the SXM app on your phone and streaming it to your audio system via Bluetooth, Android Auto or Apple Car Play. This has the best audio quality but can be inconsistent and unreliable if your cell phone reception drops occasionally or is just not all that good.
The second option is a Satellite Radio receiver of which there are a number available from SXM. Here the connection is more stable if not bulletproof, but audio quality is a little less and it requires some level of installation.
Having suffered enough with the unreliability of the cell-phone app connections, I decided to try out a tuner. Depending on the one you buy, it can connect in a number of ways including Bluetooth. This is the one we have here, the Roady BT for about $100.
The box includes everything you need including the tuner, several mounting options from temporary to permanent, the antennae and its associated wiring, and a USB wire that connects the tuner to its smart power plug.
Unlike some of the SXM tuners, this one has a 12V power plug that combines all its hardware into a single unit. It’s the central brain everything plugs into requiring you us use a conventional power port. You can hard wire this if you want, but takes a few extra determined steps I’m not doing here until I decide if I like it or not.
That said, I purchase this 12C power box to use so that I don’t lose my single dash mounted 12V port and also allowing the smart power plug to not be staring me in the face all the time. Plus I mounted the display panel down low at the center console area where the plug is, and so I needed something to provide a packaging solution and continued 12V power access. I also gained some extra USB power ports to boot.
The most important and strategic part of the install for me was the antennae. There are so many ways to do this, including just putting it on the dash (though they say you should not). I do prefer it outside the vehicle myself so I chose the rear corner of the roof as a location as it is least visible and intrusive.
I put down a small patch of clear adhesive plastic film to protect the paint and stuck in into place.
The Maverick has lots of trim and seams to allow you to completely hide the wire all the way. I used a plastic butter knife to pry a small gap along the way of the plastic trims and panels to get it back under and behind.
I removed the bolt for the rear fender panel to slip the wire back under, then strung it behind the plastic lower rocker all the way to the front. There it comes up ahead of the door behind the hinges and then through the seam in the rubber weather strip. From there I strung it behind the carpet and up under the center of the dash to where the unit is. It all got finished off with clear tape and a zip tie.
I mounted the display screen with the adhesive pedestal mount to the under belly of the dash. I had to trim the base of the mount to fit the spot and ultimately used a couple short self tapping screws to hold it firm as the adhesive is junk and won’t stay long term. It looks great in this location, is out of the way and with the 90-degree elbow of the 12V power bar I got all went together just right.
The wires and plugs of it all for now are sitting back in the lower cubby area, but my long term plan is to mount it a bit more tidy or I may come up with a hard wire solution once I determine if I really like using the tuner.
ALT: I mounted the plug bar up underneath to keep it tidy though it is still not the clean solution I would like long term. If I decide to keep this tuner, I will hard wire it and rework this plug-bar scenario to be a bit more aesthetic.
In the end, my review on this SXM tuner is mixed:
1) The connection and reliability is solid. Not once have I had it disconnect or prove problematic in that way.
2) The display unit has nice graphics and is easy to program with my favorite stations.
3) It displays on my touchscreen the pertinent artist and song title information.
1) Audio quality is slightly less than streaming by your phone via Bluetooth, Android Auto or Apple Car Play. This is because the signal is actually coming over the satellite to your antennae, as opposed to streaming via the cell-phone network which has more bandwidth for quality.
2) It has a handshake glitch which I’m not sure is a Ford system issue or one coming from the SXM tuner. Not all the time, but occasinally a pop-up shows on the touchscreen wanting me to verify whether I want to connect to the Roady BT even when it’s already connected and playing. Annoying.
3) The big one, if you already use your phone connected to the head unit via Bluetooth for hands free calling and other applications or you connect via Apple CarPlay or Android Auto this really won’t work for you. If you try to connect another device in any way, the SXM tuner disconnects. It only effectively allows one external device at a time to work. Connecting an SXM tuner via FM would be a better solution if you are a regular Bluetooth, Android Auto or Apple CarPlay user.
In all, for $100 the solution is adequate from the standpoint that it’s reliable and I don’t have to worry about constantly fumbling with my phone to restart the SXM stream over and over because cell service or the constant Bluetooth / Android Auto connection with the phone is is wonky.