Recommendations for a car GPS unit.

I’m looking to get one for hubs for Christmas but know nothing about them, I could really use any advice or experience you might have. Thank you in advance!

Ideally it would have an easy user interface (we’re not young or terribly techie!), a fair sized screen would be great too. It would have to be portable, as in, we could move it to our next car. I’m assuming I can pay to have it installed if it’s tricky, but it would be sweet if we could install it ourselves.

I have been out looking, but there is a dizzying variety of options, brands and prices. (I’d like to spend about $300 or so, if that’s doable.

Reasonably priced, pretty easy to use and somewhat reliable, basically.

Please point me in the right direction!

I’d hate to subvert the OP’s intentions, but I feel it is my duty to ask. Do you have a smart phone?

All smart phones can be GPS units, and they are even better than standard GPS units because they get updated traffic data and route you around traffic.

For like $20 you can buy a mount that allows you to mount your phone onto your car like a GPS unit.

I knew this would come up. He’s at an age where the cell phone display is just a little too small for him to easily read. I haven’t had a cell myself, so me trying to navigate the phone itself isn’t likely to end well. Whenever it’s handed to me to do something on I always manage to push a wrong button and scupper the whole effort. Plus now the driver is getting extra fussed about his phone and trying to wrangle it AND the car. The whole thing is unworkable, in our reality. However we’ve driven rental vehicles with the mounted gps display and it really made things easy for everyone. It just seems a significantly more workable way to go, for us. YMMV.

SO, I recognize that’s a great work around for a lot of people I don’t think it will work for us. I do appreciate the suggestion though, thanks.

Except in some places there’s no cell service, then what? Yeah you can download maps, but then they don’t always work like you want. A number of GPS units will also give you traffic and give alternates.

The two biggest companies are Garmin and TomTom. I’ve never used a TomTom before so I don’t know anything about them really. I’ve owned a few Garmins and still use a portable one in my car. They don’t need to be too expensive, you can get them for $120 or so. I don’t really think an indash one would be worth it, might be more difficult to update. Plus you can take a portable one between cars.

I’ve used portable, for the car, GPS units for years. Garmin, Tom Tom, and Magellan. I’ve always preferred the Garmin units myself.

Many are available with lifetime map updates as well as traffic data. Install couldn’t be easier than stick the mount on the windshield and plug the power cable into the power outlet on the dash.

Some of their units are voice controlled so you don’t have to take your eyes off the road to enter data, though entering a full street address via voice is not always easy.

If you don’t like the mount stuck on the windshield, and I don’t, Pro Clip makes mounts for many vehicles the work well. They either hook onto joints between dash panels or clip to the AC vents. I’ve used them on several pickups and SUVs. They don’t fall off in the summer like the suction cup mounts often do.

Here’s a niceGarmin that has lifetime map updates, blue tooth connection for your phone and real time traffic.

There is also Magellan, and they are OK, but I prefer Garmin.

You can get lifetime map updates and traffic data, and will reroute around it if it’s faster*. They offer lane information (be in the 2 right lanes), natural voice directions (turn left at the stop sign), and voice commands (I can tell my GPS “go home”, and it routes me home).

Installation isn’t a problem - power is from a cigarette lighter cord.

*Traffic data coverage is limited, but it’s mostly in areas where heavy traffic is likely to be a problem.

Google Assistant is verbally controlled and will give verbal turn by turn guidance to a destination.
The fellow I coach with has Siri on his phone and it does the same thing.

Since it sounds like being able to see it well is a primary concern, I’d use that as a limiting factor in your search. It looks to me that dedicated GPS units seem to max out at 7 inches.

Personally, I’ve followed only the verbal directions when trying to navigate using a standalone GPS or smartphone app, rather than looking at the screen. (I’m usually the only one in the car, so I don’t need the distraction.)

This is not true. I own a smart phone with no GPS. In addition, the extra data costs would bust my supply of minutes in no time. Assuming I’m always traveling in an area with a cell phone signal, which is not the case. So a GPS unit works a lot better, cheaper, etc. in my case.

There is no “one size fits all” for people in regard to tech. Keep that in mind.

Another vote for Garmin.
Get a model with “LMT” (Lifetime Maps & Traffic). Also note that they have more then one size. Before you purchase look at the screen size; it might be worth it to you to spend a bit more to get a significantly larger screen. Of course, depending upon your car & where you want to mount it, the smaller screen might work better.

Also check out the brightness, my second Garmin was noticeably dimmer than my first one, so much that I hated it. Also, just so you know, Garmin will magically stop supporting whatever Garmin product you buy right when you need it serviced. They can fix them, they just won’t.

Not trying to dispute your overall point, but I thought all phones sold today & recent years had GPS for Enhanced-911 capability?

All smartphones are capable of using GPS but you must install some sort of GPS app. If it’s an android phone it probably already has Google Maps or Drive or something like that on it.

The app I use (and highly recommend) is HERE WeGo – it’s available for android and Apple. It is totally free and has NO ADS. You can download maps for just the states you choose; you don’t have to download the whole country or world. You can set it to give live traffic updates or set it to only give map directions if you have limited data available. Keep in mind that live traffic updates uses cell data but the GPS receives its info from satellites and does not use cell data. You can install it on an android phone that has no cell service, so you can consider getting a large screen phone for cheap, not signing up for any cell service on that phone, and just use it for the GPS.

I suggest that since this app is totally free you try it out while you think about your final solution. It just might turn out to be all you need. This app has kind of an uncluttered ‘Euro-modern’ appearance. It looks kind of spartan at first compared to the Garmin and TomTom units, but as you use it you come to realize that everything you need is on the screen.

Remember not to spend a lot of time looking at the screen while driving. With some practice you learn to just quickly glance at the part of the screen with the info you currently need … the direction of your next turn, the name of street, etc. At first it’s best to use the GPS on trips where you already know the way, like trips to the grocery store and such, just to get used to the interface. It may even be a good idea to take a couple of short trips as the passenger rather than the driver to explore the interface and become familiar with it.

Reread my post!

A lot of low end smart phones, running recent versions of Android, do NOT have GPS hardware in them. Apps are NOT the issue.

I find that my smart phone GPS use a very little data, especially since I download area maps with Wi-Fi.