With prices starting at £39.99 for rising all the way up to £399.99 for a top of the range Sat Nav it can be a really hard decision to choose the best sat nav, however our advice is that you stick to the brand named sat nav devices as they will offer the best value for money and if you choose correctly should last you a good few years meaning that you are not going to need to replace your sat nav after a couple of months because the maps are out of date.
Yes you can get a cheap sat nav off the internet, however often these units either break quickly, have maps that are out of date within a few months or have a selection of fantastic features that honestly you will use once and then get bored. Brand Named Satellite Navigators typically cost more, however they have been tried and tested over the last 20 years. When you buy a brand named sat nav unit, you can be sure that you're buying a quality product that will continue to work for the foreseeable future no-matter whether the roads are changed or not.
Which Unit Should You Buy?
Again, its easy to assume that you could use your smartphone as it will come with the Google Maps app which is very good, however the problem with using your smartphone is they often either run out of battery and the wrong time or your data plan runs out of credit meaning that you’re back to square one, lost. If you want to take your car to Europe you cannot use your smartphone's internet as roaming charges are very expensive. We often find that even with the iPhone 6, the screen is just not large enough to get all the information on that I want to take the right direction. Sat Nav’s run on satellites and therefore are completely free meaning once you have bought your GPS unit, its completely free from then on-wards.
The best sat nav device is the one that get you from point A to point B in the quickest time, using the best route that has the least amount of traffic on and comes with a price tag that you can easily afford. If you have money to blow, get yourself a TomTom Go 6000 as it’s the best sat nav we have ever tested and comes with a massive screen, fantastic maps and navigation and a selection of useful features that you will use, however the big problem is that because you're paying for the best sat nav, it comes with a "Best Sat Nav" price tag of over £300 which makes it’s a substantial commitment that actually a lot of people will not be able to afford, or quite frankly want to spend on a satellite navigation system.
Best Sat Nav 2016 UK
Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT-D
- 2016 Model
- Screen Size 5/6/7 Inches
- Lifetime Map/Traffic Updates
- Speed Camera Alerts
- Garmin Real Directions
- Range of Additional Features
- 2015 Model
- Screen Size 7 Inches
- Lifetime Map/Traffic Updates
- No speed Camera Alters
- Garmin Real Directions
- Range of Additional Features
This is an update to our previous top sat nav review which you can read below. Over the last year the sat nav market has moved on considerably with the introduction of many new and improved sat nav units across the market from new and old manufactures. The problem we found was that whilst we tested many good designs from many different manufactures, we still keep coming back to are top two brand names being TomTom and Garmin. At the end of last year, TomTom brought out an all new and improved TomTom GO 6100 which you can read the review here, however whilst it's a great sat nav that comes with improved maps, directions and even allows for free map updates and traffic which we have not seen in previous designs, we still think the Garmin range of car gps units are better. The problem with the TomTom range is if you want to have traffic updates you need to pay the premium which does not make it a value for money product. Can the best sat nav for your car in 2016 really be a sat nav that cost's over three hundred pounds? It's a touch call to make with the biggest problem being that if you take the TomTom 610 which comes in at half the price, you don't get the traffic updates which Garmin offers for free.
So what's our Top Sat Nav Unit for your car in the UK for 2016? Firstly it's a Garmin, however Garmin have also moved on in 2016 with the introduction of two new models. The DriveSmart and the DriveAssist with the key difference being that the DriveAssist comes with an in-built dash cam that records wants in front of you and offers a range of features that help keep your driving safe from Forward collision to lane departure and fatigue warnings. The DriveAssist is a great sat nav unit and if you can reduce your car insurance by using this sat unit then we can see the added benefit, however we really like the DriveSmart range of sat nav units. As always we feel that the 50LMT with it's 5-inch screen is slightly too small, whilst the 70LMT with a 7-inch screen being slightly too big and the perfect model being the DriveAssist 60LMT being a great model.
We still really like our 2015 top sat nav model the Garmin 2797LMT and given the fact that this model is now a year old, the price has come down considerably meaning that you're getting a great deal, however we do really like the all new and improved Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT.
Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT-D
The Garmin DriveSmart 60LMT is Garmin's all new sat nav device and comes with a range of new features and upgrades that help to giver users a better experience using their sat nav unit. Whilst our favourite model is the DriveSmart 60, the range consists of a 50LMT with a five inch screen, a 70LMT with a seven inch screen and our favourite, the 60LMT with a six inch screen.
We have tested the DriveSmart extensively over the last few months and have found that the screen, menu interface, maps and directions have only been slightly improved, what has really improved is the overall experience. In the past the pinch and zoom screen sometimes did not work as expected meaning that you either zoomed in too far, or no enough, however this has been drastically improved to the point where it works better than the best smartphones. The screen has been slightly improved to make it even more crystal clear. With the Garmin Nuvi 2797LMT below, we needed to use a sun shade when the top was down and we were in direct sunlight, whereas the DriveSmart does not need this.
The DriveSmart comes with full integrated maps that include both traffic alerts and for the first time, speed camera alerts meaning that you now know where all the fixed speed cameras are to make sure that you don't speed in the wrong place. In the past traffic alerts worked well, but we often found that there was limited choice when it alternative routes meaning that unless it was a major traffic jam, the traffic alerts did not really work. This new model with it's updated traffic alerts works fantastically well and we have seen massive improvements in this area. The speed cameras work well, but remember, the unit only knows about fixed speed camera points and cannot detect moveable speed cameras.
Alerts have also been improved to the point where now the sat nav alerts you to road speed changes, forthcoming sharp curves, school zones and one way roads. We also like the new and improved bluetooth speaker meaning that you can simply sychronize your smartphone with your sat nav and take calls using hands free or use your sat nav to display incoming text message and reminders.
