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Brand new car, but an out of date sat-nav?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they would have to pay for any and all updates on their new car, even though it had been sent out of the factory with out-of-date maps – at a cost of £69, the same price as one of our Best Buy sat nav models.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

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!

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

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.

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.

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.

£285 for a sat nav update on an A3, surely its not a consumable part and therefore should be possible to update under warranty?

Personally I feel it’s anti competitive that only Audi can update it, I spoke to an independent and they don’t have access… got to be breaking the law somewhere?!?!?

I had wrongly assumed that now that standalone sat navs with free updates are available from about £100 the manufacturers’ dealerships would have quietly ended their charges or included this in servicing, but obviously not.

Do you buy a car because of a built in satnav ? A built in satnav would be the last thing on my list when buying a new car there are more important more useful things to consider first Did you know heaters were once an optional extra ?

My first car had no heater. And we had to take the satnav on our recent Toyota acquisition, as it came as standard with the model we wanted. But I agree with you.

I excluded models with built-in sat navs when choosing my present car, knowing the cost and that updating could be expensive. That was a few years ago.

It can’t have been much fun not having a heater in a car. My father paid extra for an optional ‘fresh air’ heater in the 1950s. The standard heater recirculated the air in the car. 🙁

I recall that with four people in overcoats in a small saloon car there was no need for a heater and we always seemed to have the front & rear ‘quarter lights’ [remember them?] open for ventilation. Air conditioning has progressed since then but it all adds to fuel consumption. Do electric cars struggle with AirCon? – It must reduce their range.

It does, but also on petrol cars…

I appreciate that, Ian, but running low on petrol is easier and quicker to cope with than running out of electricity. We can carry a can of petrol for an emergency top up but need to find a charging station for an electric vehicle [or at least a friendly socket] and then wait for the juice to load. Given that electric traction is really only good for journeys of around a couple of hours each way there is no need for air conditioning; in fact I question its worth in any vehicle in this country.

I think the situation with regard to quick charging is changing almost every day, John; there’s long been a push to install more charging points, and the new Leaf – which has an excellent range – recharges to 80% in 20 minutes, apparently, and that will improve over time, I suspect.

We possibly don’t need air con, although we’re fairly profligate with our A/C -particularly in winter, when snow and ice combine to cause windscreen misting, which a quick dash of air con always seems to mitigate.

I also wonder if range anxiety becomes an issue whether the petrol can will simply be replaced by a battery pack?

Yes, I am impressed by the new Nissan Leaf.

Charging points are gradually increasing in number but are still not available in every filling station because of a lack of space – I have noticed that sometimes they are all [both] engaged so waiting time has to be added to charge duration.

As battery packs become more efficient the cost of dragging them around becomes less critical – unlike with petrol consumption the weight doesn’t diminish with distance.

I reckon the best compromise currently (no pun) is to have a battery pack with a range adequate for local journeys and an engine to provide for longer journeys, or when the battery pack runs out.

To my mind this is about emissions not economy. Electric vehicle “cost” economy is grossly distorted by the mere 5% vat paid on electricity, whereas we pay nearly 58p duty plus vat at 20% on a litre of fuel.

Make hay while the sun shines because the treasury will want the loss in tax take on fossil fuels replaced as electric vehicles grow in numbers.

Exactly. We’ve had hybrids for as long as they’ve been made, but we now feel it’s time to switch to electric only, Currently no road tax on them, but in time…

Maybe we need a new Convo on electric vehicles. There are plenty of issues to discuss.

Meanwhile back on sat navs, which vehicle manufacturers provide free updates?

How long does it take to charge ? What do you do when waiting ? go and spend money somewhere ? Electric might be o k for shortish journeys but how long to travel a long way including the time waiting until it charges if you go visiting friends a distance away will they let you have some of their electricity to recharge with so that will manage to get home again

You could carry a portable generator in the boot,
Or one of these?

When a person peddles, the wheel on the bicycle will drive a flywheel, which turns a generator.

This will charge a battery, providing enough electricity for 24 hours after just an hour of peddling.

The mechanism is made with regular bike parts, so it can easily be fixed.

With no connection to ‘the grid,’ this bike can provide electricity anywhere, as long there’s someone there to peddle it.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-3462885/The-electricity-generator-pedal-Free-Electric-bike-create-24-hours-electricity-just-hour-exercise.html#ixzz56jehW5Cb
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I think The Mail is confused about the terminology of selling something and work.

It might produce enough electricity to power a sat nav. How about we go off-topic and discuss sat navs?

Electric bikes ……. never covered by Which? but much covered by consumer bodies in the EU. Sold by the tens of thousands in the UK [ bicycles sell by the million in the UK every year]. Nipping down to the shop may be easier with no parking concerns.

Folk I’ve met in the Netherlands at various laboratories and universities tended to say that they owned cars for the few journeys that they could not do by bicycle or by public transport.

In contrast many UK folk seem to be too snobbish to use public transport and also seem to have either lost the use of their legs or are too lazy to cycle. Hence, if they can,they go everywhere by car or taxi.

