/ Motoring, Technology

Brand new car, but an out of date sat-nav?

Built-in sat nav

When buying a new car with a built-in sat nav, you’d probably expect the navigation maps to be up-to-date. But we’ve found that you might have to shell out for updates, straight away…

You’ve bought a brand new car, and opted for the built-in satellite navigation add-on. You drive off the forecourt and come across a roundabout that bafflingly doesn’t appear on your sat nav’s map.

What’s going on? It could be that your sat nav’s maps aren’t up to date.

Updating maps on built-in sat navs

We know that it’s important to update your sat nav maps, but our research in 2012 found that the cost of doing so for a built-in sat nav can stretch in to hundreds of pounds each time. We found wild variations between the prices paid from dealership to dealership too.

In a recent survey we found that a massive 68% of people surveyed had never updated their built-in sat nav maps, mainly due to the related cost.

But when paying out for a brand new car and a built-in sat nav as an added extra, you would expect your brand new device to be as up to date as possible, right?

We heard from one of our members who found the exact opposite to be true. In June 2015 Mrs Bartlett bought a brand new Citroën C4 Grande Picasso that came with built-in sat nav. On the way home from the garage they used a new bypass, but according to their sat nav, they were driving through fields.

Mrs Bartlett contacted the garage they purchased the car from, who contacted Citroën on their behalf. They were informed that they would have to pay for any and all updates on their new car, even though it had been sent out of the factory with out-of-date maps – at a cost of £69, the same price as one of our Best Buy sat nav models.

Luckily, as a gesture of goodwill, Mrs Bartlett’s £69 did manage to get a refund, after threatening to share her story on social media channels.

The cost of updates

Many new standalone devices from big brands, such as Garmin and TomTom, include free map updates for the lifetime of the device. But if you’re stuck with an older model or a built-in sat nav, you could be faced with a bill every time you want to update it.

Have you experienced a similar situation when buying a new car? Would you rather pay extra for a standalone device with free map updates, or fork out for a built-in sat nav and update it regularly?Do you think built-in sat navs be automatically updated before purchase?


I was aware of the high cost of map updates when I bought my car so I told the salesman that I did not want a built-in sat nav. The maps can be updated free on my standalone unit. Motoring is expensive enough without paying a fortune for a built-in sat nav and having costly updates.


I’ve got on fine with a 12 year old Tomtom in my old car without updates. Followed signs when new road appeared. The downside is finding an address in a new area.

My new car has a built-in satnav that is updated automatically 4 times a year. It has a great on-screen display but also gives basic data on the instrument panel and, much more useful and safe, route data in a head-up display in the windscreen, including pictures of motorway road exits as they are needed. I would be miffed, though, if considering the cost I’d have to also pay for updates.

john wakley says:
29 July 2016

when I retired Jan 2011 Bought a new Audi A6 S line special edition it came with a built in sat nav but as I intended keeping the for a long time (it is now over 5 years old but only 21,000 miles on the clock) I purchased and upgraded version at an extra cost of £425 the car itself after £3000 cost £32.500.
anyway not only was the sat nav not up to date you can only enter the first five digits of the post code it then offers you a list of streets and places such hotels etc. how ever if as is very often the case the street or place you want is not listed you have had it. Audi tell me that that is the German system and there is nothing they can do about it. I have had to buy a stand alone sat nav with free life time map update and safety camera data base.

Shan says:
2 August 2016

Our Citroen would only allow the first 5 digits, but the dealer was able to re-se the sat nav to accept all 7, so it might be worth asking them. Good Luck

James Stephenson says:
5 August 2016

my ford focus (2016 model with myford touch sync 2) only allows 5 digits


As far as I can see, supplying a Sat Nav which doesn’t contain accurate maps renders the device not fit for purpose. Updating these maps ought to be done automatically, each time the car is serviced at least. Interestingly, if the satnav maps are out of date but the car is still under warranty I would imagine the car owner would have a legitimate case against the manufacturer. What do the legal beagles in WOL think?

John says:
29 July 2016

I bought a brand new Ford with built in SatNav in 2008. As in all new Fords at that time the supplied unit was made by Bosch including the software. The maps as supplied covered all of the UK plus Major Roads in Europe. I used the SatNav in the UK and France/Spain for 5 years with no major drawbacks despite the software being out of date but then decided it was time to bite the bullet and shell out for an update. Then I discovered that Ford wanted well over £100 for the UK version and the same for any other European country version! So I resorted to Google/EBay and eventually found a Dutch company offering TomTom software that covered all of UK plus full coverage of all Euro countries and suitable for my Ford/Bosch unit. You must have all your present Hardware/Software details to ensure a perfect match. Having done this I bought a CD update that worked perfectly and cost under £100 for the complete package inc. p&p. I grant that this is still expensive compared to stand alone units with guaranteed lifetime software updates, but is still a lot cheaper than buying it from our ‘Enry!


It would be helpful if all sat navs showed the date of the maps so that it is easy to check if they are up to date, especially when buying a new car. Cars are often in storage before they are sold, so it is hardly surprising that some are sold with out of date sat nav data.