We were getting quite a lot of queries about GPS navigation systems for cars so we thought to write a detailed guide on it with top 10 recommendations.
During the past 4 days, we’ve spent several hours surveying the latest automotive GPS devices and exploring them through user experience. Luckily, we found 10 of the best GPS for the car and it would be the next best accessory in your vehicle.
It’s simply superior to your phone’s GPS apps.
Moreover, more and more people are installing a dedicated GPS in their cars because they can share it with their family members and find it better than their smartphone apps.
Best GPS for Cars 2017
Having a good GPS in your car can do a lot more than just navigating to your destination. It keeps you sane on the road.
So, here is a blend of some of the latest bargains and top models that we think are worth considering in 2017.
|GARMIN Nuvi 55LM||14.4 Ounces||5-Inch||$$$|
|GARMIN Nuvi 2597LMT||6.56 Ounces||5-Inch||$$$|
|TomTom VIA 1535TM||7.7 Ounces||5-Inch||$$$|
|GARMIN Nuvi 65LM||8.64 Ounces||6-Inch||$$$|
|GARMIN Nuvi 52LM||6.4 Ounces||5-Inch||$$$|
|Magellan RM5330T-LM||4.8 Ounces||6.1-Inch||$$$|
|GARMIN Nuvi 2757LM||12.48 Ounces||7-Inch||$$$|
|GARMIN Nuvi 2797LMT||12.48 Ounces||7-Inch||$$$|
|Carelove 7” 790 Updated Version||9.6 Ounces||7-Inch||$$|
|TomTom VIA 1505M World Traveler Edition||7.68 Ounces||5-Inch||$$$|
1: GARMIN Nuvi 55LM 5quot GPS Travel Assistant
The GARMIN Nuvi 55LM is one of the leading units of the Garmin’s series and has a very simple interface and is dead-simple to use. With some clear interface and features such as speed limit alerts it can compliment some popular apps like Google Maps.
There are some perks inside the GPS. It shows you where you were last parked that comes handy if you need to move the car for alternate side of the parking. Moreover, it is very affordable and measures 3.4 by 5.5 by 0.8 inches (HWD) and weighs only 6.4 ounces.
There is a USB charging port, speaker, memory card slot and a mount attachment on the backside of the panel. Its 5.0-inch resistive color touch screen has a resolution of 480 by 272 pixels and gives both horizontal and vertical display. This can be done via settings.
Snapping it is way to easy. There are two parts; one part snaps to the back of the GPS and the other piece on the suction cup. We love its clean interface and that is why it is number one on our list.
- Free lifetime map updates.
- No ads or hidden subscription fees.
- Compatible with many apps.
- User-friendly interface.
- Some users say the software have bugs but the company has already upgraded it.
2: GARMIN Nuvi 2597LMT 5-Inch Portable Bluetooth Vehicle GPS
The GARMIN series continues to fascinate us and so does its GARMIN Nuvi 2597LMT model. It has some incredible characteristics to brag about, though a bit expensive but you won’t regret investing a few extra bucks. It measures 5.4 by 3.3 by 0.76 inches and weighs only 6.6 ounces but has got more thickness but it won’t bother you.
It comes with a plastic mount that attaches directly to the back of the unit featuring a locking ring. The previous model we discussed GARMIN 55 snaps while it mounts. Though it has a 5-inch display with a horizontal and vertical mode but the resolution is slightly low, 480 by 272 pixels. However, you won’t have any issues viewing the navigation.
Once you are on road, its routing performance is excellent. Those fancy 3D map graphics and animations give you a smooth drive. There is a speed indicator as well and lane assistance feature. The voice prompts are clean, loud and smooth. It also gives warning on traffic coming ahead.
- Accurate navigation.
- Friendly voice prompts.
- Flexible 3D lane assistance views.
- Affordable price.
- Low screen resolution.
3: TomTom VIA 1535TM 5-Inch Bluetooth GPS Navigator
The TomTom VIA 1535TM is from the second most popular brands of car GPS systems TomTom and it surely is a good performer on the road. It is a durable unit that will last for several years and comes with lifetime map and traffic updates with no shitty ads or hidden subscriptions.
With a brushed aluminum finish and a thin frame with a flush screen, it gives you a high-end feel in the car. The GPS measures 3.1 by 4.7 by 1.0 inches and weighs only 6.5 ounces. Its 5-inch plastic resistive LCD sports 16:9 widescreen aspect ratio with a 480 by 272-pixel resolution. For a day and night mode, it has attractive color combinations.
