Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Reliable GPS under $200

Thinking about getting college daughter a GPS for her birthday. She’s starting to tour grad schools/pharm schools and needs something better than road maps and Mapquest. Her chum has a GPS that took them flawlesly to and from the beach last summer.

I see Magellan, TomTom, and Garmin? What does the “W” in the Garmin models mean anyway?

I have a Garmin Nuvi 200, their cheapest model and it works perfectly. The W stands for wide, as in wide screen.

I’ve always heard good things about Garmin Nuvis.

My Motorola V9M phone with Verizon has a fantastic turn-by-turn GPS system built in to it, I feel like it gives the bigger units a run for their money. Too bad it costs 10 bucks extra a month, that’s kind of a drawback.

I bought a Megallan from costco for ~$150. It gets the work done for me. I am sure there are better ones too.

I purchased a Garmin Nuvi wide screen 760 for $220 on Amazon which sold for nearly $900 7 months agoand Best Buy still wants $500 and Garmin is without a doubt the best. Hands down, more features best reliability versatility come with the Garmin. My son uses his in his government car…he is a Fed law officer and they had Tom Tom and it is full of errors and basically no where near the Garmin Nuvi series. By the way, it was shipped free and NO STATE TAX, which I just love. That brings the delivered cost to the customer to be no more than $200 plus tax. SCREW GETTING ANY MORE of MY tax money to someone who steals my money for their political agenda. IT’s MY MONEY, (I did earn it)

They are all very good. I just got a TomTom and I like it even better than the older TomTom. I don’t think you will go wrong with Magellan or Garmin either. They all use the same general technology and have the same basic features. Any current model will have current maps.

Look at feature list and see what might be most important to her.

they had Tom Tom and it is full of errors

Likely that was map errors and they had old map data. I thought it was fun driving on a new road when my old TomTom showed me driving over the river without a bridge or when it directed my a few hundred meters away from my daughter’s driveway, Of course they had build a new bridge and they had renumbered the homes on the street where my daughter lived since I got my old TomTom.

Many of the newer systems, including my TomTom allow quick map updates and even current traffic information.  

 They all use the same basic map information.

If you get her one, remind her that in many places people will break into the car if they see just the mounting hardware (like a suction cup), so she’ll want to keep both the unit and any mounting hardware out of sight.

If she has a Verizon Wireless cellphone, keep in mind that VZ Navigator is a pretty decent alternative, considering the screen size. If she’ll only use it occasionally, it can be purchased by the day.

I have used the Verizon a number of times, and like it. It’s a good compromise, always with her, no bait for thieves. A good way to go.

they (latest Garmins) all have security codes and safe locations that would make the unit useless to any thieves (of course there are dumb thieves too,so good advice). The unit should be removed whenever you leave, Ibought a terrific leather case cheaply to have my wife be able to carry it. The 760 is touch screen, no push buttons and is able to use SD cards for audible books, music, photos, and able to utilize a variety of European maps (for purchase at current price of $149, but my son is going to Europe for honeymoon in June so lending it and buying him the maps will make their road trip a lot less stressful). Look up some reviews on the 760 and you might really like. Live traffic updates and audio books give you a 3 month trial then is a subscription item.