Is It Worth Getting A Navigation System In Your Car?

With GPS navigation systems now standard in many new cars, you may be wondering if it’s really necessary to pay extra to add navigation to your next vehicle purchase. In today’s world of smartphones and easy access to maps and directions, having a built-in navigation system may seem redundant. However, there are some key benefits that a factory-installed car GPS can provide. If you do a lot of driving, especially in unfamiliar areas, a navigation system in your car can be well worth the additional cost.

Here’s a quick answer: Getting a built-in navigation system in your new car is usually worth the extra investment, as it offers hands-free use while driving, clear mapping and directions designed for automotive use, and seamless integration with your vehicle’s systems.

Built-In Navigation Systems Offer Convenience and Safety

Allow drivers to stay focused on the road

One of the biggest advantages of having a built-in navigation system in your car is that it allows you to stay focused on the road. With a navigation system, you don’t have to rely on your phone for directions, which means you don’t have to constantly glance at the screen or fumble with your phone while driving. This can significantly reduce distractions and improve overall safety on the road.

Provide larger & clearer maps/displays than phones

Another benefit of built-in navigation systems is that they provide larger and clearer maps and displays compared to using a phone. The screens on navigation systems are specifically designed to be easily readable while driving, with clear graphics and bright colors. This makes it much easier to see the directions at a glance, without having to strain your eyes or squint at a small phone screen.

Integrate directions into instrument cluster/HUD

Many modern cars with built-in navigation systems also offer the convenience of integrating directions into the instrument cluster or heads-up display (HUD). This means that the directions are displayed directly in front of the driver, making it even easier to follow without taking your eyes off the road. With this integration, you can keep your eyes on the road and still have access to turn-by-turn directions.

Factory Navigation Systems Connect to Your Car

Factory navigation systems are built-in features that connect directly to your car’s electronics. These systems offer a range of benefits and functionalities that can enhance your driving experience. Let’s explore some of the key features that make factory navigation systems worth considering.

Access vehicle data like fuel level and service alerts

One of the advantages of having a factory navigation system is the ability to access important vehicle data. These systems can provide real-time information about your car’s fuel level, tire pressure, and service alerts. This allows you to stay informed about your vehicle’s health and take necessary actions in a timely manner. With this feature, you can avoid running out of fuel and address maintenance issues promptly, ensuring a smoother and safer driving experience.

Stream music and audio apps through vehicle speakers

Another great feature of factory navigation systems is the ability to stream music and audio apps through your vehicle’s speakers. This means you can easily listen to your favorite tunes or catch up on podcasts without the need for additional devices or messy cable connections. With just a few taps on the navigation system’s interface, you can enjoy a seamless audio experience while keeping your hands on the wheel and your eyes on the road.

May have embedded traffic alerts and parking assistance

Many factory navigation systems come equipped with embedded traffic alerts and parking assistance features. These features can help you navigate through congested areas by providing real-time traffic updates and suggesting alternative routes to avoid delays. Additionally, some systems offer parking assistance, guiding you to available parking spots and providing visual and auditory cues to help you park with ease. These features can save you time and reduce stress, especially in busy urban areas.

Smartphone Integration and Updates

One of the major advantages of having a navigation system in your car is the ability to mirror your phone apps and content on the navigation screen. This integration allows you to access your favorite navigation apps, such as Google Maps or Waze, directly from your car’s built-in display. By connecting your smartphone to the navigation system, you can easily navigate to your destination without the need to constantly look at your phone. This not only makes it convenient and safer for drivers, but it also enhances the overall driving experience.

Mirror phone apps and content on navigation screen

With smartphone integration, you can also access other useful features and content from your phone on the navigation screen. This includes making hands-free calls, sending and receiving text messages, playing music, and even accessing your favorite streaming services. By having these features at your fingertips, you can stay connected while keeping your focus on the road.

Over-the-air map and software updates

Another benefit of having a navigation system with smartphone integration is the ability to receive over-the-air map and software updates. This means that you don’t have to worry about outdated maps or missing new features. The navigation system can automatically download and install updates, ensuring that you always have the latest information and functionality at your disposal. This saves you time and effort compared to traditional navigation systems that require manual updates through CDs or USB drives.

