The Best Car GPS Navigation Systems (2021 Reviews)

It used to be difficult to find driving directions. Getting around unknown terrain meant loads of computer printouts, massive roadmap books, and folding maps. Though there are in-built GPS facilities available in numerous smartphones today, there are many advantages of using a standalone GPS navigation system rather than relying on your phone for navigation/directions. 

Dedicated GPS navigation systems, for example, are designed to fit conveniently in a position on the dashboard or windshield, allowing drivers to search directions instantly.

What Are The GPS Navigation Systems?

Regardless of where you’re going, the right car GPS or global positioning systems powered by satellite will ensure you’ll have effortless on-road driving, whether it’s just a regular commute to work in traffic or a long-haul flight cross country. In any case, the best car GPS navigation system will assist you in finding your route, avoiding traffic, and staying in the correct route for your destination. 

Many of the top-quality car GPS systems come pre-loaded with many advantages, ranging from gas stations to restaurants, markets, and malls, so you can get what you need right away, even if you’re in a new location. 

Several GPS systems connect to a smartphone to offer you functionalities such as voice-enabled calling, texting (hands-free), and advanced traffic monitoring, among others.

At its most simple level, the ideal car GPS can get you from point A to point B as easily as possible and with least traffic as possible, providing visual and audible turn-by-turn navigation while driving.

So, do you want to know more about these? Here is a brief review of the top 10 best GPS car navigation systems in the market.

1. Garmin DriveSmart 55:

One of the most advanced GPS navigation systems for automobiles is the Garmin DriveSmart 55. Its versatile features make it suitable for both daily driving and long trips via road. The North American maps are preloaded on this GPS navigation device. All purchase of the device comes with free lifetime map updates. All you have to do now is connect this GPS device to the internet through WiFi.

The touchscreen reaches all the way to the edge of the frame. The on-screen maps are easy to read while driving, and the Garmin DriveSmart 55’s straightforward directions will get you to your destination on time and without hassle. For Spanish-speaking drivers, the GPS device supports several languages.

You can also tailor your route to the length, weight restrictions, and height of the roads you’ll be driving on. This function will not be useful to most drivers, but it will be handy to drivers who regularly transport large loads or trailers.

This GPS device has a 5.5-inch screen that is reasonably sized and has a small frame that keeps the machine portable. As a result, the DriveSmart 55 is a good option for drivers whose dashboard space is limited. The screen is vivid, and maps and directions are clearly displayed, thanks to a 1280 x 720 pixels HD resolution.

When approaching a construction, an accident, or other traffic interruption, the Garmin Traffic Service warns drivers. To save time, it will also recommend alternative routes. The Garmin DriveSmart 55 obtains traffic data from an external FM receiver connected via the power cable. Drivers may also use this GPS navigation device to get more accurate traffic information in conjunction with a smartphone.

Voice-activated navigation is available on the Garmin DriveSmart 55, enabling drivers to input or change their destination, for which they won’t need to take their hands off the steering wheel. A database of historical sites and a list of National Parks and offered by the History Channel are among the features that make road trips more enjoyable.

Features:

  • Touchscreen        
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • 720 x 1280 HD resolution
  • Compact device
  • Very easy to use
  • Support multiple languages

The Pros

  • Preloaded with North American maps and lifetime map updates (free)
  • Offers a clear vision of maps and directions
  • Voice-enabled navigation included, thus, drivers can input or change their direction without taking their hands of the driving wheel
  • It alerts drivers in case of a possible accident, approaching construction, or any other traffic interruptions
  • Recommends alternative routes
  • A database of historical sites and National Parks included to make your trip enjoyable

The Cons

  • You’ll need a smartphone to access advanced traffic-related features

2. Car GPS System From TomTom GO Supreme:

As its name implies, the TomTom GO Supreme is a high-end car navigation system with all the bells and whistles. But, since this is TomTom, you can rest assured that you’ll get advanced maps, traffic info, and safety camera warnings, all of which are included.

