Opt for Nav package or use stand alone?

Southpaw

Member
I initially thought I wanted the Nav package in my CX-9 purchase but my wife asked me if its really necessary. She said do you think of it as a toy or something you'll use? I answered her...well, both. So my question is, $2500 is a lot to shell out for the package and I know it comes with the rear camera which is nice. But will a Tom Tom or something similar give me the same results for much less $$$$$? What does everyone think?
 

Lexx

Member
:
2007 Mazda CX-9 AWD GT, 2010 Mazda3 Sport, 2005 BMW M3
Southpaw said:
I initially thought I wanted the Nav package in my CX-9 purchase but my wife asked me if its really necessary. She said do you think of it as a toy or something you'll use? I answered her...well, both. So my question is, $2500 is a lot to shell out for the package and I know it comes with the rear camera which is nice. But will a Tom Tom or something similar give me the same results for much less $$$$$? What does everyone think?

I just picked up the CX-9 with a nav package today and have used the nav a few times today. I also have a Garmin Nuvi 660 that I've used on travels and have a permanent powered cradle for it mounted in my wife's car (Mazda3 GT which in 2004 in Canada, didn't offer a nav). I've played with the CX-9 before deciding on the purchase and read somewhat negative reviews on Edmunds, so I wasn't expecting a great system. But while it's not absolutely great, after playing with it today, I actually think it's pretty good. The main missing feature is text-to-speech (which Nuvis 3xx and above have), but I haven't actually run into any built-in nav system that had that. Everything else is pretty good by comparison to the Nuvi.

Nuvi does have a few advantages. Text-to-speech, portability, traffic receiver if you live in the right place, SD card MP3 player ... but it is disadvantaged vs. a built-in system by not being built-in -- for effective use, requires a permanent wired in cradle which requires car modification of some form or another (trust me, I have EVERY mount available for the Nuvi, best setups require permanent wiring, etc.). By being portable, it also encourages car breakins and theft, which is a bigger deal than one even imagines (consider that your car probably has your garage door opener and your GPS has your home location ... get the idea: grab the GPS and the opener and voila, instant navigation AND access to your house). Also, some features on the CX-9 system are better than Nuvi (multiple intra-trip way points, keep out areas), but I've read that TomToms has those features covered.

I love the Nuvi, but I think in the CX-9, the built-in system wins on a balance of values. The lack of text-to-speech isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be and the CX-9 nav isn't anywhere as bad as I've read.

Oh, and the backup camera is quite good. I thought a lack of the backup ultrasonic sensors would be a major issue and was planning to purchase something aftermarket for the CX-9, but so far, the backup camera works well for the same purpose. Also, with the built-in nav system, you get your Bluetooth phone integrated with steering wheel controls, nav voice, and the sound system sound -- you won't get that nice integration with the Nuvi (but you will get Bluetooth with the Nuvi and it will silence it's own nav voice and it's own mp3 playback for phone calls, so perhaps this is a little moot).

Summary: Hard decision, but I am happy with my choice of the built-in system so far.

Cheers,
Lexx
 

Southpaw

Member
Lexx said:
I just picked up the CX-9 with a nav package today and have used the nav a few times today. I also have a Garmin Nuvi 660 that I've used on travels and have a permanent powered cradle for it mounted in my wife's car (Mazda3 GT which in 2004 in Canada, didn't offer a nav). I've played with the CX-9 before deciding on the purchase and read somewhat negative reviews on Edmunds, so I wasn't expecting a great system. But while it's not absolutely great, after playing with it today, I actually think it's pretty good. The main missing feature is text-to-speech (which Nuvis 3xx and above have), but I haven't actually run into any built-in nav system that had that. Everything else is pretty good by comparison to the Nuvi.

Nuvi does have a few advantages. Text-to-speech, portability, traffic receiver if you live in the right place, SD card MP3 player ... but it is disadvantaged vs. a built-in system by not being built-in -- for effective use, requires a permanent wired in cradle which requires car modification of some form or another (trust me, I have EVERY mount available for the Nuvi, best setups require permanent wiring, etc.). By being portable, it also encourages car breakins and theft, which is a bigger deal than one even imagines (consider that your car probably has your garage door opener and your GPS has your home location ... get the idea: grab the GPS and the opener and voila, instant navigation AND access to your house). Also, some features on the CX-9 system are better than Nuvi (multiple intra-trip way points, keep out areas), but I've read that TomToms has those features covered.

I love the Nuvi, but I think in the CX-9, the built-in system wins on a balance of values. The lack of text-to-speech isn't quite as bad as I thought it would be and the CX-9 nav isn't anywhere as bad as I've read.

Oh, and the backup camera is quite good. I thought a lack of the backup ultrasonic sensors would be a major issue and was planning to purchase something aftermarket for the CX-9, but so far, the backup camera works well for the same purpose. Also, with the built-in nav system, you get your Bluetooth phone integrated with steering wheel controls, nav voice, and the sound system sound -- you won't get that nice integration with the Nuvi (but you will get Bluetooth with the Nuvi and it will silence it's own nav voice and it's own mp3 playback for phone calls, so perhaps this is a little moot).

