Explore Three of the Best Apple CarPlay Stereos by Budget

Many of today’s new cars have built-in Apple CarPlay functionality. First unveiled in 2014, CarPlay from Apple provides a distraction-free way to listen to music while driving. Not only that, it also allows drivers to do so much more. This includes safely making calls, using the maps functionality on their iPhones as integrated navigation, verbally sending and listening to messages and more.

Which Manufacturers Offer Apple CarPlay?

These auto manufacturers offer Apple CarPlay in their new vehicles:
  • BMW
  • Cadillac
  • Ford
  • Honda
  • Hyundai
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Nissan
  • Toyota
  • Volkswagen
  • Volvo
While every major manufacturer is now reportedly licensing the interface, it’s far from universally available. More basic models, for example, may not have an option to specify CarPlay functionality from the factory.
Thankfully, all is not lost. That’s because a growing range of aftermarket CarPlay-enabled stereos now allows consumers to upgrade their cars’ entertainment systems. In the process, they’re afforded a fully integrated Apple CarPlay experience that’s essentially indistinguishable from the one offered with manufacturer-fitted equipment.
The same goes for owners of older cars and trucks, too. As long as it’s possible to upgrade a vehicle’s stereo unit, they can enjoy all that Apple CarPlay has to offer. Prices range from under $300 to upwards of $1,200. With this in mind, here are three of the best Apple CarPlay stereos for your vehicle that suit budgets across the board.

Best Apple CarPlay Stereo on a Tight Budget: Pioneer DMH-1500nex

While the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX may not be the cheapest aftermarket Apple CarPlay stereo out there, it’s among the best-rated on a budget. With a suggested retail price of $380, it offers good value for money. However, those happy to shop around can pick up the popular Pioneer stereo for under $300.
Available for $299.99 at Best Buy, the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX is one of the best budget Apple CarPlay stereos currently on sale. Employing Pioneer’s Networked Entertainment eXperience technology, its innovative user interface is both responsive and highly customizable.
Fully compatible with Apple CarPlay via a wired USB connection, the DMH-1500NEX also works with Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, Pandora, Spotify and SiriusXM (the Sirius tuner is sold separately.) The handsome-looking device utilizes a fixed 6.95-inch touchscreen monitor, a built-in amplifier, and subwoofer control.
Other features include LED backlighting, secure pairing, an option for dual phone connections, home screen shortcut customization, and more. Meanwhile, a separate microphone with a visor-mounted bracket provides the best experience when using the Apple CarPlay functionality to make calls.
Buyers of Pioneer’s $299.99 DMH-1500NEX Apple CarPlay stereos can lock in extended warranty coverage for as little as $28.99 from Upsie.
Thanks to Upsie, consumers can save two-thirds or more on the cost of comprehensive extended warranty protection sold by manufacturers and big-box retailers such as Best Buy.

Best Mid-Range Apple CarPlay Stereo: Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX

At $700, the Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX is priced toward the middle of the Apple CarPlay stereo market. Another best-rated option from the Japanese digital entertainment products brand, this is a testament to Pioneer’s efforts to create among the best car stereos currently out there.
It costs more than double what the Pioneer DMH-1500NEX will set you back, though. So it should come as no surprise that the AVH-W4500NEX packs all of the same functionality as its cheaper stablemate. However, the pricier unit delivers plenty more. For starters, it’s compatible with a range of additional interfaces.
Elsewhere, there’s an input for a rear-view camera – something that looks great on the AVH-W4500NEX’s fractionally larger 7-inch detachable display. A second camera input offers further possibilities, including monitoring a tow vehicle or providing a side view for better lane visibility. A handy remote control is included as well.
In this instance, there are no wires needed to connect to Apple CarPlay either. Instead, it’s possible to sync wirelessly – something not offered on the DMH-1500NEX.
From its motorized, detachable display to its extensive feature set, the Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX represents an excellent choice of Apple CarPlay stereo where rear-view camera integration is particularly important.
Looking for a Pioneer AVH-W4500NEX warranty? Remember to check out Upsie. At Upsie, a comprehensive policy for Pioneer’s $700 AVH-W4500NEX stereo will cost $76.99 for three years of coverage. That’s complete peace of mind, including local repairs and a replacement at no extra cost if your stereo malfunctions and cannot be fixed.

Best Top-of-the-Range Apple CarPlay Stereo: Kenwood DMX1037S

Die-hard music fans looking for Apple CarPlay integration are likely to want the very best stereo available within their price range. While entry-level and mid-range offerings such as those above should suit most people, you can get a spectacular upgrade.
At over $1,200, Kenwood’s flagship device is a great example. The $1,249.99 Kenwood DMX1037S offers an Apple CarPlay experience more akin to that usually reserved for buyers of prestigious automakers’ priciest models. A 10.1-inch high-definition floating panel monitor and four individual camera inputs set the tone for what’s in store.
It’s compatible with Apple CarPlay with support for Android Auto, Pandora, Spotify and more. Connections are made wirelessly across the board, meaning there’s no need to deal with messy cables. With the latest version of iOS installed on a synced iPhone, there’s also support for third-party navigation apps, including Google Maps and Waze.
Further equipped with Kenwood’s intuitive Music Mix feature and Portal App support, the DMX1037S promises superb sound quality that captures and beautifully expresses details and nuances across all frequencies.

The Best Apple CarPlay Stereo for Your Car

From the sub-$300 Pioneer DMH-1500NEX to Kenwood’s $1,200+ DMX1037S, there’s an Apple CarPlay stereo for almost every budget. Be aware that many significantly cheaper aftermarket stereos hinting at CarPlay functionality may not actually employ the licensed Apple interface. Instead, they simply offer a way of connecting an iPhone via Bluetooth or other means. Accordingly, they’re unable to provide anything like the full Apple CarPlay experience.
If you’re shopping around for an Apple CarPlay-equipped aftermarket stereo for under $300, be sure to keep this in mind. Thankfully, the $299.99 Pioneer DMH-1500NEX listed here offers the comprehensive, fully-licensed CarPlay experience at a mostly affordable price. Of course, cheaper Apple-licensed options exist, but many struggle to impress, especially against slightly pricier options. As such, be sure to always check the reviews.
Whichever option you choose, remember to lock in the peace of mind of an extended car electronics warranty. With Upsie, this means comprehensive protection against mechanical failures, broken hardware and more. Don’t overpay for reliable extended warranties. Choose Upsie instead and save up to 70%.

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