Aside from avoiding traffic and staying in the right lane, this app also includes Last Mile Navigation, which shows you the location of your car or where you’ve parked it. You can also schedule your travel intelligently, with various preferences and the opportunity to share your location and ETA while driving. It can also get to know your style of driving and use that information to help predict arrival times.

Integrating your smart life with your car using Google Assistant and Siri and IFTTT support is easy with this GPS. Hands-free voice controls can be used for any purpose, from making calls and reading messages to synchronizing calendar events and setting locations. Thanks to the built-in WiFi, you’ll still be up to date on the new maps, app information, and safety cameras.

Features:

  • Touchscreen        
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity
  • Last Mile Navigation feature included
  • Provides supremely accurate traffic information
  • IFTTT functions included
  • Offers a high-quality clear display to read the maps and traffic guides

The Pros

  • The device offers alerts and updates for maps free for lifetime
  • Enables hands-free text messaging, calling, and navigation
  • You can make your life smart by integrating Siri and Google Assistant in your car with this GPS
  • It can quickly understand your driving style and help in predicting arrival times
  • It helps you to plan your travel smartly

The Cons

  • Battery life isn’t great

3. Garmin Nuvi (Model No. 2639LMT):

The Garmin Nuvi 2639LMT has a vibrant 6-inch capacitive display with 800 x 480 pixels (high-resolution image) and pinch-to-zoom capabilities, allowing you to zoom in on any onscreen detail quickly. The GPS comes preloaded with accurate North American maps, as well as free map updates for the rest of its lifetime. The 2639LMT, similar to any other Garmin Nuvi devices, has millions of Foursquare-sourced POIs.

The GPS device also includes lifetime traffic, which allows the Nuvi 2639LMT to access free information about the traffic without the need for subscription fees or advertisements. The data is sent directly to the Nuvi, eliminating the need for a smartphone. Since it doesn’t depend on cellular signals like other Garmin products, it works even when you’re driving through zones where the mobile signal is disabled.

Active Lane Guidance, Direct Access, and the ability to pair up with the BC 30 wireless backup camera are among the other features found on the Garmin Nuvi 2639LMT. When unplugged, the built-in rechargeable battery will last up to one hour.

Each package comes with a USB cable, an antenna/vehicle power cable, a vehicle suction cup mount, and a quick starting guide in addition to the GPS itself.

Features:

  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • One hour battery life before recharging
  • High resolution 800 x 400 pixels display and pinch-to-zoom feature 
  • Includes accurate North American maps
  • Offers free map updates and alerts for lifetime
  • Doesn’t need a smartphone

The Pros

  • Offers lifetime-free traffic information without the need of subscription fees or ads
  • Comes with Garmin Real direction guides
  • It has Foursquare-sourced POIs
  • It has in-built features like Direct Access, Active Lane Guidance, etc  
  • The unit comes with accessories like USB cable, an antenna/vehicle power cable, a vehicle suction cup mount, and a quick start guide
  • It doesn’t depend on cellular signals, works even where mobile signals are restricted

The Cons

  • Reflective display

4. GPS system From AROVA:

In contrast to the majority of the car GPS navigation systems on our list, this device from AROVA comes with preloaded support for Australia and many countries of Europe in addition to North America. This makes it an excellent option for drivers who need to use their GPS when traveling abroad.

This GPS device from AROVA has a big screen that allows you to see maps in a single glance. And if you want to make adjustments, it has a very responsive touchscreen so that you can do so with minimal delay. The system also comes with a sunshade that can be removed to enable you to see the display in both bright and dim light.

While driving, this GPS device provides you with a variety of additional alerts. For example, it tracks your speed in different zones when driving and alerts you as you approach a school zone. The unit will also alert you of impending sharp curves in the road and approaching red lights.

Free lifetime map updates are included with this GPS, which requires a PC connection. The device also supports MP3 and digital media, allowing you to listen to music and store and share images. However, you won’t get real-time traffic updates from this GPS device.         

