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Best Touchscreen Car Stereos: Infotainment at Your Fingertips

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BYChris Teague/ LAST UPDATED ON June 17, 2022

There’s almost nothing worse than a bad sounding car stereo. No matter what you do, you can’t drive your car from the outside, and being stuck inside with awful sound is less than ideal. You can fiddle with a worn-out sound system and never hit the sweet spot, but for most cars it’s possible to replace the head unit to get better sound and connectivity features old systems don’t have.


It’s easy to find dozens of generic head units, but it’s best to find a trusted brand from a well-known seller. The touchscreen car stereo purchase is just your first step in the process, so you’ll want to have the option to get support, repairs, and a replacement if needed.

Best Overall

BOSS Audio Systems BV9358B Car Multifunctional Stereo Receiver

Summary

This easy-to-use touch screen stereo is also a DVD, CD, USB, and MP3 player with Bluetooth calling capability. It can also connect to a backup camera for added versatility..

Pros
  • Multifunctional
  • Display is large and easy to read
  • Produces good sound quality with your car’s stock speaker system
Cons
  • Volume control seems lagging
  • Installation instructions are very confusing
  • Hands-free microphone needs to be stronger
Best Value

aboutBit Bluetooth 7 inch HD Touchscreen Car Audio Receiver

Summary

It features a sizable 7-inch HD 1024 x 600 LCD display and a responsive, smart touch screen that puts all your controls at the tip of your fingers. This unit supports both iOS and Android smartphones.

Pros
  • Super affordable 
  • Offers a clear, customizable display that’s easy to read
  • Comes with an HD rearview camera included with HD night vision and 170-degree wide-angle lens
Cons
  • This unit doesn’t come with a CD or a DVD player
  • Not two-way compatible with your iPhone
  • Requires you to plug it in with your USB charging cable
Honorable Mention

Corehan Double DIN Stereo Car Audio Receiver 

Summary

This model is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, allowing you to use your smartphone to make calls, get directions, send and receive messages, and listen to music, all hands-free

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Able to play music, audiobooks, and podcasts from multiple formats
  • Offers a clear and easy-to-read display
  • Allows for customizable graphics for certain makes of vehicles
Cons
  • Not compatible with all vehicle makes
  • Graphics customization only works on certain vehicles
  • Android Auto doesn’t automatically resume after ending a Bluetooth call.
Best Touchscreen Car Stereos: Infotainment at Your Fingertips

Our Methodology

To select the best touchscreen car stereos, I reviewed pricing, functionality, customer reviews, and quality ratings. I selected head units with the best reviews possible, but I also looked at ease of installation and longevity. Paying someone to install a stereo can add up to big bucks, so it’s good to have the option to install it yourself. I also selected screens that fit in the largest number of vehicles, as a big screen can be a big pain in older cars.

I also kept entertainment in mind, because that’s the primary purpose of a car stereo. I selected head units that offer the broadest possible feature set, including things like Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, and SiriusXM tuner compatibility. You can be confident that these touchscreen car stereos are packed with the most desirable features.

Why Trust Us

Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Summary List

Best Overall: Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX

Best Value: Boss BE950WCPA

Honorable Mention: Sony XAV-AX8100

Best Big Screen: Alpine Halo11 iLX-F411

Best Bargain: Kenwood DDX276BT

Best for Flexible Installation: Pioneer DMH-WC5700NEX

Best Touchscreen Stereo Reviews & Recommendations

Specs

  • Brand: Pioneer
  • Screen Size: 8 Inches
  • Installation Size: Single-DIN

Pros

  • Responsive, easily visible screen
  • Single-DIN size makes for an easy fit
  • Wireless smartphone connectivity
  • Powerful and packed with features

Cons

  • Needs an adapter to mount in a space other than Single-DIN
  • Expensive
  • Single USB output

The Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX is one of the most complete and feature-rich touchscreen car stereo systems on the market today. It’s not cheap, but its nine-inch HD display, single-DIN fit, and wired or wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capabilities make it a great choice for a wide variety of vehicles. The WT7600NEX features an 8.0-inch screen, but if you’re looking for a larger display, Pioneer sells the same unit with a 10.1-inch display.

