Stereo systems from automakers have gotten so good that it’s often difficult to justify replacing or upgrading the audio components with aftermarket gear, which used to be de rigueur for discerning music lovers. But even as factory audio systems have improved, the weakest link — and the most frequent aftermarket upgrade — remains the need for better bass and a separate subwoofer.
Automakers and their technology partners have responded to this shortcoming with dedicated and often larger subwoofers that can pound out low frequencies. Examples include the 10-inch Rockford Fosgate subwoofer in the Mitsubishi Outlander and the 8-inch sub in the Beats Audio system in Chrysler, Dodge and FIAT vehicles.
A 2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line I recently tested had the Fender audio system with a slightly smaller subwoofer in the hatch. It’s an example of how you can get decent bass from a stock stereo system without losing lots of storage space.