Features:

  • Broad 7-inch screen
  • 8 GB memory capacity
  • High resolution 800 x 480 pixels display
  • Includes accurate North American, Australia, and European maps
  • Offers free map updates and alerts for lifetime
  • Comes with sunshade to help you see the display in both bright day and dim light

The Pros

  • Offers a variety of additional alerts
  • Supports MP3 and digital media
  • It helps to plan your travel for long trips
  • Reliable device

The Cons

  • The owner’s manual is tricky to use

5. Garmin DriveSmart 65:

A comprehensive map of North America is included with the DriveSmart 65. The GPS device has WiFi capabilities, which allows for quick updates without the use of a PC. Using the free Garmin Drive app, the Bluetooth wireless link enables to pair up with smartphones for additional functionality. Live parking information and accessibility to live traffic cameras along your route are among the advanced map and path features.

The Garmin DriveSmart 65 has a big display, but it has a very thin frame that takes up less room than the smaller versions. The touchscreen is sensitive and precise, and the display is vibrant and is easily visible.

This GPS device not only has a lot of traffic-avoidance warnings, but it also has a few alerts that assist the drivers to be more conscious of their surroundings. Drivers that use this GPS device will be alerted to potential road hazards such as railroad crossings, sharp curves, and changes in the speed limits.

This GPS from Garmin DriveSmarts is the ideal companion for any road trip across countries, with hands-free calling, traffic warnings, and TripAdvisor-powered reviews of attractions, restaurants, and more. This GPS device is one of Garmin’s most expensive, so drivers not needing all of the features may want to consider a less expensive model.

Features:

  • Wide and clear display
  • Voice-enabled command allows for hands-free calling, texting, and navigation
  • BC30-40 wireless backup camera compatible
  • Offers free map updates and alerts for lifetime
  • It has list of notable historical sites, TripAdvisor-powered attractions’ reviews, restaurants, etc

The Pros

  • In-built Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Additional alerts for safety for drivers 
  • Clearly readable traffic guides
  • Responsive touchscreen

The Cons

  • Quite an expensive model

6. TomTom GPS System (VIA 1625TM):

This TomTom GPS device is a car-mount navigation system. Unlike phones, this system does not need a connection, making it suitable for use in various locations. The system is built superbly for driving with precision, with the capacity to track the location accurately. This unit has excellent reception thanks to the new GPS module, allowing for hassle-free pinpointing. When using this method, the map updates available for a lifetime is highly convenient. It has the most up-to-date routes, making it trustworthy.

The sleek style has a great appearance. Furthermore, the large monitor is dependable for ensuring high visibility and large pictures. Because of the straightforward lane navigation, every driver receives excellent assistance while driving on various roads. This computer has a 6-inch high-definition screen and a lightweight build. Since it is essential to drive with command prompts, spoken directions are essential. The gadget is easy to install on the windshield of a vehicle thanks to compact mounting systems.

Features:

  • 800 X 480 HD-resolution
  • Offers accurate and clear traffic updates
  • Free North American maps update for lifetime
  • Offers free software updates
  • Spoken instructions in over thirty different languages

The Pros

  • Wireless
  • Lightweight an compact
  • Offers latest routes
  • Easy to install/mount
  • Clear lane navigation for drivers

The Cons

  • It won’t show speed on an unplanned route

7. Garmin Nuvi (Model No. 57 LM):

One of the most notable features of this GPS is how simple it is to follow the instructions. The 57LM GPS Navigator from Garmin Nuvi can guide you to your destination using traffic lights and landmarks. It eliminates the need to examine minor information and the risk of being lost.

The spoken instructions are very straightforward and simple to follow. The device comes with maps for forty-nine different states preloaded. When you want to check a destination, it’s easy. Garmin has collaborated with Foursquare to enable you to locate famous stores and restaurants easily on the Nuvi 57LM GPS. You’ll be able to locate your and airports and local malls a lot easier thanks to the system’s Direct Access feature.

Because the system’s display is a little smaller, some people may have trouble seeing directions or using the touchscreen. Some users have also stated that the touchscreen is not completely responsive enough.

