We wouldn’t blame you for questioning whether aftermarket car stereos were still a thing. But given how many older vehicles still have stereos slotted into universal single-DIN mountings, it’s relatively easy (and cost-effective) to give your car a major tech upgrade with a new AV receiver.
Both head units each have a 6.95-inch touchscreen display, but there’s a slight difference in how these screens work. The XAV-AX6000 (pictured above) has a capacitive touchscreen, while the cheaper XAV-AX4000 (below) has a regular, resistive touchscreen. As well as the screens, both units also have a set of physical buttons for adjusting volume, skipping music tracks and returning to the home screen.
Via CarPlay and Android Auto, they both also support voice control, which works through the Siri and Google Assistant apps of your smartphone. Wireless connectivity means these systems fire up and connect when your car is on and your phone is within range. In our experience, this means your mapping and music apps will be ready to go before you’ve reached for the gear selector.
A wired connection is also possible, via a USB-C port, which is handy given how quickly wireless CarPlay and Android Auto can drain a smartphone battery.
If you would rather use your car’s own infotainment, then the Sony head units can cater for that too. Using a system called iDatalink Maestro, the AV receivers connect to your car’s computer and audio systems, then display its air conditioning, performance, safety and other data on their touchscreens.
An HDMI connection in both receivers means you can hook up a laptop, tablet or even a games console for use with the touchscreens while parked, and there’s Bluetooth with support for LDAC, so music can be streamed at up to 96 kHz/24-bit sampling. FLAC (free lossless audio codec) is also supported.
As for audio output, the systems both offer five channels of sound for front and rear speakers, plus a subwoofer. Audio can be fine-tuned with a 14-band equaliser, and levels can be adjusted to match the front, rear and bass outputs to your taste.
Lastly, both Sony receivers can be connected to a rear-facing camera that switches on automatically when reverse gear is selected, complete with adjustable parking guidance lines overlaid on the display.
The XAV-AX6000 will be available from September and is priced at $699.99, while the XAV-AX4000 is $599.999 and will go on sale in August. UK prices have yet to be announced.