Installing an aftermarket head unit can be annoying in older vehicles with factory tape players and other basic stereos due to the size of newer products. Pioneer addresses that issue with a single-DIN installation that easily slides into an existing stereo slot. The only downside here is that the large screen “floats” in front of the dash, and can obscure buttons or air vents if they are too close to the display.

Specs

  • Brand: Boss
  • Screen Size: 6.75 Inches
  • Installation Size: Double-DIN

Pros

  • Great value
  • Responsive touchscreen
  • Wireless smartphone integration

Cons

  • Double-DIN only
  • Poor directions and documentation
  • Brightness settings hard to dial in

Boss is a strong brand in the aftermarket audio space, and it offers touchscreen car stereos with great value and plenty of features. The BE950WCPA offers wired OR wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, voice controls, Bluetooth, auxiliary inputs, inputs for a backup camera, and more. With 20 watts RMS or 80 watts peak by four channels, the Boss system also has enough power to fill almost any vehicle with clean sound.

Buyers report that the Boss unit is reasonably easy to install, but many complain of poor documentation and unclear directions. Unlike some touchscreens on our list, the Boss is a full double-DIN unit, meaning you can’t install it in a smaller single-DIN space. Even though the body is larger, the screen measures just 6.75 inches, so in this case, the tradeoff for a lower price is a smaller screen and annoying directions.

Specs

  • Brand: Sony
  • Screen Size: 8.95 inches
  • Installation Size: Single-DIN

Pros

  • Screen angle adjustments make it easily viewable
  • Single-DIN installation fits large range of vehicles
  • HDMI input

Cons

  • Screen washes out in direct sunlight
  • Some report finicky Apple CarPlay connectivity

Sony has decades of experience building audio equipment, and its expertise shows in the XAV-AX8100. The touchscreen car stereo system offers an 8.95-inch display that mounts on a single-DIN chassis. The display is three-way adjustable, so you can get the positioning just right, and Sony included physical buttons for fast access to functions like volume and track adjustments. The unit also comes with a 10-band EQ system to dial in your desired sound.

Although it features a large screen, some buyers state that the Sony unit is not bright enough for easy viewing in direct sunlight. Most rave about the responsiveness and value represented by the Sony unit. The physical controls make it easy to change the volume level or track, making the device less distracting to use when driving.

Best Big Screen Touchscreen
Alpine Halo11 iLX-F411
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Specs

  • Brand: Alpine
  • Screen Size: 11 inches
  • Installation Size: Single-DIN

Pros

  • Huge, vibrant screen
  • Single-Din installation
  • Five-band EQ and expansive features

Cons

  • Large screen can block parts of dash
  • Additional equipment required for SiriusXM

Many newer vehicles come with giant infotainment displays from the factory, but if you want that functionality in an older model, you can’t go wrong with the Alpine Halo11 iLX-F411. The 11-inch touchscreen car stereo system features a single-DIN chassis with the ability to install in larger spaces using an adapter. The floating screen design is adjustable and offers multiple viewing angles.

The Alpine head unit comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, along with Pandora and Spotify controls with a connected smartphone. The unit offers inputs for a rearview camera and a switcher to accommodate a two-camera system. SiriusXM requires a separate tuner, but once installed, the head unit supports traffic, weather, and sports info from the satellite radio company.

Best for Flexible Installation
Pioneer DMH-WC5700NEX
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Specs

  • Brand: Pioneer
  • Screen Size: 6.78 inches
  • Installation Size: Single-DIN

Pros

  • Flexible installation
  • Reasonably priced
  • Responsive screen

Cons

  • Not the largest screen
  • Touch-swipe menus can be confusing at times

Stereo manufacturers do their best to build head units with the ability to install in a wide variety of vehicles, but sometimes the fit just isn’t there. If you have an oddball car with a dash that seems like it will never fit a new touchscreen car stereo system, the DMH-WC5700NEX could be your ticket. Pioneer designed the unit to accommodate modular installation, meaning the screen and chassis can be installed together or separately. If your dash is giving you hassle, you can mount the display and hide the chassis in the glove box or other out-of-the-way location.

