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Any Recommended Nav Systems?


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Hello everyone,

I was wondering what would be a good alternative if I didn't purchase the NAV system from Lexus(too pricey). I'm using an 08 IS 250 and I'm not sure what would be a good after market nav system. Do any of you guys recommend a good nav system that doesn't become too bulky? I'm already using an ipod with the aux port and the two chargers for my ipod and cellphone. Is it also possible to go back to the dealership and install the nav system?

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Hello everyone,

I was wondering what would be a good alternative if I didn't purchase the NAV system from Lexus(too pricey). I'm using an 08 IS 250 and I'm not sure what would be a good after market nav system. Do any of you guys recommend a good nav system that doesn't become too bulky? I'm already using an ipod with the aux port and the two chargers for my ipod and cellphone. Is it also possible to go back to the dealership and install the nav system?

The dealer will not install a factory nav. They will want to put you in a car with factory nav. A plug and play factory nav will cost around $3300.00 and you can install it yourself or have a shop do it. It is easier than most owners think.

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Or for 1/10th the cost you can buy a garmin that does more and doesn't cripple itself when you are in drive... plus you won't impact the warranty on the audio system.

Actually, if you don't need traffic and bluetooth you can get a good Garmin at/under $100 nowadays.

Looking at nav systems (the kind that sit on the dash) you have three common things you need to decide if you care about:

1) Text to speach- This is where it says "In 500 feet turn left on Elm Street" instead of the more generic "In 500 feet, turn left". If this is the only thing that matters to you you can get a nice unit in the $100-150 range pretty easily.

2) Bluetooth- Having the nav and your phone connect... so you can do handfree calling with the speaker/mic in the nav unit, dial via the phonebook on the nav, etc.... If this and #1 are all you care about you can get a nice unit in the $150-250 range depending on sales and such.

3) Realtime traffic- There are 3 different traffic services, all of which can deliver realtime traffic data to your nav unit, show accidents, route you around them, etc... In the case of the MSN service it can also show you local movie times, weather, route you to the cheapest nearby gas, etc. This is a for-pay service but it's fairly cheap (like $60 a year or $199 lifetime service from MSN for example). If you want all three features you're looking around $300 for a good unit.

If you let me know which ones you care about (and if there's anything else you specifically know you need it to do I didn't mention) I can probably suggest a model or two, and probably even let you know if there's any deals running now, or where to keep an eye out for such deals if there's not.

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I guess I'll just stick to Nav systems which cost only around the hundreds range. I think the GPS system that I found really interesting is the Tom Tom ones, but idk which version to get. I read somewhere that a guy bought an old version gps and he had to upgrade the map which cost him more. I guess I'm also looking for one that doesn't have a lot of upgrade costs and a very user friendly since this is my first time dealing with these gadgets.

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...whatever you do, please don't ask if you should do "in car nav vs. dash unit"...you'll get many pages of personal opinion and fanatical advice :D . Ah...too late :(

But serious there is a recent thread on this topic if you search.

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Generally most companies charge for new maps...it's another place the aftermarket is cheaper than OEM though.

Lexus charges $300 a year for new maps.

Garmin gets $75.

Now, with Garmin at least (and I would hope other manufacturers) if you buy a unit that happens to have old maps on it, as long as you have proof of purchase date, you'll get a free update to whatever the "current' maps are when you purchased it.

http://www.gpsreview.net/

that's a site with pretty good GPS reviews... if you are looking tomtom in particular you'd go here:

http://www.gpsreview.net/category/gps-manu...om-gps-reviews/

Tomtom maps seem to run a bit more expensive just at a glance than Garmin, but still a lot cheaper than Lexus.

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  • 2 weeks later...

All my new vehicles have built in Nav, but I used a Garmin Nüvi 350 for 60K miles in an older vehicle and loved it. Even carry it in my wife's MB CLK, as that Nav is so hopeless.

Like Knightshade says, text-to-speech is very important, so useful you won't care what size the display is because you will be listening for directions instead of taking your eyes off the road to look at the display.

I drove 3K miles in Europe in a rental with a tomtom and did not like it as much as the Garmin, but to each their own.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am using a Garmin Nuvi 660 with Bluetooth and traffic radio, etc and I am very happy with it.

