Historically, in-car infotainment lags far behind other consumer electronics. Then, Google and Apple both rolled out software to mirror mobile apps on a car’s infotainment screen. If a car is equipped with Android Auto, you can pair your Android device with the vehicle. Then, in using the Android Auto interface or Google Assistant you can run navigation, messenger, or streaming apps. Android Auto is a convenient and safe way to access your phone while in the car. But what do you do if your car does not have Android Auto? You can upgrade an older car to an Android Auto radio system. Then, you can simply connect your phone to your new system. Here are the best aftermarket Android Auto radio units.
Best all-around Android Auto radio: Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX
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Like more expensive radios–also called head units–this Pioneer offers wireless Android Auto. It also features a 6.9-inch touchscreen. This Android Auto radio even features a traditional disc drive for CD/DVD aficionados. The Pioneer AVH-4500NEX costs $895. Looking for more cost-effective quality? Check out the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX for just $440. Finally, at $350 the Alpine ILX-W650 is the cheapest double DIN unit with a modern, capacitive touchscreen.
Best widescreen single-DIN Android Auto stereo: Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX
Most recent cars have “double DIN” stereo openings, designed for large units with a display. These dashboards could theoretically fit two traditionally-sized stereo units stacked. Older cars have a “single DIN” stereo opening, half as tall. If you have one of these older cars, there are many single-DIN-sized Android Auto radios.
Some of these single-din-sized Android Auto radios have a tiny screen. Others have a flimsy fold-out screen. But the best single Din stereos have a floating touchscreen. Take a look at the Pioneer DMH-WT8600NEX. This head unit has a 10.1-inch 720p widescreen. Firstly, it fits in a single DIN dashboard. Then, its screen rides on an adjustable bracket system.
At $1,199, this Android Auto radio is not cheap. But it is state-of-the-art with USB-C and mini-HDMI connectivity. It can connect to steering wheel controls. It even supports multiple cameras. The DMH-WT7600NEX may fit better in smaller vehicles. On a tighter budget, the $949 Alpine Halo9 iLX-F309 is worth a look.
Luxury-level Android Auto radio head unit: Kenwood Excelon DNX997XR
The top of the market is the Kenwood Excelon DNX997XR. It costs a whopping $1,500. But this stereo head unit is much more than an Android Auto radio.
This Kenwood radio puts a built-in Garmin GPS navigation system at your fingertips. Kenwood even includes three years of Garmin subscription with the purchase.
With several hard buttons, this double DIN unit only has room for a 6.75-inch screen. But the crisp touch screen offers 720p of resolution. In addition to Android Auto, you can pair your phone as a remote to operate the Kenwood stereo.