In-Dash Car Navigation
If you're considering buying a new car, you may have the option of specifying a factory installed, "in-dash" navigation system. Those big screens are attractive, but they're expensive and they don't age well.
Many navigation systems are sold only as part of an option package that may cost between $2000 and $5000. Also, in many systems, all of the maps and points of interest reside on a DVD; upgrading the data typically costs more than buying a good dedicated GPS device would.
GPS technology is advancing so fast that, in four years, today's state-of-the-art navigation system will likely be a dinosaur at trade-in time.
Still, in-dash units have several advantages, including larger screen size, superior reliability, and more-secure installation in your car. They offer tight integration with an in-car Bluetooth speakerphone, storage capacity for your music, and voice-recognition controls. They may also tie in to the car's speed and direction sensors, ensuring that you'll retain basic navigation functions even if you lose your satellite connection.
Another option is to buy an aftermarket in-dash system, though such systems usually require professional installation.