I bought it a month ago. It has been discontinued but you can still get it for $299... a great deal.

The graphics are better than in the new Toyotas with nav and I assume those systems are very similar to the Lexus ones...

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I've used both Garmin and TomTom portable Navs and I think the TomTom has a slight edge in the user interface area, but only a slight edge. I don't think you could go wrong with either brand.

I still prefer the OEM built in system though, looks cleaner, I like always having it there and not having to worry about putting it up, taking it down, turning it on or off, etc.

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I still prefer the OEM built in system though, looks cleaner, I like always having it there and not having to worry about putting it up, taking it down, turning it on or off, etc.

I certainly agree with Steve that an indash nav looks better. And having to remove a portable nav from the windshield or a bean bag mount every time you get out of your car and remount it every time you get back into your car is a real PITA. If I was going to buy a new car every three years or so, I might buy cars with factory nav even through OEM nav returns a very small percentage of its original value on a used car. But I keep cars far past their depreciable value which means that an OEM nav would be hopelessly out of date by the time I get rid of a car.

As I've noted in past threads a solution I've found that works well is to mount a portable nav on a bracket just to the right of the radio. In that location, the portable nav is easy to use for both the driver and passenger. Since it is attached to the accessory circuit, I never have to turn it on or off -- it turns on automatically when I start the car and it turns itself off after 10 minutes of no activity. Although I still have to press an "I Agree" button on startup, the portable nav can be used by me or the front seat passenger while the car is in motion.

I never remove the nav from the bracket when exiting the car. Mounted by the radio it is almost invisible from outside the car due the the tinted side windows, the windshield sunscreen I usually put up and because I use "something" (it's a secret) to disguise it.

One nice thing about using a portable nav is that I can take it to use in rental cars -- no need to learn how to operate or pay extra for a nav in a rental car. And, when I travel and use rental cars, I can pre-program the destinations in my portable nav while sitting in my living room at home. That sure beats doing it in a Hertz rental car lot in an airport before I drive out.

There are some really nice AMPS standard brackets from Pro.Fit and other companies. One bracket model from Pro.Fit works on about any Lexus except the LX which uses a different Pro.Fit bracket. Some portable navs (not Garmin) come with cradles that are AMPS compatible. Several companies sell inexpensive AMPS adapters that allow Garmin portable navs to be mounted on AMPS brackets.

I'll attach two photos -- one with a portable nav on the windshield of my LS where it is almost impossible to reach; the other photo is with the portable nav mounted in my LS on a Pro.Fit bracket where it is easily reached.

post-2157-1219279981_thumb.jpg

post-2157-1219280166_thumb.jpg

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The way Jim has his hardwired in is the way I would go too. In that scenario you'd have to get a 4:3 system, the widescreen units would be too wide.

I have a buddy that has a 98 LS and he has a TomTom that he has the standard adhesive disc/suction cup mount stuck on the dashboard right above that line that runs across above the driver's air vent. The arm is angled in such a way that it hangs forward and is pretty easily reached. The negative with that is the passenger can't reach it, and you still have to worry about theft...

The nav is a big reason why I got a new ES in '03 vs a CPO '00 LS. Had it been today I would have just gotten a good portable unit, but back then the portables weren't great and the OEM nav on the '00 is archaic and non-upgradable.

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as tested by a well known magazine

Best Overall:

• Garmin Nuvi 760 • Garmin Nuvi 660 , • TomTom Go 730T

All three units are simple to operate, yet are feature rich. The Garmin Nuvi 760 has a wide 4.4-inch (diagonal) screen, Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 player, photo viewer, spoken street names, and a trip computer. It is not only traffic ready with an included FM receiver, but it is one of a few units that is also MSN Direct compatible. (However, an MSN Direct receiver is necessary to subscribe to that premium service.) This is the device for the power user who wants the best. The similar Nuvi 750, 770, and 780 are all good choices, with slight variations in features.

