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Best in-dash navigation stereos for 2024

Check out our customer favorites and best-sellers

In this article... we'll discuss four of our customer favorites for in-dash navigation receivers:

  1. Get your wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto fix with all the extras – Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX
  2. Versatility and excellent sound let this Alpine stand out – Alpine INE-W970HD
  3. Built-in Garmin plus plenty of options makes this receiver extra user-friendly – Kenwood Excelon DNX697S
  4. Boss combines value with practicality with this handsome receiver – Boss BV960NV

What makes them top sellers and sure bets for your next road trip or commute? Let's find out!

More and more newer vehicles come with double-DIN (4" tall) dash openings, so why wouldn't you want to take advantage of that real estate with a spiffy and helpful new in-dash navigation receiver? You'll not only get great maps and guidance that'll work even when your phone can't provide directions, but you'll also have significant upgrades in sound and smartphone integration, especially with Android Auto™ and/or Apple CarPlay®.

In most cases, you'll also enjoy the ability to hook up a rear-view camera, or play video content from your phone, a thumb drive, or a DVD while you're parked. Many nav receivers also work with the iDatalink Maestro interface module, which lets you keep your car’s factory features, and in some cases will add vehicle performance gauges not available to you before.

As a starting point, here are four recent models which have delivered high customer satisfaction ratings. After reading this article, if you want a deeper dive into what to look for when shopping for a new GPS stereo, check out our in-dash navigation buying guide.

What makes these in-dash nav favorites?

The navigation models we highlight below are not only some of our best-selling stereos. They have also earned an average Crutchfield customer rating of 4 (or more) stars*, which means that our customers really like the receivers once they've spent some time with them.

Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX navigation receiver

Pioneer AVIC-W8600NEX – Wireless compatibility for Apple and Android fans alike

What you need to know: Pioneer's AVIC-W8600NEX sports a 6.94" capacitive touch display, perfect for controlling Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, which can both be employed wirelessly. It also works with up to two cameras, including a dash cam. And it’s compatible with both SiriusXM satellite radio and the iDatalink Maestro module.

Navigation features: Pioneer uses HERE guidance, which includes over 12 million points of interest and coverage across all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Canada. Built-in real-time traffic updates keep you aware of possible delays, and spoken speed limit warnings help you stay on the right side of the law.

Phone integration features: As mentioned, it works with both wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto using a native Wi-Fi network. Pioneer's sweet WebLink app compatibility gives you in-dash access to more apps, including YouTube and Yelp. For Android phone owners, Wi-Fi Miracast lets you mirror your phone's screen on the receiver's display without a wired connection.

Audio features: This Pioneer boasts a 13-band EQ and the ability to use AutoEQ (with an optional microphone) to tune for your car's specific interior. It also offers time correction and listening position adjustments, as well as programming pre-set volume levels for different sources. And for those who enjoy better-than-CD-quality audio, it plays hi-res lossless digital files.

Alpine INE-W970HD navigation receiver

Alpine INE-W970HD – All-around performance

What you need to know: Alpine's INE-W970HD packs a 6.5" capacitive touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. A built-in HD Radio™ tuner and satellite radio compatibility lets you get more from your favorite stations. Its HDMI input allows for screen mirroring with select Android phones, along with connection to an external video player.

Navigation features: Guidance across the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, including 3D terrain views and 3D representations of buildings and landmarks, plus lane information and signpost guidance.

Phone integration features: The INE-W970HD offers wired operation of both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so you can count on easy access of your favorite apps and phone functions via the touchscreen or your voice.

Audio features: A 24-bit digital-to-analog processor ensures a smooth, accurate signal, and you get high- and low-pass crossovers to customize your sound. Alpine adds a 3-band EQ and a bevy of sonic changeups, including time correction.

Kenwood Excelon DNX697S navigation receiver

Kenwood Excelon DNX697S – Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus Excelon benefits

What you need to know: The Kenwood Excelon DNX697S boasts a highly user-friendly interface for switching sources and making quick adjustments. Its 6.75" touchscreen display puts all your media favorites right at your fingertips. It'll work with up to three different cameras, and Kenwood backs it with a 2-year warranty.

Navigation features: Kenwood loads this receiver with guidance by Garmin, one of the most trusted names in GPS. It boasts spoken street names at turns, lane assistance, realistic views of complicated intersections, and 3D terrain views. You even get three years of free map updates from Garmin with your stereo purchase. It also offers optional traffic reports through the INRIX smartphone app.

Phone integration features: This receiver works with wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Kenwood also allows screen mirroring for both iPhone and Android devices via a smartphone app and wired connection, and Android users can even control the phone via the stereo and vice-versa.

Audio features: Got high-resolution (24-bit/192kHz) FLAC or WAV music files? This Kenwood can play 'em. It also offers a 3-way crossover so you can funnel frequencies to subs, woofers, and tweeter if you're amplifying them separately. The Excelon badge means this Kenwood packs gold-plated 5-volt preamp outputs for better signal transfer, not to mention a 13-band EQ. You also get an HD Radio™ tuner built in, plus compatibility with SiriusXM satellite radio.

Boss BV960nv navigation receiver

Boss BV960NV – navigation with value and practicality

What you need to know: The receiver's finger-friendly 6.2" screen gives you convenient command of your music and maps. This Boss BV960NV offers playback from thumb drives and SD cards, plus a front auxiliary input and disc player. A wireless remote control lets your passengers get in on the action. Need a long warranty? It's covered for 5 years.

Navigation features: Its maps cover the entire U.S. (except Hawaii) and Puerto Rico. It offers spoken street names at turns, so you’ll be sure about your next move. Lane information and signposts provide additional detail.

