6 Aftermarket Head Unit Setups For The Tacoma

2nd Gen Tacoma Head Unit Upgrade With HD Screen

Update Your Head Unit & Stereo With The Latest Technology With These 6 Options For The 2nd & 3rd Gen Tacoma

This Week’s Topic: Head Unit / Stereo Setups

Welcome back to a new feature post! This week, we are back to look at aftermarket head units for the Tacoma.

Aftermarket head units are not always the first upgrade that comes to mind. If you’re building an off-road or overland rig, you might focus your resources on modifications that can make you trail-ready. However, an aftermarket head unit can be just as useful. That’s especially true for older trucks.

For example, 2020 and prior Tacomas don’t have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. If you haven’t used these interfaces before, they can be a game changer. Not only is it safer to navigate music and contacts compared to using your phone, but it’s also much more convenient for displaying navigation apps. This is a huge bonus for off-roaders and road-trippers alike.

Let’s take a look at a few options. This week, we only had three user submissions, so we chose three additional ones to consider.

1. Jonny Berrios (@jonny.berrios) – Stinger

3rd Gen Tacoma With Stinger Heigh10 Head Unit

Head Unit / Stereo

  • Stinger Heigh10

Tell Us About Your Setup 

The Stinger Heigh10 has been a game-changer in my Tacoma! I ended up picking this head unit because it kept the interior looking OEM while allowing me to have all the luxuries I was looking for. Finding one with Apple CarPlay was especially important.

With this head unit, you have an anytime camera and even connect up to four cameras! For 2020 and older Tacomas, Apple CarPlay was non-existent – so having it now is a big deal. It’s also compatible with wireless CarPlay modules, keeping your USB ports open for charging accessories.

I’m super happy with this head unit and highly recommend it.

2. Andrew Garstang (@ajgarstang) – Jensen

2nd Gen Tacoma with Jensen J1CA9 Head Unit

Head Unit / Stereo

  • Jensen J1CA9

Tell Us About Your Setup 

I went with the J1CA9 because I wanted a physical volume knob and an oversized screen. Upgrading to the bigger screen was the best decision. I also didn’t want to buy a “no-name brand” and this model/brand was the only one that I liked at a reasonable price.

The biggest reason why I upgraded to a new head unit was for the “newer” technology. My 2006 Tacoma had absolutely nothing in the way of technology. With this new head unit, I now have Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a backup camera input, an oversized screen, aux input, Bluetooth, and so much more.

Overall, this was a great upgrade for the Tacoma and I’m super glad I did it!

3. Tanner LaFrance (@the_tacolife) – Boss Audio

2nd Gen Tacoma with Boss Audio Systems BCPA8W Head Unit

Head Unit / Stereo

  • Boss Audio Systems BCPA8W

Tell Us About Your Setup 

The Boss Audio Systems BCPA8W head unit has been a fantastic addition to my Tacoma, enhancing my driving experience in multiple ways.

I actually purchased my truck with this aftermarket head unit. However, I have loved it so much that I never saw the need to change it out or go back to an OEM head unit.

One standout feature it offers over the OEM unit is built-in wireless Bluetooth connectivity, making it incredibly convenient for hands-free calls and music streaming. I’ve been using it for the past three years without a single issue.

Overall, this system has proven to be excellent, delivering superior functionality and ease of use.

4. Editor’s Pick – Phoenix Automotive

Phoenix Automotive 12.1” Vertical Screen Navigation Radio on 3rd Gen Tacoma

Head Unit / Stereo

  • Phoenix Automotive 12.1” Vertical Screen Navigation Radio

More About The Setup 

The Phoenix Automotive 12.1″ vertical screen brings Android 12 fast boot, 5G WiFi, and compatibility across all OEM sound systems, including JBL. With customizable buttons and knobs, steering wheel control, and support for OEM features, this system provides versatile integration. Pretty rad option! Let us know if you run this system.

4. Editor’s Pick – Alpine

Alpine ILX-F511 Plug & Play Bundle on 3rd Gen Tacoma

Head Unit / Stereo

  • Alpine ILX-F511 Plug & Play Bundle

More About The Setup 

Elevate your audio experience with the Alpine ILX-F511. Its 11″ hi-res touchscreen offers wired and wireless Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth connectivity. You’ll be able to enjoy HD Radio, Pandora, SiriusXM, and a hassle-free upgrade with pre-wired bundles and a reliable 3-year warranty.

6. Editor’s Pick – Sony

Sony XAV-9500ES Plug & Play Bundle on 3rd Gen Tacoma

Head Unit / Stereo

  • Sony XAV-9500ES Plug & Play Bundle

More About The Setup 

Upgrade your stereo with the Sony XAV-9500ES. Featuring a stunning 10.1″ HD anti-glare touchscreen, it boasts wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless media access. With powerful amplification and wired/wireless smartphone connectivity, this system delivers exceptional audio-visuals.

Final Thoughts

Jensen J1CA9 Head Unit on a 2nd Gen Tacoma

That wraps up this feature!

Upgrading to a new head unit is great to not only modernize your build and make it stand out but also to get all of the modern technology that you have been missing out on. Most notably, Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto. Heck, maybe even Bluetooth!

Depending on your budget, you could get away with an inexpensive head unit. Or, you could opt for a higher-end unit with all of the bells and whistles. Regardless, with so many options on the market, there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for you!

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