In a recent J.D. Power and Associates survey, users ranked the navigation system in the as the most satisfactory. Coming in at a very close second was the system in the , then a little further down, in third, was the . We are not terribly surprised at these rankings, as we've been very impressed with these navigation systems in the past. However, the landscape will change dramatically in 2008, as we've seen more and more hard drive-based systems released, which access data faster than on DVD-based systems. Another feature we expect to see more prevalent is live traffic reporting, which is only available on a few car models today. The lowest ranked car for navigation satisfaction was the BMW X3. In fact, no BMW model ranked above the industry average, which could be due to frustrations over iDrive. But, having seen the new navigation system in the 2008 BMW 535i, we expect BMW's star will rise.
Being a user survey, some of the data seems more about the cars' owners than the actual navigation systems. For example, thesedan's navigation ranked substantially lower than the Infiniti G35's, although both come from the same supplier. Likewise, the system ranks well above the industry average, while the is substantially below, yet we've tested both and they are practically identical.