The Best GPS for Your Car

by Barrett

What a difference a week makes! If you think this is the same photo as last time, look again. This new GPS interface is sweet…

What a difference a week makes! If you think this is the same photo as last time, look again. This new GPS interface is sweet…

Yes, I’ve apparently gone against the general flow of the rest of the planet, and I’ve decided to buy another car GPS to replace my old Garmin. Sure, a smartphone can often handle your navigation. (But not always)

And with social-enhanced traffic and navigation apps like Waze, your phone can suddenly possess a ‘Borg’-like awareness from the “Star Trek” universe.

But I’ve got my six reasons to remain a stick in the mud.
And I’m sticking to them…

I know many of you may already have a GPS bolted into your car’s dashboard. So you’re essentially stuck with what you’ve got.

For the rest of you, let’s go shopping!

Go Garmin
Acknowledging the “Better with the Devil You Know” strategy, I decided to focus on another Garmin…
(By most accounts, Garmin is the leader in this category… so you really can’t go wrong.)

The current Garmin choices divide up mostly between the “DriveSmart” and “Drive” model lines. And then you’ve got to choose between 5, 6 or 7” screens.

Though this is not Garmin’s top of the line, it’s more expensive than the Drive models. For sixty dollars more, you’re essentially getting:

  • Bluetooth hands-free calling
  • Voice Activate navigation
  • Pinch to zoom display

For my needs…

  • I already have a Bluetooth connection from my iPhone to my RAV4’s sound system.
  • Voice navigation sounds exceptionally cool, but I don’t believe it’s so agile that you can speak an entire address. I think it’s more like saying… “Gas Station!”
    (If I’m wrong on that, someone please let me know…)
  • And pinch to zoom is also not a ‘must.’

The Drive model line hits the sweet spot for me.

The base 5” model is a ‘reasonable’ $129.99. For that…you’re getting all that you really need to get you where you’re going. You don’t have to ask it where the nearest cappuccino is!
(Though you can still tap in your restaurant urges.)

Lifetime Map and Traffic Alert Updates
Garmin also packages in some after-purchase subscription services into the pricing of their units. Where as once upon a time you had to buy your map updates or shell out more money each year for Garmin’s traffic-alert service, now you only have to pay a ‘little’ more when you buy the GPS.

I highly recommend you take advantage of this packaging.

The hard part is figuring out the acronyms attached to the model names.
Here’s how it works…

It’s Lifetime Maps and Traffic.

So LM = Lifetime Maps
And LMT = Lifetime Maps and Traffic

Okay, maybe that’s not so complicated!

Garmin Drive 50LMT
The last time around, I was wooed by some of the optional features and then didn’t end up using them.
So think about what you’ll actually use…

Considering all of above, the Garmin Drive 50LMT really stood out for me.

It doesn’t have the extras that may be ‘cutting edge,’ but I probably won’t use.
And it does come with the lifetime maps map updates and traffic.

Plus it’s got Foursquare functionality baked in to help my wife and me find a good restaurant for dinner when we’re driving back from a day trip.

This Garmin Drive sports a 5” screen, which is actually a tad larger than my old Nuvi’s 4.3” screen.

It lists for $169.99 at Garmin’s site.

And Amazon’s got it at the same price point… $169.99.

For an extra ten bucks, you can also get Canadian maps integrated into the unit’s memory.
(Can you say family road trip?!)

What’s not to like?


The Right Choice for Me
For those of you out there who still think I’m crazy for spending so much, remember
the base Garmin Drive 50 model goes for only $129.99 on Amazon. No you don’t get any lifetime updates… but you’re if you’re into living in the moment, you’ll be in really good shape… for a while.

And don’t forget…“Lifetime” is a relative term in the technology world. It’s certainly not forever, but if you get three to four years out of it, I say you’re doing okay…
(My old Garmin lasted a lot longer than that.)

But other than the “LMT” upgrade, I think I held the line pretty well this time around.

“Best” doesn’t always mean having the “most.”

For me, this is the best Garmin GPS unit available today.