I support having bus lanes because this gives priority to those who choose a less environmentally damaging form of transport. I can see no reason why taxis should be allowed to use bus lanes. Maybe the annual Which? car guide could cover all forms of transport.

Thinking of our subject. I wonder if sat navs are available for bicycles.

You can fit a portable sat nav on a bike, although I guess most people would use an app on their phone.

Another way of looking at bus lanes is that reserving a substantial part of the road for occasional buses significantly increases congestion – and therefore pollution – for many many more vehicles on the remaining strip of road. However, I agree that taxis should not be allowed to use them.

Many of our local buses are a few years old and I would not regard them as environmentally friendly, and certainly not off-peak when they carry very few passengers. The average age of UK buses is nearly 8 years so I doubt they are up-to-date on emissions.


We were early funders of this handlebar GPS. Linked to the smart phone in your pocket it provides a simple arrow to your next turn so that you can remain undistracted when roads and traffic require awareness.

Interesting. “With ultra low power componentry and optimised for efficiency, Beeline lasts for 4 weeks of daily usage or months on standby.” It’s a pity that standalone car sat navs don’t usually run for more than two or three hours on battery power. The secret must be the componentry, whatever that might be.

Malcolm – In this area, bus lanes are open to all vehicles most of the time, which does help. I presume that buses used in built-up areas are good candidates for all-electric operation, accepting that they may be out of service a couple of times a day for charging.

Just bought a new Ford Galaxy and it is missing new roads built in the last 1 or 2 years and the traffic information is next to useless, I cannot see how to update it so use Waze or Google maps which seems much better.

Out-of-date sat navs with new cars should be forbidden. And up-dated by the franchise before being passed to the new owner.

I think my sat nav was updated when I bought my used Volvo from a Volvo dealer but a few years down the line when they had a “special £85 sat nav update offer” I made inquiries and, of course, my car was not eligible. When told it would cost £200+ I declined!
Shame really since the sat nav has an otherwise nice “pop-up-toaster” screen in the middle of the dashboard and even has a TV-style remote control as well.

I bought a brand new Vauxhall last year at £20,000 and had a few basic issue that they didn’t really resolve. In addition the Sat Nav was substantially out of date but when I complained to the “Infotainment team” I got a stock answer that the car was manufactured 6 months before I purchased it and that the maps are quality tested for approx 6 months. As I’d had other issues I asked for the map update free of charge but they declined. I’m not that disappointed as it is the same amateur service I have received all the way through, shame really as I like the car.

In May this year ( I bought a brand new all singing all dancing top of the range Vivaro crew cab with built in sat nav…although obstensibly for my business the vehicle is also for personal use. I sit now in Croatia… having had to use maps on my iPhone to guide us here when the sat nav maps stopped at the Italian border. Seriously they just stopped- a green screen as we entered Slovenia. This was a van allegedly built to order, Croatia and Slovenia have been a part of Europe for years, Jesus, even the tweak in the road layout near to where I live which was completed 3 years ago + isn’t on my new inbuilt sat nav. What a crock of …

This comment was removed at the request of the user

Nigel W says:
12 October 2018

Just purchased a Ford Galaxy Titanium X 18 months old, on driving home from the dealer found my self driving across fields on dual carriage ways and approaching roundabouts that Ford apparently don’t know exist.
When I got home I immediately updated Fords Sync 3 system to the latest version and expected the maps to update as well.
Guess what, I already have Fords latest map update EU4 15, the 15 designation denoting the year 2015
3 years out of date!!
According to Ford there isn’t even an update that you can purchase never mind down load for free.
Then again, what more would you expect from a ‘small independent’ car manufacturer: come on Ford get your act together!
Mean while sticking the trusty old TomTom back in the wind screen ( looks great on a vehicle with an RRP of £38K) WELL DONE FORD.

I have just bought a new Hyundai Ioniq Premium SE with Sat Nav and although I am assured it is the current version I know for a fact that it is at least 18 months out of date. So that makes a mockery of the claims by Hyundai

theres always one

Stephen says:
18 February 2019

I recently paid £268 to upgrade the incredibly expensive built in Sat Nav maps on my Nov 2013 Audi A5 to 2018/2019 version. I was then shocked to discover that the A43 Corby bypass opened in May 2014 just four months after I originally bought my car was not included. I was even more shocked to discover that this is included in partner’s Jan 2017 Audi Q2 and her friends 2018 Audi Q3 maps. Did I get anything for my £268 I wonder.

Martyn Harwood says:
9 May 2019

Same problem with a new VW Polo, Sat Nav supplied with an old version. Waited 5 mths for new car to be made. Car delivered 4 weeks ago and Sat Nav out of date. Passed to parts at Dealer who said latest version was V10, car supplied with V9, they wanted £90 to supply the latest version. Before selling the VW do a PDI, this should be checked and automatically updated. Taking up with Sales Manager.

Interested that in 2016, Nuke above says his came with 3 year updates.

Derek says:
11 May 2019

Can’t you just use your smartphone?