Cost of updating sat nav maps

Tom Tom’s cheapest new sat nav is around £100 with UK and Ireland mapping, or £120 with European mapping.Its premium model costs around £270, but it comes with Tom Tom’s Live Services, such as traffic and speed camera warnings.What’s more, the newer your map is when you join the less it will cost you. You can relax in the knowledge that your device will always give you the quickest, most accurate route possible.

Of course, not everyone updates their maps – indeed, you may find you can get yourself from A to B without a regular update.And while some sat navs include a feature to share and download map corrections, it’s only useful if you know about and use it regularly. So, if you drive a lot, it’s a good idea to check your route before you go – but should you really have to when you’ve bought into the convenience of a sat nav? Or should manufacturers stop charging (or at least make them more affordable)?And that’s just the maps – you’ll have to pay £47.50 if you want to add a year’s subscription to its Live Services.Is it worth paying 75% of the price you paid for a cheap model to update the maps?And though many of us consider our gadgets an investment, many of us replace our sat navs every couple of years and often it’s just because we want the latest maps (and features).

My colleague Rob Hull has talked about the expense of updates to sat navs built into cars before, but should standalone sat navs be regarded as a short-term investment only?

Should we really accept that they have a limited life span?

I ask because a map update can cost anything from around 25% to a whopping 75% of the price you pay for the sat nav itself.

Volvo offers two years of updates for free, but then charges owners a huge £230 in the third year, while the minimum price for an update in an Audi is £185.

Sat navs and GPS devices are only as good as the map update you have loaded. Garmin update their City Navigator series (road maps) several times each year.

If you were willing to pay £25 more you could get a new model including the latest maps, features and a new warranty!