How many times have you wondered in the wrong direction when you thought you are driving toward your destination? If you are traveling across town or another city, it is hard to rely only on traffic signs and your road knowledge. By using the best GPS for car, you ensure that you always reach the desired destination in the shortest possible timeframe.
Vehicle navigation systems will show you the closest path to the desired destination, but also other useful data like the time required to arrive there. That means you will never be late because you made a wrong turn.
If you are looking for the most reliable navigation software out there, check out our review of GPS for cars. We singled out the top-rated products on the market and analyzed their pros and cons. You can also take a look at a comprehensive buying guide on choosing a car navigation system.
Fasten your seatbelts, and let’s start with the car GPS reviews!
Table of Contents
- GPS for Car Picks
- GPS for Cars Buying Guide
1. Garmin RV 785 & Traffic
Garmin is among the leading brands in the GPS for the car industry. Their RV 785 & Traffic Advanced GPS Navigator is a premium unit that is expensive, but well worth the money. The product is specially designed for RVs, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t use it in cars.
The device calculates directions quickly and tries to keep you on main roads whenever possible. That is an important feature if you are in an RV, which can’t go via narrow roads. The tool is Android-based and capable of delivering road warnings. That means the software will warn you about steep turns, weight limits, and provide other useful traffic information.
The system has an integrated camera that can record your ride. You can activate the navigation by utilizing voice commands, which is convenient. By connecting it with your smartphone, you can use hands-free calling with this device.
TomTom Go 620 comes in two different variations – this 6-inch unit, and a smaller 5-inch one. If you compare the prices, you will realize why the bigger one is a better investment.
The device features a reliable navigation system with integrated maps that cover the United States, Mexico, and Canada. Since this GPS for car features built-in wi-fi, it is easy to download the latest map versions. The directions and traffic information are accurate and help you get around traffic jams and other road issues.
The label text size could be larger since it is tricky to read while driving. That is why a passenger is always welcome to read this information to you. The good news is that the interface is easy to use and very intuitive overall. The option for the unit to read your smartphone text message out loud is convenient and promotes safety.
ATOTO A6 is far more than a simple GPS for cars. It is an all-around device that features numerous useful options. The product features an input for a backup camera, an AM/FM radio, Bluetooth compatibility, automatic Wi-Fi connection, and micro SD and USB support.
The interface is Android-based, and it should be easy to use. If you are familiar with how Android works (have you ever had a smartphone?), you will be comfortable with the product immediately. It only takes two seconds to start this navigation system, and it features a large seven-inch screen.
The software could be a bit faster when switching from one app to another. Fortunately, the manufacturer is constantly updating the operating system, so that might be improved soon. The product is compatible with steering wheel key control to promote safety. The screen is noticeably bright, which secures an optimal viewing experience in various weather conditions.
4. Garmin DriveSmart 65 with Amazon Alexa
Here is another unit designed by Garmin, only this one is more affordable than our top pick. Although it doesn’t offer the same number of advanced features, it is reliable and user-friendly. You can connect the product to your smartphone to play music, check out the traffic and weather, etc.
The screen is 6.95 inches from edge to edge, and it displays comprehensive information about your journey. Apart from the directions, you get the distance to your destination, and the estimated time of arrival based on the current traffic.
Voice control is a supported feature in Garmin DriveSmart 65. You can also talk with Amazon Alexa if you want to learn about points of interest and other details. It is a shame that you can’t change the wake-up phrase, but it is a minor downside. The product features automatic product and map updates via the integrated wireless connectivity.
Vinone is an international car navigation system. Why do we say that? It is because this software supports over 40 languages with real voice broadcasts. It supports MP3 and MP4 to provide entertainment options when you are resting and also supports FM radio.
The nine-inch screen size is large and ensures you can clearly see all relevant information about your journey. You can pick between simple, economic, green, and fast route planning. You also receive a car charger and USB cable to ensure the device is always charged. The sunshade that comes in the box ensures that sunlight won’t prevent you from seeing the screen clearly.
While we are reviewing GPS for cars, it is worth mentioning the manufacturer enlists this product as suitable for trucks. Unfortunately, it is not 100% accurate and might send trucks down prohibited roads occasionally. The good news for car drivers is that the system always finds the shortest path to the desired destination.