Summary: Hard decision, but I am happy with my choice of the built-in system so far.

Cheers,
Lexx


Thank you Lexx. I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed response. I've never owned a Nav system/GPS before. So for a "newbie" like me, do you think the CX-9 Nav package is user-friendly? Or would a Garmin be more my speed?
It's funny...I thought picking out the color would be the most difficult decision...had no idea it would come down to integrated nav package or not.
 

Lexx

Member
:
2007 Mazda CX-9 AWD GT, 2010 Mazda3 Sport, 2005 BMW M3
Southpaw said:
Thank you Lexx. I appreciate the thoughtful and detailed response. I've never owned a Nav system/GPS before. So for a "newbie" like me, do you think the CX-9 Nav package is user-friendly? Or would a Garmin be more my speed?
It's funny...I thought picking out the color would be the most difficult decision...had no idea it would come down to integrated nav package or not.

I am an engineer and, honestly, I like playing with gadgets. I find that I don't have any particular difficulty using anything, although some devices are certainly designed by someone without a single common sense cell in their body.

All GPS devices are quirky at this point in time. Between the CX-9 and the Nuvi series, I think the Nuvi is probably simpler to use, but not by a huge margin. This ease of use for me is offset by the difficulty of integrating a non-stock system into a car -- there is wiring and cradles, etc. If you succeed in mechanically and electrically integrating your unit into the car to your satisfaction, the Nuvi is great.

Note that before I made the decision to go with the built-in Nav, I considered what I could do in the future should I later be driven completely crazy by it. The CX-9 has a nice cavity in the front cup holder area that with minimal drilling should be easy to wire to the storage box power and audio input. The cover for the cupholders provides visual security from thieves. That's a great spot to consider for a Nuvi. True that it is a bit out of the way and requires one to look down to use, but with the Nuvi's text-to-speech, I find that I don't look at the nav during guidance all that much; I don't think that would be the case with a non-text-to-speech system, so that's a solid advantage in this case. Note also that I don't know of the top of my head if the non-nav CX-9 comes with that storage box audio input and power connections, but mine with the built-in nav definitely does.

Again, I made the decision to go with the built-in nav and I am still happy with that decision after 1 whole whopping day of use :). That biases me a bit towards making that same decision again.

For reference, it turns out that the CX-9 nav system is made by Denso and uses Navteq maps. I am going to slowly try to figure out how to hack it :).

Oh, and regarding colour, that was actually hard too! I thought I wanted white or silver, but on the CX-9, the plastic lower body moldings are always black (asphalty, actually). When I saw black mouldings on a white car, I hated it. Others around me liked it, but I think it makes the CX-9 look too much a like a car (the mouldings "hide" the size of the CX-9). It is a big crossover, not a car, after all. In the end, I struggled between the blue and the black, but went with the black. The blue is a beauty as well though.

Want more hard decisions? The rear seat DVD system. If you order it, the moonroof is gone! Talk about a hard decision. I decided to skip it and plan to integrate a headrest system in the future. What was Mazda thinking on forcing customers in this near luxury class car to chose between entertained kids and a moonroof!? :).

Cheers,
Lexx
 

Lexx

Member
:
2007 Mazda CX-9 AWD GT, 2010 Mazda3 Sport, 2005 BMW M3
To add to my previous notes ... today I tried to play with the nav voice recognition. All the reviews are true, that completely sucks. Well over 90% failure rate (I am being generous) on recognizing my voice in a completely stationary, quiet car.

The funny thing is that the Bluetooth voice recognition is excellent. It's obviously not the same system and the difference is night and day.

Strictly speaking, essentially useless nav voice recognition is a neutral con when comparing against a TomTom or a Garmin -- neither has voice recognition at all.

Lexx
 
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Lexx

Member
:
2007 Mazda CX-9 AWD GT, 2010 Mazda3 Sport, 2005 BMW M3
Southpaw said:
The 360? I was checking that one out the other day.

Both Nuvi 360 and Nuvi 660 are good for North Americans. 660 may not be worth an upgrade from a 360 for many; only useful extra features are larger display (not that big a deal), integrated FM transmitter (nice, but may not work for everyone due to very lower power transmitter), and included traffic receiver (only works in large US areas, requires an annual subscription, requires powering the Nuvi from the car lighter outlet and installed in it's cradle).

360s are starting to fall in price now, they are a very nice unit.

Lexx
 

rc51

Member
The cx9 is my first vehicle w/nav and in addition to the comments above, the nav screen offers a much better display of the stereo functions, especially when using Sirius. It will also display album/title info off of encoded cd's and of course MP3 files. That in combination w/the rear camera makes it a worthwhile option.
 

JCS

Member
rc51, do you know if the CD player in the CX-9 will read DVDs encoded with MP3 files, or will it read CDs only?
 

Lexx

Member
:
2007 Mazda CX-9 AWD GT, 2010 Mazda3 Sport, 2005 BMW M3
Southpaw said:
Anyone use the Garmin c530? What are the differences between say this and the 360 or 350?

I don't know anything about the c530, but the difference between Nuvi 350 and 360 is Bluetooth on 360.

Lexx