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Automotive navigation systems from auto manufacturers are getting smarter and less expensive by the day — so much so that it's becoming standard to have built-in navigation on many new car models.
Much like those slick built-in units, features like Bluetooth capability, smartphone notifications, built-in dashcams, and even collision warning functions are being incorporated into aftermarket units. This means that drivers out there who still enjoy their current ride can still get all of the latest and greatest tech on the market. No matter what side of the coin you're on, there are a lot of good options out there.
Volvo originally launched this latest version of their infotainment and navigation system — known as SENSUS — with the XC90, however further refinements are expected in the upcoming S90 luxury sedan. The sleek system is a breeze to use, operating much like your iPad or tablet. On the navigation side of things, the system pulls real-time traffic data and warns you of any upcoming construction or accidents to help you avoid any pesky traffic jams. The S90 starts at $46,950, and SENSUS is part of its standard equipment.
$350 BUY NOW
Garmin devoted a huge amount of time to revamping their navigation units for 2016, and having seen the end result they've clearly been doing their homework. Each unit, including the Garmin DriveSmart 70 LMT, comes with a lifetime of map and traffic alert updates, as well as a host of smart features including alerts for sharp curves, speed zones, construction, and even red-light and speed cameras.
$200 BUY NOW
The Go 600 by TomTom is a high-end offering with a 6-inch display, 3-D maps and live traffic information. The latter is received via a connection between the GPS unit and your compatible smartphone. Lifetime map updates for North America, advanced lane guidance, and an easy-to-read interface with pinch-to-zoom make the Go 600 a solid pick in its price range.
We love the simple and effortless design of Chevrolet's infotainment and navigation system. Through the use of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you can use your favorite smartphone apps directly through the Malibu's 7-inch display. This is a solid win for the connected junkies in the room. This MyLink system comes as a standard feature starting with the Malibu LS model, which is priced at $23,995.
$300 BUY NOW
One of three new releases from Garmin in 2016, this new DriveAssist unit is one of the most innovative options on the market. Not only does it handle navigation, real-time traffic alerts, and a built-in dashcam, but it also includes a handful of active safety features typically seen only in expensive new vehicle option packages. Things like Forward Collision Warning, Lane Departure Warning, and clever "Go Alerts" geared towards the distracted driver can now all be had for a very modest price of entry.
$157 BUY NOW
Magellan SmartGPS 5390 has a 5-inch display, as well as smartphone and social media integration via an app and Bluetooth connection. This GPS can help you find the lowest gas prices around you, as well as display relevant information about restaurants and shops in your area from Yelp and Foursquare. The SmartGPS 5390 has been around for a while, so its price drop has made it an attractive option.
The latest redesign of Lincoln's MKZ also saw an update to its on-board navigation system for the 2018 model. This variant of Ford's SYNC 3 is one of the smartest voice-activated systems out there, so if you're the type who loves dictating emails and texts into your iPhone, this system will totally win you over. In addition, thanks to its integrated Traffic Link system, you'll always be sure to get the smartest route to your destination (along with weather updates and other useful data). The new MKZ starts at $35,010 and SYNC 3 is part of its standard equipment.
$170 BUY NOW
TomTom Go 500 packs the same features as the Go 600, but in a smaller form factor thanks to its 5-inch display. As its model number suggests, the Go 500 is also more affordable than its larger sibling, so it is an even more attractive proposition if you don't mind a smaller screen.
$900 BUY NOW
Motorcycles can also benefit from onboard navigation, and by the looks of it that tends to come at a premium. This unit from Garmin is definitely more expensive than we would expect, but it's also jam-packed with features that make a long ride way more entertaining. The big feature on-board that makes this guy a win is its "Adventurous Riding" feature that will seek out the best winding and hilly roads on your route — a huge plus for the moto enthusiast.
When you're a tech powerhouse like Tesla, your infotainment and navigation systems have to be superb. Thanks to calling Palo Alto home, Elon Musk had no problems finding the right development team to ensure his navigation system was on point. Their voice-command system is so adept that you can say "directions to Bob's Taco Shack" and it'll get you set up in no time, and if there's a problem on your current route, a smart pop-up will appear presenting you with the option to choose an alternate route to get you to your destination more effectively. The Tesla Model X has a starting price of $59,100, and that monster of a touchscreen system is a standard feature.
from $200 BUY NOW
The nuvi 2539LMT by the market leader Garmin is widely regarded as one of the best picks at or below $200. Available with a 5- or 6-inch touchscreen, it has lifetime map updates, and can display points of interest from Foursquare. Traffic updates, active lane guidance, and bird's eye view of junctions make the nuvi 2539LMT a safe buy. The GPS unit is also compatible with Garmin's excellent optional backup camera.
from $100 BUY NOW
Like its more capable sibling we just mentioned, the Garmin Nuvi 57LM comes with free lifetime of map updates and Foursquare integration. It can also connect to Garmin's backup camera if you opt to purchase one down the line. If the lane guidance and traffic info of the 2539LMT aren't something you care to have, then this less expensive option is the way to go.
$110 BUY NOW
For just over $100, TomTom VIA 1415M will fulfill your basic car navigation needs. It has built-in maps of North America with free lifetime updates, and advanced lane guidance. Due to its low price, the VIA 1415 sports a fairly small 4.3-inch display with low resolution. You may be better off using your smartphone instead, but if you really prefer the look and feel of a GPS and aren't looking to spend a ton, this one's for you.