The best thing, though, is that the projector has a dual camera, which means you can see two different views of the road at the same time. The dual-screen notifies you of impending turns while also allowing you to plan for directions.

The speed limits in any zone are constantly displayed on this 57LM GPS from Garmin Nuvi. It even warns you before entering a school zone and lets you know what pace you should be driving.

This GPS receives frequent updates, ensuring that you will have accurate details till the time you use this unit, completely free at no cost.

Features:

  • High-quality clear resolution
  • Comes preloaded with maps of 49 states in the U.S.
  • Combined with Foursquare to find new restaurants, malls, etc
  • Compatible with BC30 wireless backup camera
  • Offers free updates for maps for lifetime
  • Direct access feature

The Pros

  • The display comes with dual camera
  • Easy to use
  • It uses landmarks and traffic guides to guide a driver
  • Lets you know at what speed to drive before entering school zones
  • It has simple spoken directions for navigation

The Cons

  • Not a very responsive touchscreen
  • Display size isn’t too big

8. The GPS System From OHREX:

This GPS navigation system from OHREX comes with maps of North America pre-loaded. The maps can be viewed in both 2d and 3d modes when driving, enabling drivers to choose the type of graphics/visuals they find most suitable. Free lifetime updates are guaranteed and can be enabled by connecting this device to any Windows PC having an internet connection.

This GPS system’s 7-inch display is the biggest you’ll find in a car GPS. Anything larger than that could become distracting while you are driving. The screen’s resolution of 800×480 pixels isn’t as high as some of the other options we looked at, but you can clearly read directions and maps or have a glance through it.

When approaching highway exits or intersections, the OHREX GPS system gives drivers lane alerts. This gives you ample time to plan for potential turns and significantly decreases the chances of making a wrong turn. This GPS device does not have current road conditions or traffic alerts.

This GPS system is a budget-friendly choice that still offers a lot of functionality. The device includes an FM transmitter for broadcasting spoken instructions to the audio system of your car, as well as smart route planning and warnings on speed limits.

Features:

  • 800 X 480 resolution
  • Preloaded with all North American maps
  • Comes free lifetime update of maps
  • Offers a clear display of traffic guides
  • Offers lane alerts to the drivers
  • Reasonable price

The Pros

  • Comes with FM transmitter for spoken guide in navigation
  • Includes smart route planning and warnings on speed limits
  • Easy to use
  • It uses landmarks and traffic guides to guide a driver
  • Lets you know at what speed to drive before entering school zones
  • It has simple spoken directions for navigation
  • Displays maps in 2 and 3D mode

The Cons

  • It doesn’t offer information on current road conditions
  • Display resolution isn’t that great

9. Garmin Drive (Model No. 50 USA LM):

This GPS Navigator System’s most appealing feature is how simple it is to follow instructions. The screen is crystal clear, and the instructions are very succinct. The system eliminates any unnecessary information, allowing you to concentrate more easily on the route. If you don’t want the screen to be a distraction, there are also voice instructions.

The way this GPS Navigator System uses landmarks and road signs to give you a fair idea of where you currently are and where you should be reaching is what makes it so user-friendly. If you’re not used to following conventional instructions, this function will be helpful.

For the modern consumer, this device is ideal. The 50 USA LM will build preloaded and modified maps using Foursquare. As a consequence, finding famous hangouts would be a piece of cake.

The Direct Access function also ensures that your local airports and shopping malls are easily located. On the other hand, the navigator device has been chastised in the past for having to be refreshed to find out longer routes, as it can loose its way after driving for several hours.

Your commands are quickly responded to by the touchscreen on the monitor. It also has the added advantage of allowing for simultaneous, split-screen viewing. The dual-screen allows you to determine your current location and the roads that will lead you to the place you want to reach.

The Garmin Drive 50 USA LM comes with a plethora of driver alerts. When sharp turns are lying ahead when you’re entering a zone with red-light cameras or different speed limits, you’ll be warned.

The GPS maps provide various updates to ensure that the most up-to-date information regarding the roads is shown. However, in less-frequented, more remote areas, a few such updates are considered to be missing important updates.