The Pioneer’s 6.78-inch display isn’t the biggest on our list, but it’s bright, responsive, and easily viewable from almost any angle. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility come in wired or wireless, and Amazon Alexa capability is built in. A 13-band EQ allows fine-tuning of sound and SiriusXM is available with a separate tuner.

Best Touchscreen Bargain
Kenwood DDX276BT
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Specs

  • Brand: Kenwood
  • Screen Size: 6.2 inches
  • Installation Size: Single-DIN

Pros

  • Bargain price
  • Easy installation
  • Smartphone music streaming and calls

Cons

  • SiriusXM connection can be spotty with aftermarket tuner
  • Lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

When you desperately want a touchscreen but don’t want to spend much cash, Kenwood’s got you covered. The DDX276BT doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but it does have smartphone connectivity for streaming music, and you can still use it to take phone calls hands-free in the car. The 6.2-inch is bright and responsive, and the head unit includes USB inputs and can be installed to work with factory steering wheel controls.

Like many aftermarket head units, the Kenwood system requires an additional tuner for SiriusXM radio. Users also report that the head unit sometimes “forgets” the tuner and must be reset to reconnect.

Our Verdict

I picked the Pioneer DMH-WT7600NEX as the best overall touchscreen car stereo system because it offers an excellent mix of screen size, features, ease of installation, and quality. I chose the Boss BE950WCPA for value because it gives up very little in the pursuit of a good price.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Touchscreen Stereo

The most important thing to consider before buying a stereo is the size. The best touchscreen car stereo system in the world won’t do you any good if it doesn’t fit your car. It’s also good to check for overall fit, meaning the space the screen takes up on your dash. Air vents and physical buttons can be obstructed by a giant screen, which will be annoying even if you love the display. That said, it’s possible to buy adapters and brackets that allow you to install single-DIN head units in larger spaces, but that’s an added cost you’ll have to pay on top of the purchase and installation price. 

It’s also good to research the things you need to install an aftermarket unit. The product itself might be just one of several components you’ll need for installation. Depending on your vehicle, you may need separate adapters to enable steering wheel controls, and you’ll have to think about wiring a backup camera if that’s on your to-do list. 

Finally, consider the rest of your stereo. If you’re upgrading an old unit, it might be time to spring for new speakers and wiring as well. Connecting a brand-new head unit to a bunch of tired old speakers probably won’t yield the results you were hoping for. 

Pricing 

You have a couple of options when it comes to choosing a touchscreen head unit. The lower-cost option is to prioritize the touchscreen and price over all other functionality. On average, expect to pay $300 or less for a budget touchscreen stereo.The second option is to prioritize features and functionality. Most touchscreen car stereo systems with robust feature sets start for around $500, but it’s possible to spend more than $1,500. 

FAQs 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q: Are CD players being phased out?

A: While it’s common to find touchscreen car stereo systems without a CD player, we’re not yet in a place where they can be phased out completely. Many people have older cars with old stereos that play CDs and many companies still make them, so we’re likely to have them around for some time to come. 

Q: Are touchscreens best?

A: “Best” depends on your needs and wants when it comes to car audio. If you prioritize a display and want the graphical component that they bring, a touchscreen may be best, but if you want a simpler experience, there are dozens of straightforward head units on the market.

Q: Can you put a touchscreen in any car?

A: The stereos in many newer cars are integrated with several vehicle functions, like climate and safety systems. Even if a replacement fits, which in many cases it won’t, you’ll lose all of the functionality benefits that a tightly wound in-vehicle ecosystem brings.

Q: Can I install a backup camera?

A: You can install a backup camera with a standalone display, so you’re not required to buy a new stereo to get a camera. If you want an all-in-one solution, many touchscreen car stereos offer connections for backup cameras, but it’s an extra cost.

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