Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been discontinued. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
The Clarion CZ702 lives up to the Clarion reputation for high-fidelity audio. Though it doesn't have as many customizable equalizer bands as the best car stereos, the audio quality is excellent. While the amplifier is only average, the output signal is among the strongest we reviewed, making for a clean signal with little unwanted noise. You can play almost every form of audio, and the smartphone integration with Bluetooth is comprehensive.
The maximum power output is 200 watts, which is similar to Kenwood eXcelon, and the continuous power output is 76 RMS watts. While those power ratings are average for a car sound system, the 5-volt pre-out voltage is among the best available. Only the Sony MEX stereo has a comparable voltage. The strong voltage means your speakers get a much cleaner signal to play than you get with weaker pre-out voltages. In addition, the CD player has a signal-to-noise ratio of 94 dB, which means that the desired signal is 94 dB greater than any unwanted signals, which are usually heard as hums or buzzing from the speakers. With such a high S/N ratio, the CD player provides some of the best audio you'll find in a car stereo.
Despite having great audio, the CZ702 only has five EQ bands for you to control. For comparison, the best car audio systems have 10 to 13 EQ bands. Since cars have unique acoustic landscapes, you want to have as much control over the audio frequencies as possible. Fortunately, you have 12 dB of leeway to enhance or diminish those EQ bands, which is more than any car stereo we reviewed. This is most noticeable in the bass preset. If you want big, punchy bass, it delivers.
The Clarion CZ702 gives you many different playback options. You have the traditional AM/FM radio, a CD player, a USB port, an AUX port and Bluetooth streaming. It features complete Pandora and iPad controls. Unfortunately, the USB port is in the rear, which means you have to wire a USB cord from behind the dash. This isn't very easy with many cars. It can't play WAV or AAC files from the USB port either. It has features and controls designed for HD Radio and SiriusXM radio, but you have to purchase and install the receivers separately.
The Clarion CZ702 has only average power ratings of 200 max watts and 76 RMS continuous watts, but the audio quality rivals the best car stereos on the market. With only five EQ settings, you don't have a lot of control over the customization of your audio. However, the Bluetooth connectivity for calling and controlling apps like Pandora is comprehensive.