Electronics

Best Car GPS Navigation Systems For Road Trips

 

Loing gone are the days where we had to carry large physical maps with us to find the roads to our destination. With the improvement of technology, it’s now much easier. If you like to travel often with your car, then getting the best car gps will be a great investment. Having a good GPS navigator on your car can make the road much easier and fun. That’s why, I decided to list the 5 best ones you can buy right now to change the way your trips go. Let’s take a look at them!

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Which Is The Best Car GPS?

5. Garmin Drive 52

Best Value

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
70%
Value
70%

The American brand Garmin specializes in GPS technology for many industries such as sports, outdoor, marine, aviation and most importantly the automotive industry. Its GPS navigators for cars have been the industry leaders for many years now, and they have designed and manufactured their tech in different price ranges suitable for everybody.

While not exactly in the budget range, the Garmin Drive 52 is one of their cheaper car GPS, however, it delivers huge value for its affordable prices with amazing features, performance, and preloaded maps for the 50 US states and Canada. Let’s take a closer look at this amazing GPS.

The Garmin Drive 52 sports a 5-inch touch-screen display that gives you free access to preloaded maps of the USA and Canada, bundled with millions of point of interest that can be useful to you. The interface is really intuitive and easy to use, you can easily select businesses from the screen without delving deeper into the menus, also right there from the screen you can tap the Up Ahead details for things that can be useful on your routes, such as restaurants, gas stations, car shops and many more.

The major selling point of the Garmin Drive 52 is its free traffic updates that come from the company’s traffic service. It has a huge number of roads in its database and they are updated frequently to give you the best options. It works by incorporating data from other GPS users on the road, road patterns at different times, and many different factors such as events and constructions to help you avoid traffic jams and spending more time in the car than you have to.

On top of that, it will give you alerts about sharp turns, speed camera, railroads, school zones, posted limits on major roads and many more, to help you become a more competent and safe driver.

I was especially impressed by the voice navigation, which was not as robotic and annoying as most of the other GPS navigators. Compared to its listed price, this GPS navigator is a bargain, great work from Garmin.

4. Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX

Best High-End GPS

Our Ratings:

Durability
80%
Quality
80%
Value
85%

The tech giant Pioneer has produced lots of technology for the automotive industry, their car GPS navigators have been one of the best, especially the Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX. This navigator is the very best high-end GPS in the market, no other device can top its features and performances, however, it comes at a hefty price, more than double of its competitors, but if you can afford its premium price point it will make everything worth it.

The Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX is equipped with a 7-inch multi-touch screen that offers you maximum control, from pinch-to-zoom and different actions that we are accustomed to having from our smartphones. For example, with just a simple swipe to screen, you can select the next song or the next screen on the menu, without using the arrow keys.

On top of that, you can set the perfect angle to operate comfortably from the driver’s seat while buckled up, you also have a remote control that is included in the package that lets you control the device without touching the screen.

One of my favourite features of the Pioneer AVIC-8201NEX was the intuitive, convenient NEX interface that offered the most information that I have seen from a GPS. Choosing musical sources was very intuitive and quick because everyone wants to listen to their favourite songs on a road trip. It synchronizes with your smartphone excellently and it even displays your travel-friendly apps on the home screen for convenience automatically.

This GPS features a technology dubbed as “natural voice” for directions, and I found it to be close to a human companion and announces road, landmark, and city names like a human being, not the usual text-to-speech voice. On the screen, for ultimate orientation you will see the 3D landmarks, it offers the best navigation on the market.

Furthermore, in the package, you will get a handy back-up camera so you can park in safely, and you can connect up to two cameras with this device, and a dedicated icon on the screen gives you quick access to it.

The best car GPS on the market, but its sky-high price stops it from being the best overall.

3. TomTom GO 600

Best Portable GPS

Our Ratings:

Durability
85%
Quality
85%
Value
95%

Since more and more users, use their smartphones for navigation and mapping, GPS devices have to make an extra effort to make them stand out. TomTom has been one of those companies that survived this market, with quality products that provide excellent value for their prices. Thier GO 600 has been nothing but excellent, with its large screen, an excellent set of features such as the POI database, great interface and voice commands.

On top of all this, it is one of the most accurate and it is portable so you can transfer it easily from vehicle to vehicle and there are reports that many buyers have done it so for their motorcycles.

The TomTom GO 600 is one of the most compact GPS navigators despite having a large 6-inch colour touch screen. It measures 4.1×6.7×0.9-inches in total and weighs about 10.6-ounces, on the back panel you will find the large speaker and on top you will locate the power button, while the USB port, docking port, and a micro SD slot are located on the bottom part.