Features:

  • Crystal clear screen with brief instructions
  • It uses landmarks and road signals to determine your current location and destination
  • Eliminated unnecessary data
  • It also includes voice instructions
  • Includes numerous driver alerts
  • Comes with various updates on maps

The Pros

  • Comes with responsive touchscreen
  • Includes dual-screen viewing
  • Easy to use
  • It is compatible to Foursquare
  • Comes with Direct Access feature  to update you on local airports, shopping malls, etc 
  • Offers you most updated information on roads

The Cons

  • Incomplete updates on more rural zones
  • Device needs to be refreshed to get information on longer routes

10. GPS System From The DesGan:

The Desgan GPS is ideal for maintaining a smooth navigation experience. It’s a big device with a 7-inch screen that shows a lot of information. There are essential information and a smooth driving experience thanks to the most recent maps, which were revised in 2021. Furthermore, even for new drivers in the city, the preinstalled 101 North American regions provide a fantastic driving experience. Furthermore, the system has a 256MB cache, making it faster than standard GPS. As a result, precision is enhanced by accuracy and real-time driving.

The device is excellent if you choose to display maps in 2D or 3D. There is a great driving experience that helps you to change lanes easily and offers detailed information. Furthermore, the voice prompts are excellent for allowing people to enjoy the game without constantly staring at the screen. People should choose the appropriate language for smooth operation since there are many languages available. It has fifty-eight languages, which makes it more user-friendly.

Features:

  • Preloaded 101 North American regions
  • It has 256 MB cache
  • Included most recent maps updated in 2021
  • Maps can be displayed in 2D or 3D mode
  • Voice command included

The Pros

  • Supports 58 languages
  • Includes dual-screen viewing
  • Memory card-supported
  • Easy to install with simple suction cup mounting in the windshield
  • Helps in smart route planning

The Cons

  • Screen size might be too big for a few users
  • The GPS might struggle sometimes to locate a signal

Things To Consider Before Buying The Best Car GPS Navigation Systems:

Even though you’ve checked some latest GPS navigation systems in the market, you might still have a few doubts about the essential features to look for before buying such a device. Let’s discuss them now.

Navigating:

The top GPS systems include precise stepwise instructions and notify you about where you should be at any particular time. You will get instructions both verbally and visually.

Size Of The Display:

Car navigation systems usually have a screen size of three to seven inches, diagonally measured across the screen, similar to a television. Although smaller devices can be conveniently placed in your bag or glovebox, larger displays make instructions and other on-screen options easier to see. 

A larger screen is also preferable if your system has a split-screen feature for an approaching junction or other alerts.

Resolution Of The Display:

The screens for the best car GPS navigation systems have a resolution of at least 480 x 272 pixels, but higher resolutions, for instance, the ones with over 800 x 480 pixels – provide a more precise image that is easier to read at a glance.

Sensitivity Of The Touchscreen:

Capacitive screens are popular on high-end GPS devices. These are extremely sensitive and accurate, and they support pinch-to-zoom movements, much like a smartphone. 

On a resistive touchscreen, typically seen on lower-cost or budget devices, such gestures are not possible. These displays are also known for having slower reaction times, low resolutions, and a lower brightness capacity. On the other hand, Resistive screens enable you to touch the screen with any item, such as a gloved finger or stylus.

Maps Already Installed:

All the GPS navigation system in this review comes with maps of the United States preloaded and ready to use when you turn it on. Most have microSD card slots in-built for downloading and storing maps from different countries. When you have preloaded maps ready to be used, you can navigate with confidence even when there is almost no or a little signal.

Updates To The Map:

Always buy a car GPS system that includes map updates free for a lifetime to ensure that your system displays the most up-to-date road layouts, landmarks, and houses. Updates can be downloaded manually or automatically in the background.

Device For Detecting Speed Limits:

Most Car GPS systems will show you how fast you’re traveling compared to the real speed limit on the road and warn you if you’re driving excessively fast.

