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Picking out the right audio system for your car is a daunting process since there are so many head units to choose from. If your vehicle has a double-DIN head unit, then that opens it up to a number of large touchscreen options. But if your vehicle has a single-DIN opening, then it will make it harder to find a head unit that’s compatible with some features like Apple Carplay.

But what if you can have a head unit that combines the versatility of a double-DIN head unit with the easy installation capability of a single-DIN unit? Now you can with the Sony XAV-9500ES.

What is the Sony XAV-9500ES?

An in-car shot of the Sony XAV-9500ES
Sony XAV-9500ES | Sony

The Sony XAV-9500ES is the brand’s first car-audio inclusion from its ES lineup. The “ES” stands for “elevated standard,” which is Sony’s premium line that consists of products for your home and now for your car. If you’re a car audiophile, then you’re almost guaranteed to love what the XAV-AX9500ES has to offer.

For starters, there’s a large 10.1-inch touchscreen display that has a gapless design, an updated graphical user interface, and a super-clear 1280×720 resolution that can also display what’s behind your car when a backup camera is installed. New for this year is a USB Type C connector to plug in your phone and wireless smartphone connectivity so you won’t have to deal with a pesky wire when using Apple Carplay and Android Auto.

a rear shot of the Sony XAV-9500ES  unit
Sony XAV-9500ES | Sony

Here are some of the Sony XAV-9500ES’ notable features:

  • High-resolution Audio Compatible
  • ESS Digital-to-Analog Converter
  • Built-in Premium 4-channel Class A/B Amplifier
  • Optimum Audio Components
  • Anti-resonance Dual-Layer Chassis
  • Sound Customization
  • High-Definition Display
  • 10.1-inch Gapless Anti-glare Capacitive Touchscreen
  • HD Graphical User Interface
  • “Floating” Display
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Wireless Android Auto
  • USB Type-C Terminals
  • Quick Wake Up
  • Rear View Camera Ready with Adjustable Parking Guidelines
  • iDatalink Maestro Compatible
  • Enhanced 5V 3-pre Out Connectivity
  • Five-beam Frame Structure & Dynamic Air Diffuser

The Sony XAV-9500ES took home top honors at SEMA 2021

A person laid back in a car playing with the Sony XAV-9500ES
Sony XAV-9500ES | Sony

The Sony XAV-9500ES made its initial debut back in June when the brand made its formal announcement. However, the versatile head unit made waves at this year’s Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show when it took home the top spot for the “Best Mobile Electronics” product.

Sony’s premium head unit bested other worthy products like the Cube GPS Tracker from Cube Tracker and the Interior Ambient Lighting package from VAIS Technology. This goes to show that Sony is definitely putting a lot of engineering and effort into its mobile audio products and aims to bring the success of its home devices into customers’ cars.

“Sony’s Mobile ES series raised the bar for the premium in-car listening experience when it was previously introduced and it continues to impress our customers,” said Daisuke Kawaguchi, Vice President of Home Entertainment & Sound, Sony Electronics Inc., in a press release. “With the addition of this new receiver, we add even further depth to this impressive lineup.” 

The Sony XAV-9500ES’ cost and compatibility

The Sony XAV-9500ES Equalizer settings

Sony XAV-9500ES | Sony

While we can clearly see that the Sony XAV-9500ES has plenty of features that are good enough to win awards, it’s the head unit’s versatility that makes it so special. Many cars, new and old, utilize the smaller single-DIN head unit slots that make it tough to find a unit with a screen. But the Sony XAV-9500ES can fit into nearly any car with a single-DIN slot, provided that everything gets wired up correctly. What’s even better is that the display can swivel up and down to clear your car’s HVAC controls or other buttons.

If you like what you see and can’t wait to get your hands on this head unit, then the good news is that you won’t have to wait long. The Sony XAV-9500ES will be on sale this month at a number of car audio retailers, like Crutchfield, and it will retail for $1,299.99, which also includes a three-year warranty.


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