Car headunits for every budget - evo Essentials
Need to upgrade your in-car entertainment? Here are five options to shortlist
Amazingly, there are still vehicles on sale with traditional single- and double-DIN audio and entertainment setups, rather than fully built-in systems. And of course, there are huge numbers of older vehicles still using such arrangements too.
This means there's still a large aftermarket for in-car audio, though the industry has moved with the times and now offers niceties such as DAB and navigation. Better still, some are compatible with services like Apple Carplay and Android auto - meaning your older performance car can potentially match the functionality of the very newest vehicles.
We've looked at a selection of products currently available, from those that'd suit a more subdued interior or older car, to the latest touchscreens.
If you aren't convinced by the touchscreens that pervade the double-DIN choices, this unit may be ideal. With DAB, Bluetooth, CD and iPhone and Android compatibility (via either USB or near-field communications) it has all the features you need, plus satisfyingly large, clear buttons. You can change the illumination colour to match your cabin, too.
Autosound radio CD with Bluetooth
An affordable alternative to the likes of Becker's Europa and ideally suited to classic vehicles. With CD, Bluetooth and a USB input, you've got several options for listening to music, though unlike others here there's no DAB. Those put off by tiny switches will appreciate the large knobs and substantial preset buttons.
Don't let the simple look deceive you - this JVC unit packs not only CD and DAB capabilities, but easy compatibility with Android and iPhones (with a wired mic for Siri functions) and Bluetooth connection. Don't like the blue graphics? You can also change the background illumination colour.
In Connectivity in evo 216, we looked at the pros and cons of factory-fit and aftermarket infotainment. Pioneer's offering is a good argument for the latter: it has a clear, 6.2-inch capacitive touchscreen with Apple CarPlay, letting you use your phone's maps, music and messaging functions. It's Android-compatible too and lets you hook up a rear-view camera.
This is about as slick and unobtrusive as you can get in the single-DN headunit world these days: A classy black finish and white illumination. It has the obligatory DAB receiver and will hook up easily to iPhones with USB. With Kenwood's Music Control Android app you can even control the unit's functions from your phone.