It was a common scene from many a childhood road trip: mom and dad struggling with folding and unfolding a giant map to figure out where they’re going. Those bulky paper maps have all but disappeared now that navigation systems are becoming the norm in new cars.
From affordable compact cars to pickup trucks and SUVs, high-tech, easy-to-use navigation systems are becoming available in virtually every new vehicle for 2013. And it’s easy to see why.
BETTER THAN HANDHELD
Handheld GPS units and smart phones have put the power of navigation systems into the hands of just about everyone, but navigation systems are still among the most popular and useful options on today’s new cars.
Why is that? Because they’re better and more convenient than anything you can fit in your pocket.
Most in-car navigation systems have a large digital display in the center of the dash that makes it easy for anyone — driver or passenger — to see information about where they’re headed.
Car companies make the controls as easy and intuitive to use as possible, which results in a much better experience — and possibly much safer — than trying to fiddle with a tiny handheld device from the driver’s seat.
MORE THAN MAPS
The other advantage of in-car navigation systems is just how much they can do.
All navigation systems can show you maps and give you directions to your destination, typically with a friendly voice that offers turn-by-turn instructions, but most of them can do a lot more than that.
Thanks to mobile internet integration on many new cars, the newest navigation systems can do things like show you the weather forecast, re-route you around known traffic problems and even use some mobile applications, much like the apps on your cell phone.