Best Car GPS 2019 – Buyer’s Guide

Best Car GPS 2019

What's the Best Car GPS in 2019? In all honesty its the navigation unit that gets you from Point A to Point B in the quickest, easiest route, whilst avoiding any traffic and providing you with a good selection of features to help you along your route. Buying the best GPS for your car is actually very easy.  Simply head over the Garmin or TomTom, view their latest model and you will have a great GPS unit.

The Problem comes when you put the navigators price into the equation. Suddenly the most expensive unit might not be the best that you should buy. There is also the problem of which to choose given there are many fantastic auto navigation units on the market in 2019.

In this review, we're looking at the best car gps 2019. When we talk specifically about the best gps for your car, we're talking about the best value for money and not simply what gps unit comes with the most number of features that you're never going to use. As always across this website, our rankings are based on Customer Ratings and Reviews.

Best Rated GPS Navigator

When buying a Car GPS,  it's honestly best to buy a brand named model as they will always be the better units. Even if you decide to buy a cheap car gps, buy a brand name. Often you can find some great cheap navigators that come with all the latest features and updates and will probably look in principle, a great car navigation system, however don't buy it.

It will not work and most likely will not last you more than a few months. Buying a Brand name such as a Garmin or a TomTom will cost you a little more, however at least you know you're buying a quality navigation device that is likely to last you a good few years.  It will comes with both gps updates and extra features such as massive points of interest databases or websites that allow you to access other users travel data to find the best driving roads in your location.

Below is the 2019 Car GPS range by Garmin and TomTom.  We all have our favourites, however mine is either the Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT-S if you're looking for a Garmin or the TomTom VIA 1525TM if you want a TomTom.


Car GPS Range in 2019

Product

Garmin Drive

Garmin Drive

Smart

Garmin Drive

Assist

Garmin DriveLuxe

TomTom Go 520/620

TOMTom VIA "M"

tomtom VIA "tm"

tomtom go 52

Pre-Loaded Maps

USA & Canada

North America

North America

North America

World Maps

USA, Canada, Mexico

USA, Canada, Mexico

USA, Canada, Mexico

Display Size

5,6 Inch

5, 6.95 Inch

5-Inch

5-Inch

5,6 Inch

4, 5, 6 Inch

5,6 Inch

5-Inch

Dual Orientation

YES

YES

No

YES

NO

NO

NO

NO

Live Traffic

No

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

YES

YES

Map Updates

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Lane Guidance

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

Bluetooth

No

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

Voice Navigation

No

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

Wi-Fi

No

YES

YES

YES

YES

NO

NO

YES

Rating

Buy Now


The Car GPS Market 2019

Over the last 12 months the gps market has steadily moved on across both the mainstream manufactures being TomTom and Garmin but also with the gap between the mainstream manufactures and the smaller manufactures. Yes TomTom and Garmin are still the best gps units on the market, but there are a few others catching up that could be good competition in the future years.

TomTom and Garmin have both brought out new and improved models of there mainstream gps units. TomTom brought out the fantastic GO 620 and GO 520 which are both great GPS units that comes with improved maps, directions and even allows for free map and traffic updates which is the first time that we have seen both in a TomTom model.

Garmin also brought out two new 2018 gps models with the introduction of the DriveSmart and the DriveAssist with the key difference between the two models being that the DriveAssist comes with a built-in dash cam which seems to be all the rage in 2018.

Having a built-in dash cam can help to reduce your car insurance bill by allowing insurance companies work out exactly who was at fault in a certain situation. The problem for us is that if you’re anything like me, you don’t have your GPS switched on the whole time and therefore I have no idea what happens to your insurance when you have a crash and your gps is not plugged in.

Out of the two new Garmin models, we personally think the Garmin DriveSmart is the best model as it offers value for money. There is a new Garmin DriveLux, however at over $500 it’s pretty hard to justify.

The Best GPS To Buy in 2019

So what’s the best gps to buy? As always we do feel that the 5-inch devices are just too small to use it your car especially when they start to use the split screen function. You cannot really see either side.

Whilst we do like the 7-Inch screen’s, especially with our 2016 favorite being the 7-inch Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT which for us a great gps, however we can see why some users don’t like it, it’s not exactly small.