The Garmin Nuvi 660 presents a less-expensive alternative to the Nuvi 760. Both the 760 and the 660 have a wide 4.4-inch (diagonal) screen, Bluetooth connectivity, MP3 player, photo viewer, spoken street names, trip computer, and are traffic ready with an included FM receiver. The Nuvi 660 does not have MSN Direct compatibility, location help feature, car locator, nor the ability to program multiple destinations. You can program just one waypoint per trip. The Nuvi 760 offers an optional QWERTY keyboard and a sleeker exterior design. However, we found the Nuvi 660 to have one more hour of battery life than the 760, and it includes an AC adapter and carrying case. The Nuvi 650, 670, and 680 are all similar units.

The well-equipped TomTom Go 730T has most essential features sought in a portable navigation device, plus a few extras. Key features include a wide, 4.4-inch screen, FM transmitter, spoken street names, Bluetooth connectivity, iPod interface, traffic capability with an included FM receiver, and pre-loaded maps for the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The Go 730T does not include an AC adapter, and the tested battery life is shorter than the other Quick Picks at just two hours. We found the Go 730T easy to use overall, with good controls and quick route calculation time.

Bargain hunters will find much of the same strengths available in lower-priced Garmin units, sacrificing some features for cost savings. For example, the well-rated Garmin Nuvi 255 gives up the wide screen, Bluetooth connectivity, and FM transmitter, while retaining the core features and a few extras that will matter most in daily driving.

Best on a budget:

• Garmin Nuvi 255 • TomTom XL 330 S • TomTom One 130 S • Garmin Nuvi 200

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The way Jim has his hardwired in is the way I would go too. In that scenario you'd have to get a 4:3 system, the widescreen units would be too wide.

After measuring, I tend to think that a wide screen Garmin would not be too wide mounted where my bracket is now. My "old" (purchased June 07) Margellan 4:3 aspect narrow screen nav is 4.2 inches wide due to its rather beafy housing. The Garmin 700 series widescreen, rated #1 in a recent Consumer Reports mag comparison, is only 4.8 inches wide - only six tenths of an inch wider. Look at the photo above where my Magellan is mounted on a bracket and visualize a wide screen nav that extends only three tenths of an inch further on either side of my Magellan.

Three tenths of an inch seems like a nit to me so I think a widescreen Garmin would fit just fine on my bracket.

I'm glad Steve made his comment since I was thinking about buying a narrow screen Garmin Nuvi. Now that I realize there is so little difference in width been a wide screen Garmin and the Magellan I currently have, I'm now leaning towards buying a widescreen Garmin.

I'm not sure a wide screen nav would be much better for me than a narrow one since I spend so little time looking at the screen when the nav is guiding me. I rely mostly on the voice prompts, e.g. "Turn right on Elm Street in two miles" ... "Turn right on Elm Street in 300 feet". My main reasons for looking at the nav screen while driving are to see how many miles or minutes until arrival, to see exactly how far it is to the next turn, to see the name of the next major cross street (displayed when I press the banner at the top of the screen), and to look at the compass (the LS400 doesn't have one). A wide screen nav wouldn't help me in these cases.

Perhaps a wide screen nav would not truncate the names of POIs as much as my narrow screen nav does. That would be nice.

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I am using a Garmin Nuvi 660 with Bluetooth and traffic radio, etc and I am very happy with it.

I bought it a month ago. It has been discontinued but you can still get it for $299... a great deal.

The graphics are better than in the new Toyotas with nav and I assume those systems are very similar to the Lexus ones...

WHERE DO YOU GET A GARMIN NUVI 660 FOR $299.00 i WILL PURCHASE IT IMMEDIATELY. TKS

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The Garmin Nuvi 770 is available online from Costco at $399.99, including shipping, for a limited time but you have to have a Costco card. Links to stuff on the Costco website are not good for long but here is the one for this offer: http://www.costco.com/Browse/Product.aspx?...g=en-US&s=1

If I was buying a Garmin today, the Nuvi 770 would be the one -- mainly because it is one of the few models that includes maps for both North America and Europe right out of the box - no need to buy extra maps.

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  • 3 months later...

whats all this 'turning on elm street'. not usually anything interesting on elm street. for more fun, try something that involves 'turning on 48th ave' or perhaps 'turning on 61st street'. :D

on topic content: ive had a garmin 260 since september, which is now under $150 on amazon, and i am really impressed (no bluetooth or fm transmitter) but its plenty loud. much better than the $2K factory system in my 2004 model year car.

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