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Route simulation on GPS: Ask the Editors

In this Ask the Editors post, CNET answers a reader question about which GPS offers route simulators.

Q: 1. Is there any in-car GPS that allows me to review the route from start to finish without driving, once I input destination address in the device? If yes, which portable navigation device (PND) lets me review the route before actually driving? - Wize Chap via e-mail

A: Dear Wize Chap, turns out you have a lot of choices. Most in-car GPS offers route simulation or fly-over simulation (the name varies by manufacturer) that provides a running demo of your route from a bird's-eye view. It's useful in that it gives you an overall idea of what you'll be encountering along your drive before even hitting the road. That said, the tricky part can be finding the feature on the device, since it's often buried in the submenus and you may also need to turn the capability on in the settings menu.

On most systems, once you enter your start and end points, the PND will present you the map screen and start navigation. From there, you can typically find various review options, including a list of text-based turn-by-turn directions, whether you want to find an alternate route, add a waypoint, and so forth. It's usually in this submenu that you'll find the route simulation. I'm not sure what your budget is, Wize Chap, but if you're looking for high-end, the Garmin Nuvi 880 is a good choice, or the Magellan Maestro 3000 series or the TomTom One series for more low- to mid-range models.