This leaves the 6-inch range of gps units and the Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT and the TomTom VIA 1525/1625 TM.  In all honesty, we still really like the Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT from 2016 and given it's now has a newer model, the price has been reduced substantially, however we also like the all new Garmin DriveSmart car gps. If you're happy to pay for a top of the range device then go for the all new DriveSmart, however if you're low on budget, then look at the TomTom VIA 1525TM.


Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT-D

Garmin DriveSmart Review

The Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT is Garmin's top selling, all-new 2018 car gps satellite navigator and comes with a range of new and improved features that have been designed to help you get from A-to-B. The DriveSmart range of car gps navigation devices comes in a range of three models, the Garmin DriveSmart 51LMT (5-Inch Screen Size), the Garmin DriveSmart 61LMT (6.95-Inch Screen Size) although our favorite is the DriveSmart 61LMT with it’s 6.95-Inch, edge-to-edge screen.  The design has been improved over the last few years with this model now being made with a much thinner body that is only slightly thicker than a mobile telephone.

Whilst the menu, directions and maps all been improved, the difference is hardly noticeable from previous models, however what is noticeable is the “pinch and zoom” which is the past caused me so many problems.  In the past if you were not careful you could easily zoom all the way in to the map, however with this latest version the zoom facility works much better.

The screen has also been improved and now it handles direct sunlight much better than before meaning that you don’t need a sun-visor as you did before. As with all Garmin’s in 2019, the Drivesmart comes with up-to-date maps of the whole of North America and whilst they have been great for a while, what has improved is the traffic alerts meaning that now more than ever, the device will help you choose an alternative route if there are traffic problems ahead. For the first time, the DriveSmart, now includes speed camera alerts, however remember, these are the fixed speed cameras and not the movable speed cameras that you find along the route.

Extra features for the DriveSmart include alerts for sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossings, animal crossings, driving the wrong way on a one-way street, nearby school zones, nearby red light and speed cameras and even fatigue warning on longer routes.

Overall the DriveSmart 61LMT is the best value for money car gps device on the market in 2019. We really like the upgrades and look forward to taking the 61LMT with us on our summer holidays this year.


TomTom GO 52

TomTom GO 52 Review

The TomTom GO 52 is one of my favorite car gps models and forms part of TomTom’s 2019 gps line up. The GO 52 is technically a premium gps, however in the TomTom line up, it’s not quite as expensive at the top of the range GO 520/620 but offers almost the exact same features.

The key difference between the GO 52 and the GO 520/620, apart from the price, is the GO 520 comes with a magnetic mount that you can fix onto your dashboard for easy extraction.

The problem with a magnetic mount, it leaves behind the magnetic stump on your dashboard, which both drives my crazy, but also means for any thief, there is probably a GPS unit in your car. As a result, I would recommend if you want a TomTom, buy the GO 520, save nearly $100, and have a value for money gps unit.

The GO 52 comes with a 5-inch screen that offer plenty of screen to see your directions. As with all GPS units, the first thing you have to do after buying your GPS is update it through the built-in Wi-Fi, however be warned, this does take a few hours. It uses large files (Approx. 8Gb) and even the best internet in the world, it’s slow to download.

Maps are fantastic and as standard comes with maps of USA, Canada and Mexico. If you want to download maps for other regions, it’s very easy given the unit comes with 16GB of additional memory which while isn’t big enough to have world-wide maps, it’s certainly big enough for a couple at a time. If you really insist on having world-wide maps, there is a micro-SD card slot that support cards up to 64GB. As with all premium gps units, a lifetime subscription to map updates, safety camera locations and TomTom’s brilliant Traffic service is included.

The maps show 3D buildings and landmarks when driving through town centers and flat buildings when you’re in the countryside. The directions are excellent and very easy to follow. Included with your directions is your estimated time of arrival and your distance to destination.

Additional features include, parking and petrol station points of interest (POIs), connection to Siri and Google Now, My drive cloud App, hands free calling using the built in GPS and smartphone messages that can be automatically read out to you while you drive.
Over a great GPS and highly recommend.