You’ll have no issues setting up the route because of its user-friendly operation that requires a few key presses and you are all done to reach your destination. Though I find multiple button presses interface a bit sluggish but it’s still fair enough.
Map graphics and routing performance was impeccable and couldn’t get any better. You’ll experience more color gradients and some additional textures that give you a great using experience with TomTom.
- 100% Accurate routine.
- Lifetime map and traffic updates.
- Better and improved graphics with on-screen fonts.
- Clear voice and highly customizable.
- The touch screen is a bit stubborn.
- Sluggish UI.
4: GARMIN Nuvi 65LM GPS Navigator System
The GARMIN Nuvi 65LM is the latest six-inch widescreen sat-nav from the Essential series and comes at an affordable price. They’ve made it simpler and more affordable and includes multiple maps with lifetime free updates and no ads or subscriptions.
Unlike TomTom, that made some radical changes, GARMIN Nuvi 65LM hasn’t altered its menu system much. The interface is pretty much the same and starts off with two main icons. You can easily navigate through the menu and adjust settings accordingly.
- Affordable bargain for a six-inch sat-nav.
- Lifetime map updates.
- No ads or hidden subscriptions.
- General search both on address and POIs.
- No pedestrian routine.
- No traffic option.
5: GARMIN Nuvi 52LM 5-Inch Portable Vehicle GPS
GARMIN Nuvi 52LM is one of the cheapest satnavs you’ll find on the internet. It comes with free map updates for a lifetime and is fairly priced for such advanced features its hoards inside. Although there is no ads or subscription but you can update to safety camera alerts by paying a few bucks. There is a subscription for this update.
Though it does not offer any connection with the smartphone, thus not giving updates on traffic conditions but overall, it is a handy device in your car. Installation is pretty simple and straightforward. There is a mount with a suction cup that can be attached to the windscreen.
It operates with an internal battery that is rechargeable and is usually connected with the car’s power socket via lead provided inside the box. Moreover, the GPS antenna is also internal and its touchscreen is very responsive. You won’t have any trouble going through its menu, however; a user manual is included for your convenience. While we feel that there are some features lacking like no connection with a smartphone but still it is a great bargain for the price offered.
- Offers lifetime map updates for free.
- No ads and subscriptions.
- Large screen with user-friendly menu options.
- Responsive touchscreen.
- No connection with a smartphone.
- Does not gives alerts on traffic.
6: Magellan RM5330T-LM GPS Navigator
When it comes to a highly-advanced device that actually performs, Magellan RM5330T-LM GPS Navigator is the product that comes to mind. At such an affordable price, you get a 5-inch screen that offers 100% accuracy with a plastic resistive and responsive touch screen featuring 480 by 272-pixel resolution.
The screen may not be a winner for the brightness and color reproduction and may wash out a bit under bright sunlight but works perfectly fine in normal use. There is a DC power connector wire which plugs into its side via a micro USB connector. Having tested its routing and GPS, I can say it is 100% accurate.
The map graphics have some flaws. The colors are a bit bland and the route recalculations are a bit slow. Overall, the routing algorithms are fine and the GPS would take you to your desired destination in no time. The voice prompts are very clear and offers text to speech and loud as well.
One of its features shows traffic delays with a triangle sign to keep you updated. Moreover, you also get free traffic camera alerts for one year, after that, a subscription is charged.
- User-friendly UI.
- Free lifetime map updates.
- Type-ahead address entry works perfectly.
- Traffic and security camera alerts.
- Poor GPS reception.
- Sluggish frame rate.
7: GARMIN Nuvi 2757LM 7-Inch Portable Vehicle GPS
Finding a GPS that has all the features that you need seems unrealistic but GARMIN Nuvi 2757LM can be relied upon for all such features that you need. It comes with some advanced features and extra menu options.
It has an exclusive ecoRoute technology that guides you to your destination 100% accurately. Moreover, it gives updates on speed limit warning and traffic message channel. There are a custom POI and Garmin Garage technology as well with lifetime map updates.
We love its voice prompts that were clear and loud and give proper navigation instructions along with street name announcement. Its 6.1-inch screen has a true color display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels which is excellent. Its touch is very sensitive and responsive as well.
- Lifetime free map updates.
- Large and clear touch screen.
- User-friendly interface.
- Lithium-ion rechargeable battery.
- Two USB ports.
- Slightly expensive.
8: GARMIN Nuvi 2797LMT 7-Inch Portable Bluetooth Vehicle GPS
GARMIN Nuvi 2797LMT is one of the best navigation GPS devices available in the market. Its screen is one of the largest on the Garmin’s range of GPS navigators. The screen is easier to see and the device comes with advanced features.
