Jeep Wrangler is an amazing SUV with lots of talents, but a high-quality audio system isn’t one of them. If you’re an audiophile who wants to install a brand-new third-party radio and have some rock’n’roll music backing you up on the road, I have just the right stuff. In a search for the best aftermarket radio for Jeep Wrangler, our experts manually tested dozens of devices from leading brands and picked the following three.
They are reliable, technologically advanced, and will become trusty partners on your next off-road journey. The list includes two radios from Sony and one from Alpine, and while they’re all worth every single penny, there are some differences that I’ll need to get into. A quick note: these are receivers, not just regular radios – that means you’ll get more useful features. And now that I’ve got that out of the way let’s begin!
Best Aftermarket Radio for Jeep Wrangler (Updated July, 2020)
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Best Aftermarket Radio for Jeep Wrangler Review
First up, I’ve got Sony’s AX5000 receiver. As the name suggests, it’s fully compatible with Apple’s Car Play and Android’s Auto. However, I have to say that while it’s very easy to connect your Smartphone and enjoy the extended functionality, Android Auto doesn’t work properly on this device. During my test, I was disappointed by the performance: the app locks up, forcing you to plug-unplug the phone for it to work again.
This is rather sad, as everything else in AX5000 works flawlessly. You’ve got dual USB ports that can simultaneously feed two devices. The interface is very fast, straightforward, includes voice controls, and the overall design deserves praise. The price-tag is reasonable, and given Sony’s high standards for quality, this receiver will last forever. If you’re a fan of Car Play, you might not even notice all those Android-related issues.
AX5000 comes with a flawless user interface, a big, high-res display, and a long list of features. With it, you can check out the map, make phone calls, and it’s also Sirius XM Radio-friendly. The biggest downside – Android Auto doesn’t work like it’s supposed to and may turn what could’ve been a fun trip into a disaster. Sony did promise to fix that, but even the latest updates couldn’t get everything right. Still, all in all, this receiver is a good investment for your bucks.
The next multimedia receiver on my list is Alpine with the iLX-W650 model. The engineers did a wonderful job with the shallow-mount design, and, as a result, the device can easily mount to almost any Jeep model you own. Another standout feature is the brick-strong body: the radio won’t break when you accidentally drop it to the floor. And what about the features, you might ask – what does Alpine has in stores for us?
Like the previous receiver, W650 fully supports Android Auto and Car Play. But, in contrast to AX5000, you won’t have any problems with either of the systems. Sadly, the user interface is pretty “pale”, especially compared to what Sony has to offer. The menus, buttons, and various options work smoothly (along with the built-in voice controls), but the interface is very dull and doesn’t have many animations, color changes, customization options, or anything like that.
If you’re a fan of bright, trendy, animated user interfaces, this iLX receiver won’t be a good pick for you. On the other hand, if you put reliability, usability, and durability first, you might want to give this device a closer look. It comes with all the necessary features (Bluetooth support, Auto, CarPlay) and offers great value for the price.
Last but not least, I have the DSX receiver. With this gadget, Sony took a slightly different approach and decided to make it as compact as possible. Plus, DSX boasts above-average sound quality and dual Bluetooth compatibility. That means you can connect two phones at the same time. Features like EXTRABASS, a 10-band EQ (equalizer), and voice controls are even more reasons to consider it.
This receiver works flawlessly with both (Android) Auto and (Apple) Car Play. The sad part is – Bluetooth connectivity leaves a lot to be desired. The interface tends to “act up” in the middle of the road, which can be quite frustrating. The device fully supports NFC and will instantly connect your phone. But, again, Bluetooth is spotty and acts strangely every now and then. That’s pretty much the only con in an otherwise excellent device, though.
Sony’s DSX is compact, feature-packed, and includes a high-power amp for rich sound. Dual Bluetooth compatibility is another standout feature; sadly, Bluetooth doesn’t always work properly. If you’re ready to let that one go, you’ll get to enjoy this receiver, and it will be money well spent. If not, I recommend looking elsewhere.
And that concludes my list of the best aftermarket radios/receivers for the legendary Jeep Wrangler. As we learned today, Sony and Alpine have some serious trumps up their sleeves and offer great deals for regular drivers. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, big, Smartphone-like interfaces, and Bluetooth connectivity – those are just some of the features available with these devices. And, thanks to ever-increasing competition, the price-tags are relatively affordable.
Don’t rush it, though: take your time, go over the list once again, and pay extra attention to the pros and cons. If you’ve got some knowledge to share with our readers, I encourage you to speak up in the comments section. I, in turn, will make sure to answer whatever questions you’ve got.