The first thing you notice is the classic design of the AROVA GPS navigation. You can mount it easily with the suction cup, and the device itself is incredibly light. Once you run the software, you realize it is fast and reliable.
The seven-inch screen features a decent 800×480 resolution. The directions are reliable, and maps are easy to ready. You can pick the 3D-view mode, which looks far attractive than the classic 2D mode. The product contains an FM transmitter, supports multiple languages, and comes with additional features like playing games.
The battery life isn’t impressive. It will serve you for getting around the city, but if you go on a long-distance journey, make sure to plug the device in the charger. The navigation promotes safety and is there to deliver speed reminders and traffic information. You will receive free map updates with the product.
- 5 Considerations When Buying a GPS for Car
- A List of the Most Important Car GPS Features & Specifications
- Car Navigation Systems VS. Smartphones and Other GPS Options
- Benefits of Having a Navigation System
- How to Use Your Sat Nav Legally and Safely?
- FAQs and Answers
Our buying guide can help you to learn more about GPS systems for cars. We gathered the most important features of these devices, as well as questions to consider when purchasing them. You will also discover how to use a GPS for car safely and legally, and learn everything about the working process of these units!
When buying a GPS for a car, you should note that the device should serve you for a long time. That is why investing time and effort into picking a suitable product is worthwhile. Here is a list of questions to ask during the purchasing process to make your decision easier!
What Screen Size Do You Prefer?
Car GPS systems come in different screen sizes. Nobody denies that it is nice to have a big and large screen that is easy to look at while driving. If your GPS screen is large, the odds are it will be more comfortable looking at it when necessary.
However, it is crucial to consider that the device shouldn’t obstruct your view of the road. That is critical for your safety. If your car is compact-sized, the odds are that a huge GPS screen might lead to losing a bit of your field of view.
There is also the question of overall suitability with the interior décor. Apart from the GPS color and design, you don’t want its size to look like it doesn’t fit in your car. That is why you should find a car GPS that is easy to look at, but also fits your safety and aesthetic requirements.
How Accurate Is Your GPS?
GPS software should be reliable and accurate. That means it should be able to read your location precisely, and not have any issues in that area. Most units fulfill this request nowadays since it is the basic feature of GPS tools.
That is why you want to focus on the details, and that includes device sensitivity. The best GPS software out there should be capable of changing your location in real-time. Thanks to this type of tracking, you will always know your exact position. That will also ensure accurate readings of how far your next turn and the final destination is.
How Detailed Is the Map?
If you have a smartphone, you probably know how the basic GPS map looks. And while it is basically all you need to find your way around, additional features can be convenient, too.
For starters, many maps come with points of interest during your trip. If you are going on a long-distance journey, you might need to refill your tank. In those situations, a reliable GPS map can show you to the nearest gas station. Looking for points of interests also makes it easy to search for locations instead of addresses. If you are in a city for the first time, that will make it easy to locate sights and hotels.
Reliable GPS for cars will also show traffic information. That can shorten your travel and help you to avoid any jams. Finally, 3D maps are also a convenient feature. If you are in an area for the first time, a 3D map can help you to find your way easier.
Is It Easy to Use?
A GPS system for a car should serve to navigate you while driving. While reliability is its most important feature, it is also crucial that the device is easy to use.
Everything starts with the setting up process. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes to install your device. The GPS should come with clear instructions on how to set everything up and start using the unit.
As for the ease of use, it should be simple to enter the desired location. The GPS should calculate your route quickly. The interface should fit your needs and show directions clearly, while audible directions can also be very helpful. The update system should also be straightforward. That way, it will be easy to update the maps to their latest versions.
Before you can type in the desired destination, you need to enter your vehicle. The most convenient way of unlocking a car is by doing it remotely. Check out our remote car starters buying guide to find a suitable unit.
What Is Your Budget?
Although it is the last in our list of questions, the budget is equally important as all other factors. The good news is that a GPS for a car isn’t as expensive as it used to be. Furthermore, there are units that are incredibly affordable.
You want to ensure that the desired product delivers an excellent value for the money. If you are going for a premium and high-quality GPS, it should be extremely durable and come with long battery life. Affordable units should also be capable of maintaining a high level of accuracy.
