Christmas Round-Up: 2013 Pioneer Double DIN Car Stereos

In-car entertainment has come a long way from switching on an AM radio. New double DIN touchscreen car stereos have the Internet, maps, DVD players, hands-free phone calls, and digital music players all rolled into a single unit. Such units, including Pioneer double DIN car stereos, have changed the way you experience automobiles. It is now difficult to imagine car rides without them.

When it comes to finding the perfect holiday gift for the car audio and video enthusiast on your shopping list, look no further than this holiday guide for Pioneer double DIN head units.

Pioneer is widely respected as the leader in high-end car audio and multimedia units. The 2-DIN car stereos below represent the cutting edge of in-car entertainment and are poised for compatibility with emerging technology for years to come. You can be confident that Pioneer receivers are immune from early obsolescence.

There is a product for every price range on this list but that doesn’t mean every model is perfect for you. Make sure you will be able to take advantage of all of the features of these products. They all interface with the music stored on iPods, iPhones, and Androids, a handy way to enjoy music libraries you already own.

It’s important to remember the DIN size for any automobile you plan on buying for. 1-DIN is a slot that is two inches tall and seven inches wide, which is the size of a standard car stereo. Most of the models on this list are double DIN head units, with a few single DIN units (the X6500 and X7500). A single DIN Pioneer unit isn’t a step down. In fact, they offer many of the same features as the full sized head units, as you will see.

Pioneer AVH-X1600DVD

The X1600 is the baseline double DIN head unit in the Pioneer DVD receiver product line.

Features include a 6.1 inch touchscreen with built-in WVGA display, standard technology for all the screens on Pioneer double din car stereos. MIXTRAX provides a constant DJ mix of your music library and lets you interface with it, using scratch effects, just like a real DJ.

With AppRadio, you have full access to all the information on your iPhones and iPhone 4S. The unit is fully compatible with the AVIC-U250 navigation unit, which is sold separately. These features are standard for the best double DIN head units from Pioneer.

Pioneer AVH-X1600DVD double din receiver


Buy it now

$204 from Amazon

Pioneer AVH-X2600BT

The X2600 car stereo with Bluetooth capitalizes on the strengths of the X1600 and adds Bluetooth capabilities, for the ultimate in hands free technology. Simply place your registered Bluetooth capable device in close proximity to the stereo and enjoy conversations with friends and family without the distraction of the cell phone.

Bluetooth also allows you to transmit music from your phone to your infotainment center. As long as the phone is within range of the receiver, you can enjoy seamless streaming for phone calls, navigation, music, and much more. Bluetooth may experience some interference from neighboring transmitters, but the range is so small that this is rarely a problem.

Pioneer AVH-X2600BT double din receiver


Buy it now

$265 from Amazon

Pioneer AVH-X3600BHS

The X3600 puts you one step closer to taking advantage of all your digital media. The built-in HD radio tuner increases the quality of radio signals you can receive with a Pioneer double DIN touchscreen. HD radio uses neighboring radio frequencies to transmit digital information. This can include artist and album information, as well as additional audio information, for the highest fidelity audio experience a radio can provide. The AVH-X3600BHS is also SiriusXM-ready (you need a subscription and the optional tuner).

The display is fully customizable, as is the sound. Thanks to Auto-EQ, the sound is equalized for your car interior (upholster type, speaker type, etc.). The device also offers Advanced App Mode for your iPhone and built-in control of your iPod from the headunit.

Pioneer AVH-X3600BHS double din receiver

Pioneer AVH-X3600BHS

Buy it now

$380 from Abt

Pioneer AVH-X4600BT

Distracted driving is a major cause of accidents and any tools you can use to reduce your interaction with a phone improve your safety. Siri Eyes Free technology creates a completely hands free environment so you can keep your hands on the wheel, while enjoying the AVH-X4600BT.

This Pioneer double DIN navigation and entertainment center also includes Mixtrax and Bluetooth, as well as AppRadio, Advanced App Mode (including Pandora) and iPod, iPhone and iPad control. This and the remainder of models in this product line include a standard seven-inch screen. They also allow you to customize the display endlessly, and customize the sound to your car, as we mentioned before. The Advanced Sound Retriever and 8-band graphic EQ enable you to get an even greater sound.

When choosing any of these models, keep in mind the functionality of the smart phone interface. Depending on how you or the end user intends to hook up their phone, there are several options, but they may require some adaptation on the part of the owner. Check to see that the recipient of one of these receivers is prepared to use AppRadio, or whether they need one of the optional upgrade kits to accompany the receiver.

Pioneer AVH-X4600BT double din receiver


Buy it now

$351 from Amazon

Pioneer AVH-X5600BHS

Features of the X5600 include all the powerful capabilities of the X3600 with a seven-inch screen. All the standard Pioneer head unit features are here, including Siri Eyes Free, Advanced App Mode (so you can use your smartphone’s navigation app), HD radio tuner and Sirius XM compatibility. The X5600 is ready to link out to other devices, like secondary screens with three Hi-Volt RCA pre-outs, making this product perfect for larger vehicles with multiple zones.

