/ 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Brand new car, but an out of date sat-nav?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they would have to pay for any and all updates on their new car, even though it had been sent out of the factory with out-of-date maps – at a cost of £69, the same price as one of our Best Buy sat nav models.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?

NukeThemAll says:
1 August 2016

Some very useful and interesting views to date! My VW comes with 3 years free updates for its SatNav, although the procedure for doing so is a bit ‘buggy’. Doesn’t concern me too much since, even though it’s apparently one of the ‘better’ built-in SatNavs, it’s still somewhat primitive compared to my TomTom app on my smartphone. Or even compared to Google Navigation. Which is why when the 3 years are up, if the updates aren’t very cheap, I won’t bother.

Indeed, given the increasing number of cars which support Mirrorlink, Android Auto and Apple Car Play (mine included) the era of the built-in SatNav is surely limited. After all, the connected phone and its software is a rapidly improving platform and all we’ll need is the big screen of the infotainment system.

Iain Young says:
2 August 2016

Why can we buy stand alone satnavs and satnav apps for mobile phone which all come with free update but updates for built in sat navs for car are a total rip off in cost and often cost more for an update than a stand alone sat nav or app.

Steve says:
24 March 2017

Just had the same experience on a brand new vauxhall – phoned customer service and they wanted £150 to update – only had the car two weeks. Unbelievable!

Bishbut says:
24 April 2017

Satnav ??Who needs a Satnav I certainly don’t I can read a map which I was taught to do at school also I find there are road sighs that tell me all I need to know including speed limit signs Keep you eyes on the road don’t rely on your out of date satnav

Forestier says:
4 April 2018

I see the Luddites are still around.

Try negotiating a city you do not know, say Barcelona.

Try doing it in rush hour.

Let me know how you get on.

Steve says:
27 June 2017

Have a new Honda with maps a bit out of date. Costs quite a bit to update the maps on this side of the Atlantic. Across the pond, it’s free as far as I can tell. Rip-off Europe/Britain, or is it just that competitive over there or are people more likely to use the courts to force the issue? Perhaps we just roll over too easily.

Peter says:
1 December 2017

I bought a new BMW X1 in June 2017. I thought a “premium” car such as this would come with up to date GPS maps but I was wrong. A major bypass that had opened 6 months earlier was not on it, and I have to drive across “fields” every time I go on to the motorway. Although the car comes with updated maps free of charge for 3 years (albeit by a tortuous download and USB stick transfer taking about 2 hours each time) the BMW maps, 12 months after the road opened, are still out of date. Their website proudly says how important up to date information is to their customers and that their maps are constantly updated – but this is patently not the case. I made a complaint to BMW customer services, thinking they might want to know about this and do something, but got a dismissive and uninterested response. They said their maps were provided by a third party and not under their control. Not what they imply on their website!
My £70 garmin previously bought from Aldi had the new road shown on it as soon as it was opened. Aldi 1, BMW 0.


Current Garmin sat-navs offer free map upgrades. I don’t know about sat-navs built into new cars but I know owners of older cars who have avoided paying for expensive updates of built-in sat-navs.

6 December 2017

Purchased new Peurgot 308 from Stoneacre. Built in sat-nav out of date. After three month argument in respect to approx. £350 cost of update, proceeded to claim via Small Claims Court, sat-nav was not fit for purpose when purchased and was in breech of the requirements of the 1982 Sale of Goods & Services Act. This could also be valid claim on a second hand car if it could be established that the salesperson had claimed that sat-nav was up to date. Section 13 of Act applies. Claim with damages was upheld and sat-nave was updated.