It is crucial that the GPS fits your expectations and requirements. For this software to do that, it is important you consider these features and specifications:
- Screen size and resolution – a large screen might be easier to look at, but it might not fit into the décor of a small car. Always consider that you can see the GPS screen well while ensuring your view of the road is unobstructed.
- Battery life – if you are heading on a long trip, battery life can be critical. And even if you only plan to drive around the city, a long-lasting battery means you don’t have to charge it frequently. That contributes to the ease of use and makes the device more convenient.
- History reports – this data is useful if you go to the same location multiple times. Additionally, it can be interesting to see all the places you visited in the past.
- Audible directions – the software can instruct you verbally so that you don’t have to look at the screen all the time. The directions should be understandable, reliable, and delivered on time. Apart from audible instructions, there are you need who allow voice commands.
- Automatic re-routing – in case you miss a turn, this feature will ensure to recalculate the directions. It is crucial that the device does the recalculation quickly so that you don’t lose precious time waiting for it.
- Map versions and updates – your GPS should have maps that are relatively new. That secures all the latest road changes are integrated into that version. Some devices offer free digital map updates, while others require loading the maps manually.
Once car navigation systems first appeared, they were an expensive accessory. Only people with premium cars could have afforded them. Today, the situation is different. Not only GPS for cars are affordable, but navigation systems are everywhere. They are loaded into your smartphone and come in different variations.
The most common navigation-related products for cars include:
- Factory navigation systems
- Portable navigation systems
- Smartphone navigation
- In-dash navigation
Here are the basics of all these variations so that you can pick your favorite easily.
As the name suggests, these products are integrated with your vehicle. The most attractive feature of factory navigation systems is that they are resistant to theft. Since they a part of the overall car construction, that means someone would have to steal the entire vehicle to take it.
The manufacturers usually make these systems themselves. Thanks to that, you should receive a generous warranty. That means you can expect free fixes in case anything goes wrong during the specified period.
An integrated factory system won’t take any additional space. They are a part of the décor the manufacturer thought of in advance. The systems will fit perfectly even if they have particularly large screens.
A factory navigation system is quite expensive, and it could increase the overall car cost significantly. It is interesting to note that the prices can be ridiculously high. These systems are not any more reliable than portable units, but their price can be up to ten times higher. Most factory GPS products won’t allow you to type the directions while the vehicle is moving. Since a passenger could be the one typing, this is a bit of a redundant feature, although it is probably implemented for safety.
- An integrated system that is impossible to steal without stealing the vehicle
- A generous warranty
- Fitting with the décor seamlessly
- The price tag can be ridiculously high
- Most units don’t allow typing directions while the car is on the move
These are the most popular GPS for cars there, and for a good reason. The crucial one is reliability, where they beat smartphone navigation and match factory-based systems. Portable navigation systems do not depend on cellphone reception, and they can work even in remote areas.
These units can be quite affordable and are far cheaper than factory systems. The installation process requires a bit of effort to honor all safety requirements. Additionally, you might need to remove it when out of the vehicle for theft protection. The good news is that this means you can switch vehicles where you use the portable system.
The updating process should be simple, and the batteries should last for a long time. Although the warranty varies depending on the product, these units deliver great value for money.
- Extremely reliable and doesn’t depend on cellphone reception
- An affordable price tag
- Updating the system and maps should be simple
- Long-lasting batteries
- The warranty period can vary
- The installation process might require a bit of effort
Many users refuse to consider a GPS for a car when they already have smartphone navigation. They see it as a redundant and unnecessary investment. The truth is that smartphone navigation is a safety risk and unreliable.
You need to hold your phone in the lap, which means you might need to look down. Taking your eyes off the road is dangerous, which makes smartphone navigation a safety risk. These systems might show advanced information like traffic data and updated maps. However, they depend on cellphone reception and don’t work in areas where it is spotty. Additionally, they are draining the battery of your device, and you might need it for calling someone.
- Updated maps
- Showing advanced information like traffic data
- No additional investment required
- Draining the battery of your phone
- Can be distracting
- They depend on the cellphone reception
In-dash aftermarket navigation systems are expensive, and that is their biggest downside. Additionally, it is not easy to unmount and take them with you. That makes them susceptible to theft, especially since thieves understand their value.