The aforementioned screen has 800×480 resolution, which is plenty for the purpose and multi-touch capacitive feature means that you get the same functionality as your smartphone screen.

The menu looks a little overwhelming at first but after a while, it will prove its worth, especially the search function. The point of interest search was one of the best and it displayed countless options such as restaurants, gas station, motels, and other services, it defaults shows POIs that are near your location, but you can search by city, road, latitude, and longitude, and even along your route and near your destination.

The voice control of the TomTom GO 600 was pretty interesting, but it has a learning curve to it, and it is not always on. Moreover, on the screen, you will see miles to the next gas station or other points of interest, road speed limits, and free traffic and speed camera alert to your smartphone.

If you don’t need tons of extra features and just excellent navigation, you can’t go wrong with the TomTom GO 600.

2. Garmin DriveSmart 55

Best Screen

Our Ratings:

Durability
95%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

As we have come to know in recent years none of the Garmin products disappoint, especially their car GPS line. The Garmin DriveSmart 55 is one of the best in their lineup with excellent features, great navigating performance, best in business screen and alerts you about everything that you may need on your trip, from congestions, hazards, staying in contact with friends, and my favorite showing you the location of parking spots near your destination.

The Garmin DriveSmart 55 features a gorgeous 5.5-inch multi-touch capacitive display with 1280×720 resolution, definitely best in the market. The display offers you preloaded maps for all the North American continent, Caribbean Islands and even Hawaii, bundled with countless points of interest, which can be selected by just tapping on the screen without going through the menus. The screen is not excellent just because of its resolution, it is mostly because on top of it rests a pretty smooth glass, that allows you to slide on top of it quickly and efficiently.

One of its major selling points is the built-in WiFi which will save you tons of time when you need to make a software update or a map update, meaning that you will not need to connect the device to a computer when the time comes.

The Garmin DriveSmart 55 also has voice commands you can use for hands-free navigation for safer driving, you can input addresses, select routes and if you have it paired with your smartphone you can take calls and send messages without touching anything. With the Garmin DriveSmart 55, you will get 3D representations of selected building and landmarks, for excellent orientation if you are in a not-so-familiar area.

On top of that, it features Active Lane Guidance, with coloured lines so you will follow correct lines on a highway for the upcoming turn, so you don’t have to switch multiple lanes at once.

Finally, I want to praise the Garmin’s free Drive app, which will, in turn, optimize your trips for your preferences and provide data for the community. This GPS is a definite gem, you will be pleased with its performance.

1. Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT

Best Overall

Our Ratings:

Durability
100%
Quality
90%
Value
95%

On top of our list, we have another Garmin GPS, the Nuvi 2597LMT, it may be one of the newest products on the list but it is a fan favorite, and one of the most highly rated car GPS navigators in Amazon. It features lifetime maps and traffic updates for free, it is Bluetooth compatible, voice-operated commands and countless points of interest with an affordable package, let’s see what else this product offers.

Design and looks-wise, like all Garmin device the Nuvi rocks the same design as well with its rectangular black frame and a grey band on the bottom with the Garmin logo on top of it. It sports a 5-inch touch capacitive screen, that is extremely responsive and sensitive, during my tests it even worked accurately with gloves on.

On top of that, you can use it in both landscape and portrait orientation, but I felt better using it in landscape mode. It also has an anti-glare coating that helps you read the information from the screen even in direct sunlight, which is more than welcome.

As other Garmin GPS navigators, the Nuvi has the Active Lane Guidance feature which is very clear to understand and provides excellent navigation, giving you stress-free cruising in the highways, eliminating last-minute multiple lane changes which can lead to accidents. The Up Ahead feature shows you tons of points of interest along your route, so if you need to make a gas stop, a motel, or a restaurant just tap the on the screen and the Nuvi will provide you options.

Garmin Real Directions is also present on this device, this feature essentially will point out landmarks on your route so you have better orientation in a not-so-familiar city or area. I found it a little difficult to look out for landmarks, in the beginning, however, after a while, I found out that it is very intuitive and easier to navigate.

With its lifetime alerts of traffic congestions, constructions or hazards, on top of the aforementioned features, the Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT has no competition all things considered. Definitely the best car gps that money can buy!

About the author

Diane Myers

Diane Myers

I am Diane, and i love writing and reviewing home & kitchen products. I've always been a fan of technology, so i can say that i love writing!

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