Garmin Drive satnav range UK launch

Garmin DriveAssist Lane DepartureGarmin threw a launch presentation of their new Drive range of portable navigation devices (PNDs) which have been specifically designed to help increase driver situational awareness.

The Garmin Drive UK launch saw presentations from Dawn Ramsey, Garmin’s UK General Manager, and Perry McCarthy, better known as Top Gear’s original Stig.

The main focus of the event was increasing your safety when you are travelling by car, something that McCarthy was particularly, and rightly so, vociferous about.

Garmin was showing off their next evolution of PNDs that are intuitively named: Garmin Drive, Garmin DriveSmart, Garmin DriveAssist and the fashionably clothed Garmin DriveLuxe.

The entire Garmin Drive lineup boasts a number of driver alerts to encourage safer driving and situational awareness. This includes warnings for upcoming sharp curves, railroad or animal crossings, alerts for users driving the wrong-way on a one-way street and more. Drivers also receive red light and speed camera1 alerts as well as vital timesaving traffic information with fast-approaching traffic jam notifications. For longer routes, a fatigue warning alert suggests potential break times and available rest areas or places to stop.

In addition to the new driver awareness features, Garmin Drive includes preloaded data from Foursquare POIs (Points of Interest), adding millions of popular stores, restaurants and more. All models offer lifetime maps and traffic updates.
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Other features designed to simplify navigation include Garmin Real Directions, which guides drivers using recognisable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights; and Easy Route Shaping that lets drivers modify a route to include preferred cities or roads by touching the navigation screen.

The Garmin DriveSmart boasts all of the features from Garmin Drive and adds customisable smart notifications that allow drivers to display calls, text messages and app notifications on the navigation screen. Voice-activated navigation and Bluetooth wireless technology for hands-free calling allows drivers to keep both hands safely on the wheel.

Garmin DriveSmart can also access Live Traffic information through the Smartphone Link app or out of the box through Digital Traffic solutions, the fastest traffic avoidance solution offered by Garmin. This feature is able to alert you to any changes to the traffic ahead with updates as often as every 60 seconds.

Garmin DriveAssistGarmin DriveAssist builds on the Garmin DriveSmart and includes a built-in dash cam to serve as an eyewitness. The device continually records and automatically saves video footage on impact with the included microSD card.

The integrated camera brings in more advanced driver awareness alerts, such as the Forward Collision and Lane Departure Warnings.

Additionally, Garmin DriveAssist integrates the new “Go” Alert, a camera-assisted feature that notifies distracted drivers when traffic ahead of their vehicle begins to move. As drivers approach select destinations, Garmin Real Vision unveils a camera view on the screen of the device and an arrow points out the specific destination. Handy for when door numbering is none existent or if all the frontages look the same, like in large business complexes.

The stylish Garmin DriveLuxe is an impressive premium navigator housed in a beautiful forged metal design. Powered with a sleek magnetic mount, the Garmin DriveLuxe delivers innovative navigation features and adds HD Digital traffic – the fastest traffic avoidance solution offered by Garmin, with updates as often as every 30 seconds.

The most exciting development of the new Garmin Drive line is that driver awareness features typically seen in luxury vehicles are now accessible as an aftermarket solution for all drivers,”

said Kirsty Quartley, Garmin UK PND Product Manager.

There are many distractions that drivers encounter while running errands, driving to work or taking road trips. These new driver alerts can remove some of these burdens and help drivers stay aware on the road.”

The Stig – Perry McCarthy

Perry McCarthy, a very humorous and approachable chap, gave an extremely captivating and passionate presentation regarding road safety.

Perry McCarthyAs well as explaining why Garmin is the only brand he has ever felt so strongly about that he’d endorse it, he took questions from the various members of the press and industry.

Naturally the subject of Top Gear, especially Clarkson, Le Blanc and Evans, cropped up and Perry appeared to be very honest and measured in his responses. Apparently, as a driver Clarkson makes a great journalist.

McCarthy sees the Amazon deal with Clarkson, Hammond and May, and the new Top Gear team as a win-win for all involved. The trio are now known world-wide and, as Amazon is a subscription service, will see plenty of people willing to keep their regular connection with them. The new look Top Gear has had a rough ride in the press thus far but, as the programme has proven to be popular ever since its inception back in 1977, there is no reason why this latest version should flop.

Garmin Drive additions

All Garmin Drive devices can be paired with the Garmin BC 30 Wireless Backup Camera (sold separately) to easily see behind a vehicle when moving in reverse. Garmin Drive devices may also be paired with the new Garmin babyCam in-vehicle video monitor to view backseat passengers on the navigation screen.

Garmin Drive price and availability

The Garmin Drive range is available now in the UK and Ireland and RRPs are £99.99 – £299.99.

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Check out the range in this Garmin DRIVE Comparison Chart 2016