Overall, we love the DriveSmart 60LMT, we love the upgrades and new features and most importantly, we love the price tag that makes the 60LMT or the 70LMT depending on your needs and car size our best sat nav of 2016. If you're looking for sat nav to take on holiday this summer, the DriveSmart will look after you and allow you not to get lost, or more importantly not to get stuck in traffic. If you're looking for something to do along your route, the Garmin has this covered with it's massive points of interest database that now contains not only activities across the UK, but now Europe as well. We love this model and are convince the reviews are going to be great as well - You can check them out here.
Best Sat Nav 2015
When you start taking into account the price of the device, suddenly the choice is a little wider and as there are many great sat nav models on the market right now. Honestly this is a tough choice, however our best satnav is the Garmin 2797LMT as it’s a fantastic 2015 model that comes with all the latest features but without the monster price tag.
The Garmin 2797LMT has a fantastic 7-Inch, bright, super clear dual-orientation screen. The screen is so good that you can easily see your directions on the screen in direct sun-light, whilst having dual-orientation means that you can have more than one display at any one time. This is a very useful feature of the latest sat nav models as it allows you to see your direction on one side
of the screen whilst at the same time view your current speed and the road speed limit or in a difficult junction you could view an over-head image showing you the junction whilst at the same time view an animated image showing the lane that you’re meant to be in to take the correct exit.
The Garmin interface and menu system is the best on the market and super easy to use straight out of the box. To enter your destination, you simple bring up the on-screen keyboard which allows you to easily enter the address of where you want to go to. Given this is a 2014 model, the sat nav comes with super fast processors that will quickly and easily calculate the quickest route for you. If you make a mistake along your route by taking a wrong turn, the device will quickly calculate a new route for you.
The Nuvi 2797LMT comes with Garmin’s latest Maps of the UK that are both super clear and detailed. Most importantly the navigator comes with free lifetime updates meaning that you will never have old maps and therefore will always know of any road changes that could have been made. On top the maps the Nuvi 2797 uses Garmin’s latest real directions with real voice guide to give you spoken turn-by-turn directions which uses recognisable building and landmarks to direct you rather than distances. With these latest devices, you’re more likely to hear your sat nav tell you to turn right after the traffic lights than the old method of turn right after 300 meters.For those really difficult interchanges, the Nuvi 2797LMT has this covered by offering you “PhotoReal” and “Birds Eye Junction” which gives the user detailed images of junctions along your route to stop there being any problem when exiting those complex junction.
As an added benefit, the Garmin unit comes with Garmin’s fantastic traffic alerts which are fully integrated in to the sat nav system meaning that not only will the unit take into account any traffic problems when deciding the best route to send you on, but traffic alerts will appear to the side of your map. The traffic alerts will warn you and can give you details about the traffic problem such as how long the delay will be and whether there are any ways around the traffic jam. Best of all, traffic alerts are free with no subscription or additional fees.
The Garmin Nuvi comes with a selection of fantastic features such as Garmin’s “Up Ahead” feature that shows you nearby services such as petrol stations, banks and restaurants, voice-navigation meaning that you can speak to your sat nav and change your destination or find the nearest petrol station without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road and Bluetooth meaning that you can make and receive calls using the sat nav in-built speaker system.Smartphone Link is a free app that will connect your Sat Nav to your iPhone or Android smartphone where you can look at destinations before uploading them onto your sat nav or access Garmin’s Live Services which use real-time information to access weather or driving conditions.The major downside of this model is that the mount is terrible. It just does not stick to the wind-shield and if you go around a corner to sharply the sat nav will fall off the windshield. This is not a huge problem as Garmin make such fantastic other Accessories.
Cheaper Car Sat Nav
The Garmin 2797LMT is a fantastic car sat nav model that we highly recommend you look at if you're in the market for a new sat nav, but if you need cheaper unit that still comes with the same performance then you need to take a look at the highly recommend Garmin 2597LMT which is basically exactly the same as the 2797 with the key difference being that it it's a slightly older model, features that have been upgraded and thus work better and half the price.
The Garmin Nuvi 2597LMT has the same 5-inch touch screen display as is in its newer brother, however whilst the screen clarity is good, its not perfect and is not as clear especially in direct sunlight. The interface and menu system is very similar and is very easy to use meaning that you can quickly enter a destination using the keyboard and the touch screen and allow the device to calculate a route for you. Again, you have free life time map updates, meaning that you will always have up to date maps, and free traffic updates meaning that your route will be calculated by taking into account any on-going traffic jams.
Directions are in the form of spoken turn-by-turn directions and images and whilst the unit does come with a dual orientation screen, given the screen clarity is not perfect, its much easier to use it as one big screen rather than two small ones. The animated photos work really well, especially in complex junctions where the brightly coloured arrows indicate which lane you’re meant to be in to take the right exit.
With this model, Garmin decided to go crazy with the features and not only does it come with some of the usual features such as a massive points of interest database with millions of cash machines, petrol stations and restaurants, but it also come with a few odd features such as petrol price alerts and speed camera alerts. Whilst there is voice control, it does not work all that well (at least for me it does not work) and there is no Bluetooth so you cannot connect your smartphone to your sat nav.
The Best Sav Nav In The UK
Above we have reviewed the best sat nav's across the market in both 2015 and 2016 and we will continue to update this page into 2017 to ensure that we test out all the best sat nav models across the market. One point to make, we love Garmin's new range of sat nav models, however we do think that if you're going to only use your sat nav model once in a while, then really the best sat nav for you should be the Garmin 2797LMT given the price difference.