This software offers an excellent level of customization. Apart from GPS, you can install advanced features like video playback options, cameras, Bluetooth receiver, etc. it is an excellent option to add entertainment functions to your vehicle.
- Excellent screen and reliable unit
- Advanced features available
- Excellent customization options
- Susceptible to theft
- The price tag can be high
Are you still having second thoughts on whether you even need a navigation system in your car? You might think that a smartphone is enough for tricky situations, or you are smart enough to find your way around everywhere.
Here are some main advantages of using a car GPS:
- Safe and convenient
Before you head on the road, you set up the device completely. If you use smartphone navigation, you would probably hold it in your lap, which means you would have to look down at the screen. That puts you at risk, and the alternatively of holding the phone in one hand doesn’t sound better. But if you have a GPS screen installed on the windscreen, you can check it out while keeping your hands free and eyes on the road.
The trick is that a car GPS doesn’t require cellphone reception to show you directions. That makes it incredibly dependable even if you are in distant areas or your phone battery dies.
- Always get to the right location
Imagine you are late, and you are heading to an unknown location across town. Instead of risking being even more late by searching for the right address, a GPS for the car system will get you to the location as soon as possible.
- Spend less money on gas
A GPS system ensures that you don’t make a single wrong turn. It gets you to the desired direction by choosing the shortest road possible. That means you will spend less money on gas, especially in the long run. Apart from saving cash, you will also reduce your carbon footprint, which is an eco-friendly move.
You can also check out our reviews of GPS tracker for car to learn more about these devices.
Laws regarding GPS systems for cars are different throughout the world. It seems that the only thing they have in common is that they are not that transparent. For example, you can’t find any law directly discussing car navigation systems in the UK. However, there is a law that says nothing should obstruct the driver’s view of the road. If you break that law, you are subject to a fine.
Additionally, the laws usually specify you cannot touch your phone while driving. That probably applies to GPS too, which is another thing to consider when using these units. It can be an important safety matter because touching your GPS software while driving is dangerous. That is why you should type in your desired location before heading on the road, or stop if you need to make any changes.
Activating voice commands and turning the volume loud enough to hear them can also be crucial. You should try to look at the sat nav as rarely as possible. Each time you do that, you lose a portion of your focus. Always remember that safety is your top priority. That is why audible directions could help you to listen to where to go while keeping the maximum focus on the road.
Finally, remember who the driver is. Don’t let your sat nav to get you into a pile of mud, river, or off the road. While GPS systems are reliable, they are not perfect. If you see they are taking you somewhere where a car shouldn’t pass, remember who is in charge. Try to find another route and let the device recalculate alternative directions. It could help to keep all maps updated since that increases the odds they will have the latest road changes implemented.
- Q: Can my GPS for car work without a cellphone or wireless connection?
A: Yes, these devices are not dependent on cell phone reception. As long as your battery is okay, the product should perform reliably.
- Q: My GPS won’t give audible directions. What should I do?
A: First, make sure your product has this feature available. If it does, you might have deactivated it. Head to the Settings and find options like Text to Speech. Here, you can adjust all the necessary settings for audible directions.
- Q: How do I tell the GPS my desired destination?
A: Since most devices are user-friendly, they will come with a graphical interface. That means you should click the command for entering the destination, and type the desired address or location. The system might offer word recognition to help with the entering process. Once you confirm the destination, the software will load the directions.
Did you position your GPS system? Now might be the right time to consider the best radar detector as another helpful accessory for your car.
Finding the best GPS for a car can be a challenge. That is not because it is hard to find a decent model, but because the market is filled with excellent products. In those situations, the key becomes finding the unit that fits your expectations.
A portable car navigation system is suitable to use in almost any vehicle. As long as you position it correctly, the product can get you to the desired destination every time. It doesn’t depend on cellphone reception, so place your focus on user-friendly features. That includes finding a suitable device screen, as well as the preferred color and design of the vehicle.
Our reviews of GPS for cars should help you to identify a unit that meets your needs. The buying guide should inform you about the features, and you use them to scan through our reviews and identify a suitable unit. As soon as you start using it, you will see why a GPS for a car is an essential accessory!