For Those Not Using a Maps App, Here’s the Best Vehicle GPS Systems

For those of us who spend a lot of time on the road, for work or pleasure, a GPS unit in our vehicle is essential. GPS systems have replaced paper maps and printed directions as the way to go for smart and efficient drivers, and the technology continues to advance. Whether you’re a commuter looking for the quickest route to work or an adventurer seeking out hard-to-find spots along your travels, you should invest in a GPS. Here are some of the top models available for your use today.

Garmin Nuvi 57LM: Garmin has a reputation as an industry leader in GPS technology, and for good reason. This model is a feature-rich, sleek piece of tech that looks great on your dash and works like a charm. It comes equipped with a 5-inch display that shows you where you are on the road and where you’ll need to turn, and also displays speed limits for those of us who have trouble keeping track of signs. Garmin has also partnered with Foursquare, allowing you to search their massive database of restaurants, shops, bars, and entertainment venues. And their Garmin Real Directions system uses landmarks and traffic lights to give you directions a human being can understand.

Garmin DriveAssist 51: This is one of the most innovative GPS systems yet. It has many of the features that other Garmin systems have, including detailed maps of North America that update for free for the lifetime of your device and the ability to view live parking information (including pricing of garages and availability of on street parking). But the real selling point is the built-in dash cam. In addition to recording your drive (with optional audio recording) the dash cam automatically saves its files when you’re in an accident, along with the GPS data on where and when the collision happened. The dash cam is also used for forward collision warnings and other advanced driver alerts. The DriveAssist can also pair with an app on your smartphone for accurate, up-to-the minute traffic updates.

TomTom VIA: This top-of-the-line GPS has a beautiful 5-inch full-color display that doubles as a responsive, lightning-fast touchscreen for entering your destinations and adjusting your preferences. The split-screen Junction view is an innovative addition that lets you keep an eye on your current route while plotting stops along the way or checking out nearby attractions. And TomTom has access to the largest ever database of real travel times, meaning they’ll use their trove of data to find you the fastest route every time (and provide you with the most accurate ETA.) The EasyMount car mount has a slim, unobtrusive profile and is easily folded for storage and transportation if you need to take it on the go.

Garmin DriveSmart 61: This model has the biggest screen out of the systems listed here, a bright, 6.95-inch edge-to-edge display with a capacitive touch screen; it looks great on your dash and is big enough that passengers in the back seat will be able to follow along with your ride. It provides real-time traffic and parking updates via the link app on your smartphone, and the DriveSmart also pairs with your phone for Bluetooth calling, smart notifications, and voice-command navigation. Another bonus: it’s equipped with Wi-Fi, meaning you don’t need to plug in the device to update its maps. Instead, pull up near a Wi-Fi hotspot and connect via the touch screen, and you’ll have the latest maps streamed directly into your device. It’s a fully integrated smart system that makes all the tasks of navigation a snap, so you can focus on the road.

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