A new car stereo is worth the investment for anyone – from the audiophile to the carpool driver. Factory systems may offer some Bluetooth and digital media services, but may not match the quality of an aftermarket unit that can beef up signals and generate cleaner sound.

Flip through music, take calls and access navigation with ease on these car stereos chosen by costumers as the best of 2022.

Alpine ILXW650 

The Alpine ILX-W650 is an award winning mech-less design. With no CD/DVD slot and a shallow chassis built, this system should fit into most vehicle’s dash space. At 2.4 inches deep, this receiver was made to be installed with the KTA-450 Power Pack  amplifier, so there is no need to install a secondary amp.

The 7-inch anti-glare screen is equipped with accessibility swipes; a two-finger motion can control volume and music tracking on any part of the screen. This eliminates the need for the driver to take eyes off the road to tape a specific area for a command.

It’s compatible with Apple Carplay, Android Auto and supports Google Assistant. So all your music platforms are available, whether it’s Apple Music, Spotify or Pandora. Of course, an AM/FM radio with presets is included. A wide range of music files are supported for playback via USB.  The ILX-W650 features a 9-band equalizer with selectable tone curves, so drivers aren’t at the mercy of  factory settings. 

Three 4-volt pre-outs allow aftermarket speakers, subwoofers, additional amplifiers and sound processors to be added. Two camera inputs allow for the addition of multiple cameras including a rear-view camera (sold separately).

Alpine UTE73BT 

A clean replacement for your factory single-DIN stereo, the Alpine UTE73BT detachable face media receiver streams via Bluetooth and Pandora. The blue button lighting keeps distractions to a minimum. It includes an iPod USB cable and auxiliary input for those late-aughts listeners who still use their portable player.

Even with the traditional interface, the 3 sets of 2V preamp outputs allow for future connectivity to an additional speaker. It’s Alpine Power Pack Ready, so an Alpine KTP-4458 unit can be installed with no issue.

Sound Storm Labs (SSL) DDML28B

This double Din Mechless Bluetooth digital media stereo offers a wide range of media flexibility. The 7 selectable tone curves gives you the power to alter the sound, no matter if you’re playing from the aux cord, wirelessly or through a USB or SD card. The DDML28B also comes with a remote control – no more leaning over to adjust the volume. 

The DDML28B also has front, rear and sub speaker inputs – keeping the dash simple and the music clean. 

Sony XAV-AX150

This Sony XAV-AX150 touchscreen receiver comes with all the bells and whistles expected from a digital receiver: Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity and music streaming or direct plug-n-play with USB or an aux jack.

The roughly 7-inch display will show all your music tags and your phone call / SMS notifications. It can host a backup camera and rear RCA audio/video outputs for backseat entertainment like video games. 

Sony has built this receiver with  Dynamic Soundstage Organizer settings. If the car speakers are placed in less than advantageous positions, like the lower side of the door, the DSO helps to generate ambient sound as if the music was coming from the dashboard. Essentially a baked-in equalizer function on top of its 3-band equalizer. 

Belva BVL62

For the driver not looking to complicate their car stereo interface will still enjoy the capabilities of the BVL62 touchscreen stereo. The menu gives access to a CD, USB, radio, Bluetooth and your display settings. 

The Belva BVL652 screen can also mirror with Android and iPhone to cast a replica of your cell phone screen. If you’re inclined to add a backup camera, the BVL62 hosts two camera inputs for dash and rear cameras.

“Took a chance and scored. I had bought a belva amp before and had great service so I tried my luck on this for my older f250. I’m happy with the new stereo versus my old one. I got DVD, Bluetooth and that’s pretty much all I really wanted. The free kit and harness were a nice touch, but I really just needed the kit as I broke mine takin the old stereo out.” Jason Hudgens review from October 2021

Dual DCPA701

This unit is a steal for installing Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and extensive tone controls without breaking the bank. It offers hands-free calling and music streaming and personalization options for display. The 1.5 rear amp USB port allows for fast-charging so you don’t have to worry about killing your phone battery while on the road. 

It includes 4V outputs for any aftermarket speakers, amps or sound processors you could want. A backup camera can also be attached.

For newer cars with steering wheel controls, a separate interface system like the Axxess ASWC-1 adapter can be installed for smoother integration between your media. 

Belva BDMRS5

While a remote may seem redundant in an automobile, having one connected to your car stereo can be beneficial to pass the controls to a guest. It may not come with a CD player, but this single DIN with built-in USB, SD, aux input plus 3 sets of 5V outputs means you have the ability to hook up a number of speakers or media consoles to your head unit.

This would be a great fit for the RV traveling entertainer. The receiver still displays all the necessary tags for music and phone calls or radio station info.

Pioneer DMH-2600NEX

A multimedia bluetooth car receiver has a 6.8” resistive touchscreen display. Unlike a capacitive display that responds to multi-touch points and gestures, a resistive display is simpler, durable and more resistant to water and dust. 

It has variable color illumination, so you can customize the ambiance to your preferences. 

Pioneer built this unit with Sirius XM radio and added steering wheel control expandability on top of its built-in streaming and smartphone connectivity.  Composite audio/video inputs could be used to connect a game console.

The 13-band graphic equalizer allows for a wide variety of audio adjustments so all those media connections can be catered to. Navigation applications can be accessed through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

Boss BE10ACP

This Boss is the perfect swap for your old car stereo. A Single DIN floating touchscreen gives you ultimate access to all the new features you could have in your car without sacrificing space or installing a new dash kit. 

The large, LED, 10-inch screen gives access to smartphone applications, music streaming, navigation and display preferences. Boss also features a Dynamic Soundstage Organizer, 24-bit digital analog converter and 3-band equalizer with 7 tone curves to create the best – distortion free – listening experience. 

Like most touchscreen models, it has a dedicated input for backup camera, in-unit microphone,  steering wheel control and hands-free user interfaces.