Volkswagen RNS510 review: Volkswagen RNS510

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CNET Editors' Rating

4 stars Excellent
Pricing Unavailable

Average User Rating

4 stars 1 user review

The Good Simple but powerful interface. High-res screen. Excellent sound.

The Bad USB, iPod and Bluetooth are all options. No QWERTY keyboard.

The Bottom Line The RNS510's high-res screen, pleasing design, ease of use and balanced integration of entertainment and navigation, make it an excellent upgrade for any VW buyer. Shame Bluetooth, USB and iPod connectivity are on the options list.

CNET Editors' Choice Sep '10

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Priced between AU$2500 and AU$3000, the RNS510 system is an optional extra across most of Volkswagen's Australian passenger car range — notable exceptions being the Polo and New Beetle .

This review was conducted in an RNS510-equipped Mark V Jetta 147TSI . Particular aspects of the specification, such as number of speakers and standard features, may vary from model to model.

Design and interface

Visually, the RNS510 is very similar to the RCD510 system that's a standard fit to many VW models. Both are double-DIN-sized head units and have a 6.5-inch touchscreen. The more expensive RNS510, though, features a higher resolution display — 800x480 compared to the RCD510's 400x240 — as well as a television-esque 16:9 width-to-height screen ratio.

The interface features no home menu screen, rather the screen is flanked by two columns of physical buttons that allow access to all of the RNS510's various functions — Radio, Media, Phone and Tone on the left flank, and Map, Nav, Traffic and Setup along the right. Keep in mind that the presence of a particular button doesn't naturally guarantee that that function is present on a particular vehicle. For example, in our Jetta the optional Bluetooth hands-free kit wasn't installed, so the Phone button acted as a mute switch instead.

Below the screen are two dials, one that's a power and volume control, and another that's used for station tuning, map zooming and the like. Beside the disc slot are left and right buttons to skip tracks and stations, as well as buttons for disc eject and instruction repeat.

Steering wheel audio controls, mounted on the left spoke, allow the driver to quickly change track, station or audio source, as well as make phone calls if Bluetooth hands-free is available. The LCD screen between the speedometer and the tachometer — multi-function display (MFD) in VW-speak — can be used to display current audio and navigation info. The MFD is manipulated by controls on the steering wheel's right spoke, and also allow basic audio functions, like track and station changing.

The resistive touchscreen not only responds accurately, but looks sharp too and is clearly visible through a pair of polarised sunnies. Only the harshest direct light is able to render it useless. Thanks to its clear text, large buttons and well designed screens, the on-screen interface is simple to use for most tasks. Do keep in mind, though, that volume settings for the navigation system lie underneath the Tone menu rather than the Setup screens.

Music and movies

In bare-bones configuration the RNS510 comes equipped with an AM/FM radio tuner, single disc slot, auxiliary jack, a 30GB hard disk and an SD card slot. A media device interface (MDI), essentially a USB port for reading flash memory drives, is an optional extra and can be found underneath the central arm rest.

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Where to Buy

Volkswagen RNS510

Part Number: CNETVolkswagen RNS510

Typical Price: $2,500.00

See manufacturer website for availability.