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Brand new car, but an out of date sat-nav?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they would have to pay for any and all updates on their new car, even though it had been sent out of the factory with out-of-date maps – at a cost of £69, the same price as one of our Best Buy sat nav models.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

Roy C says:
9 June 2019

I have been driving a range rover for 18 months and its impossible to update the map system
The system is far from user friendly and touch screen is pretty useless once it has just a few finger marks on it
Obviously the driver cannot update / change anything whilst driving and if a passenger tries, any slight nudge of the menu buttons and it means starting all over again. Traffic info is no use unless you can interrogate it on screen and that isn’t possible whilst driving
Finally, if traffic news comes on from the radio it places a big black box across the nav screen just telling you its traffic news and blanking out the map ?
The whole system is far behind previous German sat nav systems and I suspect one day, the authorities will wake up and ban touch screens in moving vehicles.

Stephen Clarke says:
17 July 2019

Still happening just bought a 2018 Jeep Cherokee so not a cheap car and map database is Q2 2015, most up to date maps available from Jeep Q4 2015. As same unit still being used expect those buying a new one will have 4 year old maps, which in my mine are dangerous to use as so many inaccuracies.