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Navman wants to be your mate

The system in the Lexus we were piloting could find the street we wanted, but tried to take us into a road that was barred. And kept ignoring the public street that would have given us access, as we kept circling past it in growing amusement. To be fair, the Audi satnavs also have a problem with that part of the world.

And the one in the BMW X5 that Navman sent us out in contradicted their gadget on several occasions.

The Navman itself didn’t have any trouble with the difficult location. But that’s not the big news about the new range. Nor, for that matter, are the tap/slide wide screens and the other lollies they’re trumpeting.

The real attraction of the new MY range in our opinion is the more accurate speed limit information. Where other previous systems have offered an average for stretches of road – fairly useless for sections where speed limits see-saw wildly – the top two models of the five in the Navman MY series give accurate alerts whenever you enter a different speed zone.

Navman spokesman Marcus Fry says these can be updated on an annual basis, and they hope to do it even more often.

And across the range you also have alerts for revenue cameras, accident black spots, rail crossings and school zones.

Unfortunately the school zone alerts run all the time, not just in school hours – which means you still have to take your eyes off the road to check.

But for those more concerned with bells and whistles, the range has plenty to amuse and inform – with the aim of turning the gadget into a shotgun-riding ‘mate’, according to Navman marketing director Wendy Hammond.

“People really should feel like they have a reliable and knowledgeable ‘mate’ in the car who knows the area – a resource from which they can get good directions; find a sportsground; Google a restaurant; keep an eye out on speed and safety cameras; alert about traffic incidents ahead, and even take overseas with them to have the maps and guides they need on holiday,” she says.

These matey features include extended lane guidance and 3D junction views, the ability to search for local information on TrueLocal and Google, Lonely Planet and Wcities travel guides, intuitive ‘Smart Find’ destination input that uses a keyword search, and traffic information that includes weather updates.

There’s also a function that advises the most fuel-efficient route, plus a mileage expense and digital logbook.

Not all those features are standard. And – like everything else with buttons these days – you can get an inbuilt music and video player. But only in the top-line model.

Prices start at $299 for the MY30 and add another $100 to each model as you move through the MY50T and MY55T to the MY500XT.