Garmin brings lineup of SmartDrive portable GPS navigators to CES 2019

Still prefer a dedicated navigation device? Garmin continues to refine its line of automotive GPS with a trio of new Garmin Drive models at CES 2019.

Antuan Goodwin Reviews Editor / Cars
Antuan Goodwin gained his automotive knowledge the old fashioned way, by turning wrenches in a driveway and picking up speeding tickets. From drivetrain tech and electrification to car audio installs and cabin tech, if it's on wheels, Antuan is knowledgeable.
Expertise Reviewing cars and car technology since 2008 focusing on electrification, driver assistance and infotainment Credentials
  • North American Car, Truck and SUV of the Year (NACTOY) Awards Juror
Antuan Goodwin
2 min read

Garmin has just unveiled a trio of new Garmin Drive standalone GPS navigators for automotive at CES 2019. Meet the Garmin Drive 52, SmartDrive 55 and SmartDrive 65.

You're probably surprised that Garmin still makes portable navigation devices (or PNDs). More and more drivers rely on the powerful and flexible phone in their pocket for navigating modern roads. However, the PND is still a capable and preferable option for for professional drivers, roadtrippers and motorist explore outside of strong LTE coverage. And Garmin is one of most well-known and best established players in the PND game.

The new Garmin DriveSmart 55 and 65 devices feature, respectively, 5.5-inch and 6.95-inch edge-to-edge displays. Powered by Garmin's solid mapping and navigation software with 3D building and terrain data, they also feature a simplified interface that should make them easier to use than the previous generation Garmin Drive devices.


These new 2019 models also feature onboard databases of notable sites from the History media brand, a US National Parks directory, and TripAdvisor traveler ratings, which should come in handy on road trips or when exploring on vacation. The Garmin Real Directions feature uses natural and recognizable landmarks, buildings and traffic lights when giving turn-by-turn directions to make navigating around town and in unfamiliar areas easier.

The DriveSmart 55 and 65 feature Garmin Traffic information that's pulled over the air via a receiver cable with an integrated antenna without the need for a smartphone. However, these DriveSmart units can be connected to the Garmin Drive smartphone app via Bluetooth to also receive certain phone notifications and get even better traffic and even parking data. Meanwhile, a built-in Wi-Fi connection allows the SmartDrive units to automatically get simple map and software updates without having to first connect to a computer.

The 2019 Garmin lineup will also include the 5.0-inch Garmin Drive 52, which lacks the edge-to-edge screen design and the Garmin Drive app integration. The 52 will be available in two configurations: One with traffic info and one without. 

Expect the Garmin Drive 52, DriveSmart 55 and DriveSmart 65 to hit retailers this month with suggested retail prices ranging from $150 to $270.

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