Sat nav review - £125-£200

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  • The best sat-navs revealed
  • All budgets covered
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Best buy
TomTom XL Live Europe
Price £175.49
For Brilliantly simple to use; useful Live services; great value for money
Against No Bluetooth connectivity

This is all the sat-nav that most drivers will ever need. It’s simple to set up, the menu is intuitive and the maps are easier to follow than those of any other brand of sat-nav we’ve tested – particularly in built-up areas.

There are lots of powerful features designed to make your life easier, too, including one year’s subscription to TomTom’s Live Services. These give you comprehensive traffic updates and a function that searches for the cheapest fuel in the area. They’ve been available on TomTom sat-navs for a couple of years, but getting them meant forking out £8 per month until recently.

If you find the services useful and want to keep them after the free 12 months, it’ll cost you £47.50 each year. If you don’t, you’ll still have a very capable sat-nav.

The XL also comes with a clever integrated cradle, called Easyport, which folds against the back of the device when you don’t need to use it. The bright 4.3-inch screen and clear spoken instruction are also strong points.

Our only real criticism is that you can’t pair the XL with your mobile phone using Bluetooth – a feature that’s included on some other, similarly priced units, and allows you to make handsfree calls.

We tested the Europe version of the XL Live, which comes pre-loaded with maps of 30 countries. If you don’t plan to drive abroad, go for the Regional version (which covers just the UK and Ireland) and you’ll save £15.

Garmin Nuvi 1690
Price £172.50 (
For Constant link with Garmin;
easy to use
Against Real-time services cost extra

The Nuvi 1690 has a constant link with Garmin HQ – called nüLink – which can provide you with up-to-the-minute traffic information, tell you where to find the cheapest fuel or even search for a hotel or supermarket using Google. Sounds great, doesn’t it? The downside is the link costs £45 a year to maintain, and unlike TomTom’s Live Services scheme you don’t get a year’s free subscription up front.

The 1690 is an effective navigator, and is simple to use. However, the winning TomTom XL offers clearer maps and costs less to buy when you factor in the free Live Services.

Motorola Motonav TN555
Price £199.99
For Plenty of features; can be wired into car’s stereo
Against Pricey; dull display

Motorola may be best known for its mobile phones, but its first foray into the world of car navigation is a successful one. The display is packed with information about your route or the area you’re driving in, and the map remains easy to follow. The Motonav can even send pre-composed text messages, such as ‘I’m driving, will call you back’ if you are on the move. Shame about the dull display.

£125-£200 also rans…
Navigon 40 Easy EU 23
Price £139.99 (
For Clear mapping; solid windscreen mount
Against Not as user-friendly as rivals

The Navigon impresses with its classy, detailed maps and rock-solid windscreen mount. If only the menu system was a bit more user-friendly. Although the 40 Easy is one of the cheapest units in this budget, it doesn’t offer the real-time services of the TomTom and the Garmin.

Mio Navigon 575
Price £139.99 (
For Biggest screen in this budget; lots of features
Against Wobbly windscreen mount; dim screen

Your £140 gets you a whopping 4.7-inch widescreen, European maps and traffic updates. Sounds like a bargain, doesn’t it? It would be – if the Mio had a brighter screen and its windscreen mount wasn’t so flimsy. Overall, the 575 is a decent sat-nav, but not polished enough to trouble the best.

Vexia Econav 480 Europe
Price £199 (
For Nifty fuel saving tricks
Against So-so navigation; pricey; misses out on key features

This sat-nav won’t only tell you how to get where you’re going, it’ll help you save fuel in the process. Enter some details about your car, and it will alert you when to change gear for optimum fuel efficiency. Shame it’s so expensive and misses out on some important features, such as Bluetooth.

Sat nav review - More than £200


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