Phone integration features: Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free streaming and calling, but there’s not a lot of integration beyond that. If you want to listen to music from your phone, you’ll have to either stream it or use the stereo’s auxiliary input.

Audio features: A 10-band EQ lets you make crucial adjustments. The Reverb feature gives your tunes a bit more personality, including a “Bathroom” setting to echo your favorite shower singalongs.

Android Auto map example

With the right GPS system, getting there can be half the fun

If you're ready to make the move to better maps, sound, and phone integration, there are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a navigation stereo:

  • How much do you want to spend? An in-dash navigator that seems like a great value is probably limited in key phone integration features and sonic tweaks. If you don't need to access your favorite apps while driving and are generally not too picky about sound quality, a more expensive model might be overkill.

  • How long do you plan to use it for guidance? Some manufacturers let you update your receiver's maps for free or for a fee. However, if you can't update your maps, your receiver might not be terribly helpful for directions in a few years.

  • What fits your car? You'll need to pick a navigator that fits the dash of your car, which is generally not a problem for most double-DIN dash openings. For some newer vehicles, replacing the factory receiver might be impossible because of climate controls or other features which will be lost. There are a handful of options for single-DIN (2" tall) openings, typically with fold-out screens. Receivers without a disc player are especially easy to fit. Use our Outfit My Car tool to refine your choices.

*customer ratings current as of most recent article update

Let us help you shop

Don't forget to read our in-dash nav buying guide and contact our advisors if you have any questions or to confirm what you need to install a new navigation stereo in your car.

Popular questions customers ask

Yes, when connected via USB or Bluetooth, you can play music from your phone on the radio. And if you're using CarPlay or Android Auto, you can control most music apps from the stereo's touchscreen for a "true" car stereo feel.

Our vehicle database is unmatched. We've taken apart the dashes and door panels of more than thousands of vehicles and measured every space and bolt pattern. We'll also make sure you get the right installation gear when you order.

You'll need a special adapter to keep those handy buttons working with your new stereo. When you shop on our site, we'll show you all the options for installation hardware, including the right adapter for the steering wheel controls.

New stereos will often work with your existing backup camera. We'll let you know before you make your purchase. If your car doesn't already have a camera, you'll find compatible backup cameras under the stereo's "Accessories" tab on our site.

  • Terri from Birmingham

    Posted on 5/21/2022

    Why does my GPS talk while I'm listening to the radio, I know it's supposed to stop the radio when directions are being given??? How do I fix this or how do I turn navigation off entirely?

    Commenter image

    Crutchfield Writing Team from Crutchfield

    on 5/24/2022

    Terri, With questions like that, it's always better to have a conversation with a real live human. If you bought your gear from Crutchfield, you can call Tech Support for free help troubleshooting your system.
  • Zac Powell from Bamberg

    Posted on 5/16/2020

    I'm looking for a radio/gps that allows you to enter multiple destination points and allows you to build a route. Also need the maps to be able to update for free would be nice. What is my best options?

    Commenter image

    Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    on 5/17/2020

    Hi Zac - thanks for your question. Pretty much every in-dash navigation receiver we carry will let you build a route with multiple destination points. Some of them have different names for that function, but if you look at the "Details" page for each receiver, under the "Onboard Navigation" section it should explain how it works. Unfortunately, very few of the in-dash navigation units offer free map updates (beyond the first one, which usually has to be done when registering the device for warranty purposes). The Kenwood DNX997XR offers a 3-year MapCare program from Garmin which offers 3 years of free updates, but that's an exception. An in-person discussion with one of our Advisors will probably be of huge benefit to you here -- give us a call or use the web chat feature on our site during our business hours for one-on-one advice for your vehicle.
  • Michael Jones Jr from SNELLVILLE

    Posted on 4/9/2020

    I have read on multiple site reviews that the Pioneer AVIC-8500NEX doesn't sync wirelessly to Samsung phones, only wired in. Is this accurate for this product.

    Commenter image

    Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    on 4/9/2020

    Hi Michael - thanks for your question. Our Product Research indicates that for the Pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX you can connect Samsung's Galaxy S8/S8+, Galaxy S9/S9+, S10/S10+, and Note 8/9/10 (running Android OS 9.0 Pie or higher and version 4.7 or higher of the Android Auto app) to the Pioneer receiver wirelessly using WiFi and Bluetooth (both wireless connections must be made; a wired USB connection must be made initially between the Android phone and the Pioneer receiver to setup Wireless Android Auto).
    There were indeed some issues with compatibility with Samsung phones when the stereo (which is now a discontinued model) was originally released, but those were rectified in October of 2019 with an Android Auto update. Any reviews you are seeing with those issues were likely made before then.
  • Herb from Sacramento

    Posted on 4/18/2019

    Do any of these radios link to the GPS to provide a list of FM stations that are within range of the car's current location? And, can they be displayed on the moving map so I can select one that is in the direction I am traveling? That would be very useful for driving in the mountains.

    Commenter image

    Dominic DeVito from Crutchfield

    on 4/18/2019

    Hi Herb - As far as we know, there is no radio capability that provides incoming stations or the ability to swap to them via the navigation. Your best bet will to be to use your stereo's Seek/Scan function. Or, if you prefer to have access to certain types of programming at all times no matter where you drive in the continental U.S., check out SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
  • Liz Neubelt from Bristol

    Posted on 1/10/2019

    What does compatible with SiriusXM satellite radio? Will I have to buy another type of receiver in order to use Sirius or is it all set to go when I buy the subscription with Sirius?

    Commenter image

    Alexander H. from Crutchfield

    on 1/10/2019

    Liz, when you see that, it means that you'll need this SiriusXM tuner in addition to the compatible radio and a subscription. If you have any questions about whether a radio you're interested in is SiriusXM-compatible, give one of our Advisors a call.

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