Archive for the 'Auto' Category

Europe Gets Toyota Yaris SR with Dockable GPS

Feb 21, 2008 in Auto, GPS, Technology

Jonathon Ramsey:

The Euro-spec Toyota Yaris is a well-equipped little car. But things like the nine airbags, chrome exhaust finisher, and remote central double locking are merely gravy for the real show on this new SR model: a fully-integrated portable TomTom navigation system that doubles as a touchscreen interface for the car stereo.

Neat idea. I’ve been torn between whether I prefer an integrated GPS system or a more portable option. The integrated options tend to be better… um… integrated (duh!) with the operations of the car, primarily in the form of offering a single decent-sized screen for things like maps, audio system interface, and video playback.

On the flip side, the portable, after-market systems offer… um… portability (again, duh!). Like Ramsey, I don’t know if there’s much demand for taking your GPS with you to have walking-around directions, though I will cop to having checked Google Maps from street corners. The portable units really shine if you travel. Renting a GPS unit seems to run about $10/day. If you buy a portable system and then take 2-3 trip week-long trips, you’ve recouped the cost of the GPS by not renting a system from Avis or Hertz.

Depending on the level of integration between the Toyota and TomTom, the Yaris SR could well be the best of both worlds — a GPS system that augments the other systems in the car but which can also be tossed in a bag and help you find your way around unfamiliar locals when traveling for business or pleasure. If this partnership proves successful, I hope that other manufacturers will follow suit.