The X5600, like many Pioneer double DIN car stereos, is Mirrorlink certified. Don’t be confused about this terminology! Mirrorlink is just the standard for smart phone and infotainment compatibility set by the Car Communication Consortium. Mirrorlink standards include a variety of connectivity mediums, including Bluetooth as the benchmark for communication between your smart phone and your Pioneer double DIN head unit. The automotive industry has signaled that it is prepared for full Mirrorlink integration into cars in 2014, which will make it the industry standard.

Investing in a Mirrorlink certified device now is an investment in future compatibility with new products as they enter the market.

Pioneer AVH-X5600BHS double din receiver


Buy it now

$480 from Abt

Pioneer AVH-X6500DVD

When space is at a premium with only a single DIN slot available, the X6500 is one of the best in high-end car audio. These units are intended as in console devices but still deliver many of the features associated with the larger 2-DIN head units. How does it work? Well, the CD/DVD receiver (which has a removable faceplate) fits into a single-DIN slot, but when you press a button, a 7” retractable LCD touchscreen motors out, which is insanely cool. And it’s intuitive as well, as you can make changes by tapping, swiping or dragging your finger along the user-friendly menus.

Smart phone connectivity is plentiful, with AppRadio Mode in full effect. The X6500 lacks an HD radio tuner or Sirius XM connection, but it is ready for any multiscreen tasks with three Hi-Volt RCA outs. Again, the sound is customizable to your precise tastes and can adapt to your sound system with 6-channel preamp outputs.

Pioneer AVH-X6500DVD single din car stereo with retractable touchscreen


Buy it now

$320 from Amazon

Pioneer AVH-X7500BT

If you need more powerful and extensive features than the X6500 in the same ‘single DIN with a retractable 7” touchscreen’ package, the X7500 is for you. Just like its little brother, it features three RCA outs and smart phone connectivity with AppRadio Mode. But it represents a step up with Mixtrax and Bluetooth streaming. If you want full interface with an iPhone 5, there is a set of upgrades and updates to accomplish that.

Pioneer AVH-X7500BT single din car stereo with retractable touchscreen

Pioneer AVH-X7500BT

Buy it now

$370 from Amazon

Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS

As the top-of-the-line in Pioneer double DIN touchscreen car stereos, the X8500 offers all the most desirable features of this product line in one comprehensive package.

Familiar features include the seven-inch touchscreen, Mixtrax, Bluetooth connectivity, integrated HD radio tuner and SiriusXM compatibility, plus all the features you need for hands free driving. It’s even compatible with the iPhone 5 through a special Pioneer cable. Uniquely, the AVH-X8500BHS also has dual-zone A/V capabilities, so you can listen to your music in front while others watch a movie in the back seat.

These 2 DIN car stereo features are rounded out with dual rear USB ports and an SD Card drive to utilize your entire media collection. You’ll also be glad to know you can keep your unit secure with Detachable Face Security technology when you’re away from the vehicle. The X8500 is one of the best double DIN head units on the market, especially considering its relatively-low price of $465.

Pioneer AVH-X8500BHS double din receiver


Buy it now

$465 from Amazon

What Customers Are Saying

Pioneer customers are impressed by the increased options and functionality of these single and double DIN head units, noting that they are a generation ahead of the previous Pioneer products.

The main selling point for most people is the interface with their phones, upon which opinion is divided. There are a number of options for smart phone control and an equal number of apps out there. Some people find AppRadio cumbersome, since it completely bypasses phone controls while leaving the phone display on and draining the battery.

Depending on the phone or system, this might not be a problem. Some customers have backtracked from the AppRadio system to use a simpler interface, or used a different app to meet their needs. It is widely acknowledged that these Pioneer DVD receivers offer plenty of options to suit individual needs.

Aside from smart phone integration issues, customers report great experiences with these Pioneer double DIN car stereos. The sound is excellent on these units, even with Bluetooth streaming, a notoriously low fidelity medium. Customers also rave about the high quality of the touch screen display, which is incredibly responsive and complete with vivid color and definition.


To make a gift of one of the best double DIN car stereos even more powerful, consider adding on to the purchase with some of these ideas:

  • Sirius XM subscription – Even though many of these units are ready to receive Sirius XM signals, a subscription is still required. Check out some of the exciting introductory offers from Sirius and give the gift of over 160 channels of music satellite streaming.
  • Optional iPhone 5 kit – Hooking up an iPhone 5 is different than earlier models of iPhones. The iPhone 5 users will appreciate the ability for full integration with their Pioneer DVD receiver.
  • Additional Screens – With larger vehicles, it’s hard for every body to watch a seven-inch screen. Keep the entire family within easy view of the action by adding screens to your system.
  • Speakers – There are so many options for speakers to enhance the experience of these DVD receivers. Consider upgrading their system for the best in-car experience possible.
  • Installation – To install these receivers and head units, there is no substitute for the expertise of a professional. Sign them up for an installation so they can start using their head unit immediately.

This holiday season, give the gift of hundreds of enjoyable and memorable car rides. When your loved ones spend so much time in their vehicle, it is worth making that time painless. From short commutes to extended road trips, the features of these Pioneer DVD receivers increase the quality of car time immeasurably.

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