Future-proof with latest navigation technology

Investing in a navigation system with smartphone integration also allows you to future-proof your car. As technology continues to advance, new features and capabilities are constantly being developed. By having a navigation system that can integrate with your smartphone, you can easily take advantage of these advancements without the need to replace your entire system. This flexibility ensures that your car remains up-to-date with the latest navigation technology, providing you with the best possible experience.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Navigation

Monthly subscription costs for live data

One important factor to consider before choosing a navigation system for your car is the potential monthly subscription costs for live data. Some navigation systems require a subscription to access real-time traffic updates, weather information, and other live data. While these features can be incredibly useful, it’s essential to weigh the cost against the benefits. Make sure to research and compare different navigation systems to find one that offers the features you need at a price that fits your budget.

Check display size and placement

The display size and placement of a navigation system can significantly impact your overall driving experience. A small or poorly placed display may be difficult to read and navigate while on the road, which can be a safety concern. Look for a navigation system with a large and clear display that is positioned in a way that doesn’t obstruct your view of the road. This will ensure that you can easily follow directions without taking your eyes off the road for an extended period.

Back-up camera may be bundled

When considering a navigation system for your car, it’s worth checking if a back-up camera is bundled with the package. Many modern navigation systems offer the added benefit of a built-in back-up camera, which can greatly assist with parking and maneuvering in tight spaces. Having both features integrated into one system can save you money and provide added convenience. Remember to check the quality and functionality of the back-up camera before making a final decision.

Aftermarket Navigation Systems Also Available

If your car didn’t come equipped with a navigation system, don’t worry! There are aftermarket options available that can be added later. These third-party systems provide a convenient and cost-effective way to enjoy the benefits of navigation in your car.

Third party systems you can add later

There are various third-party navigation systems that you can choose from. These systems range from simple GPS devices to full-fledged displays with advanced features. Some popular brands include Garmin, TomTom, and Pioneer.

Garmin offers a wide range of standalone GPS devices that can be easily mounted on your car’s dashboard or windshield. These devices provide accurate turn-by-turn directions and real-time traffic updates. They also come with additional features like voice commands and Bluetooth connectivity.

TomTom is another reputable brand that offers both portable GPS devices and integrated navigation systems. Their devices are known for their user-friendly interface and up-to-date maps. TomTom also provides live traffic information and advanced lane guidance to help you navigate through busy roads with ease.

Pioneer is a well-known manufacturer of car audio and navigation systems. Their aftermarket navigation units come with large touchscreens, intuitive interfaces, and support for various multimedia formats. These systems often include additional features like smartphone integration and voice recognition.

Range from simple GPS to full displays

The aftermarket navigation systems available today offer a wide range of features and functionalities. Depending on your needs and budget, you can choose a system that suits you best.

For those who just need basic navigation assistance, a simple GPS device can be a great option. These devices typically provide accurate directions and can be easily mounted on your car’s dashboard or windshield. They are portable and can be used in multiple vehicles.

If you prefer a more integrated solution, you can opt for a full display navigation system. These systems come with larger touchscreens that display detailed maps, points of interest, and other relevant information. They often have built-in Bluetooth connectivity, allowing you to make hands-free calls and stream music from your smartphone.

Require professional installation

It’s important to note that aftermarket navigation systems require professional installation in most cases. This ensures that the system is properly integrated into your car’s existing electronics and that all the features work seamlessly.

While installation costs may vary depending on the complexity of the system and your car’s make and model, it is generally recommended to have a professional handle the installation process. This will ensure that the system is installed correctly and that any potential warranty issues are addressed.


While smartphone navigation apps are convenient, a built-in car navigation system offers significant advantages that can improve your driving experience. Hands-free use, larger displays and seamless vehicle integration lead many drivers to consider navigation a must-have feature. If you drive frequently on unfamiliar routes or in congested areas, the investment in factory navigation is likely worthwhile. Just be sure to evaluate your needs and do some comparison shopping to find the best navigation system for your new car.

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