The Time Between Battery Charging:

If you need to charge your phone using the DC outlet in your car, you’ll be looking to get the information on the length of time your navigation system can operate without being plugged in. The majority of them will last an hour at least without charging, but some will last up to six hours.

Additional Alerts:

Other notifications, such as traffic, school zones, red lights, speed warnings, and so on, can be provided by the best GPS systems. The additional warnings are a fantastic feature because they enable the driver to drive more cautiously and safely around town. 

Multi-Touch Screen:

The best GPS systems, including smartphones, have a capacitive display that allows you to use multi-touch inputs. This is especially useful for zooming in and out of a map quickly. 

A resistive display is used in many GPS systems, which recognize only one touchpoint at a time. We found them to be adequate for most tasks, such as pressing on-screen buttons, but to zoom in necessitates using the screen’s plus and minus buttons, which is a little more cumbersome.

Connection Via Bluetooth:

Many models have Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to use the company’s app so that you get traffic alerts on time, weather updates, as well as get routes and destinations directly from your devices. Some models also allow you to make hands-free phone calls using the GPS device’s speaker, and they can display text messages on the screen itself and read those to you if needed.

Conclusion:

For healthy and smooth driving, GPS navigation for cars is fantastic. These devices are incredible, with a variety of features. Several navigation systems are available depending on your requirements. Devices, whether for navigation, audio, or other purposes, are incredibly flexible.

FAQs

  1. Rather than using my phone, why should I buy a portable GPS?

    Most of us uses our phones to navigate. You can start a trip anywhere, including in remote areas, with a portable navigation system, portable GPS, etc. A smartphone needs a cellular signal to plan a trip and download map information; a portable GPS has maps built-in. 

    Besides, a display in the portable GPS is wider than most phones, with a diagonal of up to 7 inches. If your car doesn't have Bluetooth, the GPS device's microphone and speakers can be used to make calls hands-free.

  2. What causes one GPS to be more expensive than the other?

    They are distinguished by their features and screen size. Wi-Fi connectivity or Bluetooth to your smartphone for system notifications or traffic data, Google Assistant, or Amazon Alexa, photo radar or traffic camera alerts, or a backup camera link are among the features.

  3. Is it Legal for Me to Use My GPS Device Outside of the United States?

    The system is most often sold with maps of North America, the United States, the United States, and Canada. You can purchase additional maps for other continents on specific computers. A few of them have world charts.

  4. Is it true that if the power cord is unplugged, I will lose my route?

    The unit is powered by a 12-volt battery. To tackle power outages or last-mile navigation (walking from a parked car to the final destination), almost all devices have an internal battery that lasts 30-60 minutes.

  5. What's the best way to get to my destination?

    On the phone, a keypad appears, and you input the address by typing in it. The majority of them have predictive typing: If you key in a part of the address, the device will autofill the area, or if you've been there before, the device will autofill the whole address.
     
    Most enable you to speak up the address or pick from a list of recent and favorite destinations. Gas stations, Businesses, hotels, medical facilities, museums, and street addresses are typically included in the map detail.

  6. What Is the Accuracy of a Portable GPS?

    Approximately one car length. It isn't precise enough to tell whether the car is in the right or left lane of a split interstate highway, but it is precise enough to tell you which street to turn into at the appropriate time. 

    A GPS can also re-confirm the car's location by using clearly specified turns. When it comes out of a parking garage, there might be some confusion.

  7. Is GPS Usable in All Environments?

    The GPS is a satellite-based navigation system that employs at least twenty-four satellites at least. It works in all kinds of weather, so yes, in theory.

  8. Is Any GPS Compatible with Any Car?

    Yes, indeed. Most of the time, it's just a matter of installing it and turning it on. Depending on the dashboard, additional adapters can be needed for in-dash systems.

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Chris Jacobs

Sports cars have always been Chris's passion since he was a little kid. He was very excited to turn 16 years old so that he could drive his mother's old van. Many years later, he's still a passionate car geek and totally in love with his Tesla Model 3.