TomTom 1425M / VIA 1525 TM / VIA 1625

TomTom VIA 1525 Review

The TomTom VIA range of TomTom’s mid-to-basic range of car gps units and comes in three sizes, The 1425 with a 4.3-Inch screen, the 1525 with a 5-inch screen and the 1626 with a 6-inch screen. There is also a “M” model and a “T” model. The “M” stands for free lifetime map updates which all three models come with, while the “T” stands for live traffic alerts that only the VIA1525 and the VIA 1625 come with.

Personally our favourite is the "TM"that comes with both "Traffic" and "Maps", however the choice of screen sizes is really up to you and your preference of screen sizes. 

Personally, our favorite is the VIA 1525 TM, it comes with a 5-inch screen with a screen resolution of 800 x 480 pixels which while is less that your mobile, is still a good resolution for a gps, a resistive touchscreen control, lifetime traffic alerts and lifetime map updates, and TomTom’s impressive direction with active lane guidance to help you choose the correct lane at difficult interchange and that’s about it.

The maps are fantastic, as standard it comes with maps of the USA, Canada and Mexico, however there is no Wi-Fi meaning that you will have to download map and software updates by plugging it in to your computer. The good news, there is an inbuilt memory card and the possibility extend this further with the use of a micro SDcard, however the bad news, and this is the same with all TomTom’s, the map files are huge and it’s a slow process.

Overall, it’s a value for money car gps unit that performs well and will do exactly what you need. I wouldn’t call it a cheap gps, but it’s a quality product that will not let you down.


Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT

Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT

The Garmin 2797 LMT was our favorite Car GPS Device on the market in 2016 and comes with a massive 7-Inch Touchscreen, a very easy to use interface and pre-loaded maps of the USA which are both updated for free for the lifetime of the GPS Unit and include Traffic updates which keep you from being stuck in traffic jams.  Yes we agree that the 7-inch screen is probably too big if your going to be driving a sports car, but for us with our big trucks, the 7-inch screen is perfect and allows you to see the whole map even in split screen view.

The all-new faster processor allows for both super fast route calculations and Garmin's all new updated maps to be used which use real voices and recognizable building and landmarks to direct you to your destination. In the event that you have drive through any complex junctions along your route then the PhotoReal and Bird's Eye Junction Views offer detailed images and striking arrows to help you along your route.

The large memory card which is expandable, allows both a massive supply of nearby services such as restaurants, stores, ATM's and Gas Stations whilst a smartphone link connects your GPS Unit to your iPhone or Android Smartphone.

Overall the 2797LMT is a great gps unit and comes with a wealth of features that are still useful today. What's really great is the Nuvi 2797LMT is now considered to be a second generation model meaning that the price has come down substantially, however it's still a great car gps unit and one that we would highly recommend today.


How to Buy The Best GPS Navigation Device

When choosing the best car GPS Device you need to consider a number of factors that will decide which is the right navigation model for you based on your own individual preferences and what you are going to be using the navigator for.

If you are driving a small sports car then you are unlikely to want a massive 7-Inch Garmin GPS Unit, but on the same token a large screen does mean that you can have more features and better GPS directions. Below are our thoughts based on years of experience to give you some idea that you should be thinking about when choosing the best car gps.

  • Screen Size - If you're buying for your car, we would highly recommend that you don't go below 6-Inches in screen size. 7-Inches are often too big, however we do like them, and 5-inches is often too small. Even with a simple interface you'll be pressing buttons you don't mean to if the screen is too small
  • Signal Lag - Fast Processor Speeds mean fast route calculations and re-calculations which is great when it comes to powering traffic update or taking into account points of interest along your route.
  • Menu Interface - The simpler the better. Find all the features you want quickly and easily
  • Voice Command - Great in Principle, but in reality you won't use it.
  • Bluetooth - Great option if you want to use your phone to connect with your gps unit and make hands free calling. Again something that lots of people have and never use, but it's up to you.
  • Real-Time Traffic - Worth its weight in Gold. No one likes being stuck in traffic.
  • Maps and Directions - You will need up to date maps that show you where to go even on complex junctions.


Leave a Comment