(Contributing Editor: Tomasz Paluch)
Nothing says "You've Made it" in automotive in-cabin technology speak than built-in native GPS-based Navigation.
Just ask Lexus which brought Americans the first in-cabin navigation set-up in their 1997 SC400 grand touring coupe.
To be sure in-cabin navigation hardware and software have evolved from their CD map origins. But that evolution has been outpaced by GPS navigation in wireless data "smart phone" devices. Think Google Maps and Apple iOS Maps.
A 2016 J.D. Power survey found more than 60% of car owners whose vehicles are equipped with native navigation systems prefer their GPS telematics enabled wireless smart phones when arriving at a destination really matters. From personal experience, "Drive...He Said" is also guilty on that count.
As an olive branch to drivers several carmakers have adopted "powered by wireless handset" Android Auto and Apple Car Play telematics & overlays.
However, Toyota and a few carmakers, are bent on denying Google and Apple, precious user telematics technology and data revenue.
Fast forward to 2017. Drive...He Said was recently driving a 2017 Lexus RC 350 luxury coupe, spiritual descendant of that SC400. (Complete 2016 Lexus RC 350 F-Sport review & gallery link HERE)
Alas it was devoid of the $1470 optional (but typically specified) native Enform Navigation suite. Instead, this $48,000 2017 Lexus RC 350 luxury sporty 2+2 was equipped with the base Display Audio setup.
Depress the dial at the Connected Navigation function. The user is prompted to install to their wireless paired bluetooth communication device, an application called Scout GPS Link by Telenav, a pioneer in wireless device GPS technology. BTW the application is available from both Google PlayStore and Apple I Tunes App Store.
On the initial installation, the Display Audio screen prompts an update to its installation of Scout GPS. Select the Update Now option.
The Pros with Scout GPS Link:
- Free native infotainment screen navigation with audible turn-by-turn commands
- Bluetooth rather than hard wire tethered
- Doesn't require exiting smart phone OS overlay to operate other infotainment functions
The OKs of Scout GPS Link:
- Auto-zooming map
- Turn-by-turn audible directions
- Intuitive application menus
- Sharp color graphics
- Stores favorite & recent destinations
The Cons of Scout GPS Link:
- Lacks voice command operation
- Lagging turn-by-turn audible directions
- Sometimes wiggy display cursor responsiveness
- Map not displayed in Lexus Enform-style split home screen
- Does not accept upload of Google or Apple Maps stored destinations
- App update required 2 frustrating install + uninstall + re-install attempts
BOTTOM LINE: A smart-phone powered navigation app in need of improved display cursor responsiveness & voice command operation to be a road warrior's worthy alternative to the optional $1470 built-in Enform Navigation suite.
FOR MORE IN DEPTH CAR REVIEWS, INDUSTRY NEWS AND ROAD TRIPS VISIT OUR NEW SISTER SITE, ROADBLAZING.COM
Type your email address in the box and click the "create subscription" button. My list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.