Finding an SUV with GPS Capabilities

Welcome to the future! No, we don’t have flying cars or even ones that drive themselves. but we do have SUVs with GPS (Global Positioning Systems) available to us. GPS is the handy electronic device that allows you to get perfect directions with just the touch of of a few buttons.

But just how does GPS work? Well in total there are about 20 GPS related satellites Orbiting the Earth, each one is equipped with an atomic clock. These satellites communicate with various global positioning sensors located here on Earth.

The GPS unit in your vehicle gathers information from three of these satellites at all times. The GPS unit then takes the information provided by all of these sources and translates it into your current position.

Combine this technology with software, animation, and an LCD screen and you get GPS; the familiar voice that comes from our dashboard telling us when to turn and about what time we will arrive at our destination.

A few years ago GPS was very expensive. As GPS became more common place, prices began to become reasonable for the average consumer. And as a result we have two basic types of GPS units. The type that comes with your vehicle already installed from the factory, Or the portable aftermarket unit that can be plugged into any vehicle.

The pre-installed kind is usually found in more expensive upper class luxury cars and SUV’s. and usually has additional features built in to the same LCD screen unit. Some of these features include climate controls, CD and DVD players, MP3 plug-in, Video card slots and the list continues to grow as newer models are introduced.

To compete with this several makes of aftermarket units such as Garmin, Tom Tom, Magellan, and Navigon have begun to add a plethora of additional features as well. Many include live traffic updates, WI-FI Internet browsers, video card slots, voice recognition, as well as built in FM transmitters so you can hear your driving directions through your car’s stereo.

Garmin has recently added the ability to take the auto GPS out of your car and use it to navigate by foot, a handy feature allowing one to find their way back to their parked car when navigating unfamiliar city streets. Like the their factory installed counter parts aftermarket units continue to get enhanced features every year as new models are introduced.

As consumers, many of us have become accustomed to having GPS available. It has virtually made paper maps and hand written directions a forgotten memory of yester-year.

Auto manufacturers have realized the high demand for GPS and have begun making GPS more readily available in more standard models rather than just Luxury and high priced vehicles.

For example, Suzuki has been offering factory installed navigation as a standard feature in 2009 in the Suzuki SX4 Sport and SX4 Crossover hatchback models.

Many people feel that there are a lot of pros and cons when looking for the right GPS system. Factory units have some restrictions such as you can’t use the touch screen menus when you’re in motion; your vehicle must be at a complete stop and in park.

You can’t use the factory installed unit in another vehicle, as it’s permanently attached. You can’t upgrade a factory unit. You have it for the life of you’re vehicle. You can’t take it with you when you get out of your vehicle to navigate around.

Aftermarket GPS on the other hand is portable, you can use it in all of your vehicles and even a friends car. You or a passenger can operate the GPS menus while on the move. You can upgrade maps and features using a home pc. Cons include that it takes up space on your windshield and in your line of site. It also requires plugging a power cord into an accessory port.

When purchasing an SUV GPS navigation system, look for ease of use, voice prompts, ability to update maps , and a clear screen. A touch screen can be handy if you have to use the unit while driving.

Some portable GPS units such as the Garmin Nuvi 855, now offer travel orientated features such as, music and MP3 players, language prompts in multiple languages, traffic updates, and more. If you don’t need all the extra features, many lower priced name brand and generic models are available at a variety stores.

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