Its 7-Inch bold screen makes it easier for you to see the icons while driving and makes the information easier for you to read. However, this large screen can create a blind spot because of its size. Its touchscreen is very responsive and has an 800 x 480 pixels resolution.
The Garmin’s Real Directions are pre-installed on GARMIN Nuvi 2797LMT making it easier for you to understand the directions you input. To keep the maps up-to-date comes to four free map updates a year for a lifetime on your device. However, if you need to install additional maps, you have to buy them separately. It also offers lifetime traffic updates.
Overall, the device is a nice one and comes with 10 million points of interest. These are the preprogrammed locations like gas stations, restaurants, etc. It’s simply worth the price paid for.
- Large and high-quality display.
- Landmark guidance program.
- Ability to save multiple routes.
- 10 Million POIs installed.
- Uses plastic resistive LCD screen that does not support multi-touch and scrolling through menus.
9: Carelove 7” 790 Updated Version Car GPS Navigation
Carelove GPS Navigation came early in January 2016 and has gained massive popularity ever since. It is affordable and to be honest, the cheapest GPS system for the car you’ll find in the market. You can choose between the 5” or 7” screen (costs extra) with an 18-month warranty.
Its touch screen is very responsive and the device is very easy to setup and use. There are several planning modes like shortest path, automatic and even high-speed priority just in case you are in a rush. The best part is the device weighs only 1 pound.
With 13 different languages and clear and loud voice prompts, Carelove GPS Navigation is one of the best devices you can invest in 2017.
- Most affordable GPS.
- Large touchscreen.
- 13 Different languages.
- Clear and loud voice prompts.
- Comes with 8GB built in the card, car charger, USB, Back bracket and user manual.
- No drawbacks.
10: TomTom VIA 1505M World Traveler Edition 5-Inch Portable Touchscreen GPS
TomTom offers an exclusive world traveler edition of some of its navigation GPS devices. The TomTom VIA 1505M is one of those devices that comes loaded with maps of U.S., Canada, Mexico and Europe.
It has a 5-inch touchscreen and the body is one-half of an inch wider than the screen. Its display is a plastic resistive screen but it isn’t capable of multi-touch and requires you to press the screen to make any changes.
The screen has a standard resolution of 480 x 272 pixels, which I think is fair enough for a clear display. It also comes with a subscription to map updates for life of the device. However, the navigation system does not include traffic update subscription.
The device is also compatible with traffic updates and you can purchase the antenna and subscription separately. Overall, it is preloaded with enough features for the price paid for. You should definitely give it a try.
- Preloaded maps of US., Canada, Mexico and Europe.
- Free lifetime map updates.
- User-friendly manual.
- Responsive touchscreen.
- Lacks lifetime traffic updates.
- No Bluetooth and ability to accept voice commands.
Car GPS Navigation Buying Guide
When you are buying a car GPS, there are a handful of things to consider. So, we have summed them up for you so that you can make a better decision.
First and foremost, money is all that matters. Good budget: more features, Low budget: fewer features. Most of the people would look for a car GPS system priced under hundred dollars. This means a small screen and scrimps on the features. It’s no use if it comes with outdated maps or no map updates at all.
Your budget has to be fairly good enough to get a device that comes with some smart features. Most of the head units with a built-in GPS navigation are priced slightly high (the ones mentioned above) while other units keep begging you for upgrades. You eventually end up paying the same or more.
2: Integrated GPS Navigation
The majority of the OEM infotainment systems have an integrated GPS navigation but sometimes it might be an option, typically in those high-end aftermarket head units. These units are quite expensive and to be honest, pretty slick as well.
If you hate sticking a device on the dash or windshield, an integrated GPS navigation is a good option to consider.
3: Standalone Car GPS Devices
These are the less expensive options and ideally perfect as well. Some of these units’ costs $100 but other may have a price tag as much as $300. The main benefit owning a standalone car GPS device is portability. They are not built into the dash of the vehicle, so you have the option to shift them to any vehicle or place you want.
Core Features to Consider When Buying a Car GPS
There are plenty of features to look for regardless of the budget you have. These include:
- Automatic routing.
- Loud and clear audible direction.
- Screen size and Screen resolution (closely linked with unit’s price).
- Type of receiver (comes as both sensitive and less sensitive and depends on the price).
- Map availability and updates.
Some other features to consider are:
- 3D map view.
- Voice input.
- Lane assist.
- The point of interest.
Some very expensive models also include a built-in MP3 player, digital picture viewer and hands-free calling but that’s already on your smartphone and you don’t need that.