These days, you don't have to buy a high-end luxury car to get a navigation system. While it's true that most upscale vehicles include the useful feature as standard equipment, there are many inexpensive navigation systems available in reasonably priced cars. We've rounded up several of our favorite affordable vehicles that still offer navigation for drivers who enjoy the safety--and convenience--of in-car navigation technology.
The compact Chevrolet Cruze boasts available navigation as a $995 stand-alone option on the efficiency-minded Eco model and the upscale 2LT and LTZ trim levels. While the price of entry for those variants is a slightly high $21,480 for a 2LT or $20,120 for an Eco, both models come equipped with near-luxury levels of standard equipment. In the case of the 2LT, that means leather upholstery, heated front seats, 17-inch wheels and anti-lock brakes, while the Eco trades some of those luxury goods for aerodynamic body cladding that allows it to return 42 mpg in highway driving. Regardless of which trim level buyers choose, we think they'll be happy with the well-appointed interior of their Cruze--and it helps that the available navigation system is a breeze to use.
Although the Fiesta's turn-by-turn voice navigation system differs from the on-screen navigation module in many rivals, the sedan still offers drivers the comfort, convenience and safety of such a system. Best of all, Ford's SYNC system--which includes the navigation aids--comes as standard equipment on the mid-range Fiesta SEL, which is available at a starting price of around $17,395 including shipping. Drivers who take advantage of the subcompact's attractive pricing and high-tech setup will also get a long list of other equipment like 16-in alloy wheels, Bluetooth, heater mirrors, cruise control, steering wheel audio controls and in-car voice recognition.
Although Honda's subcompact Fit hatchback might look like a small city car, the 5-door actually boasts a long list of equipment in its upscale Sport trim level. In addition to standard 16-in alloy wheels, fog lights and a leather-wrapped steering wheel, Sport models equipped with a navigation system also include an automatic transmission, Bluetooth, steering wheel audio controls, and voice recognition for the navigation system. While that might seem like a lot of luxury goodies, a Fit equipped with such features is available for just $20,480 including destination--an attractive price made even more reasonable by fuel economy figures of around 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
We like Hyundai's compact Elantra sedan for its standout styling, attractive pricing and fuel economy that can reach 40 mph on the highway. But we also appreciate its generous standard equipment levels and wide range of available options--a list that includes a navigation system within the sedan's $2,100 Premium Package 5. And while that package is only available on the upscale Elantra Limited, even that model starts at a reasonable $21,000 including destination, meaning drivers interested in an Elantra equipped like a luxury car can drive away from a dealership for less than $25,000.
Nissan's least-expensive vehicle offers navigation for just $1,470 extra in a package that includes several other luxurious features. According to the automaker, the recently redesigned Versa sedan's navigation package adds just $700 to its bottom line and includes satellite radio with a USB port for music. But navigation also requires the Versa's $770 Special Edition package, which features Bluetooth, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy wheels. Both packages are good choices for drivers who want luxury and efficiency, as the Versa returns up to 34 mpg on the highway. It also starts at an affordable $16,650, meaning the sedan can be equipped with navigation for just over $18,000.
The smart fortwo might be the quintessential car for zipping around town, but that doesn't mean its drivers don't get lost. While drivers might have to compromise on their passenger volume or cargo capacity when they get a smart, they don't need to compromise on navigation technology, as the 2-seater offers a navigation system for $1,290 on its upscale Passion model. That makes the smart one of the least expensive cars to offer the feature since its base price is just $15,440 including destination. But the affordable smart also includes several other desirable luxury goods, as the city car's Passion trim level also offers automatic climate control, an iPod connection, a USB port for music and alloy wheels.
While many buyers assume the Corolla is designed to provide relatively basic, reliable transportation, several options let drivers personalize the compact sedan to their liking. One of those features is a navigation system, which is available as a stand-alone option for just $1,170--a good deal considering it also includes HD radio and Toyota's Entune infotainment system. Best of all, drivers don't have to spring for the top-of-the-line Corolla model to get navigation, since the feature is available on even the mid-level Corolla LE, which starts below $19,000 with destination. Of course, the Corolla also offers several other enticing selling points including fuel economy of more than 30 mpg in combined city and highway driving.
What it means to you: Many of our favorite affordable cars offer inexpensive navigation systems for drivers who enjoy in-car navigation technology.