By Anthony Wallace 

Packed with a dashcam, off-road tracks and discovery features.

New Zealand’s own GPS navigation company, Navman, is urging inner-city SUV drivers to use their vehicles properly: for adventure.

2017 has seen huge surge in the sale of SUVs and interest is growing in outdoor adventure. For the first time, more SUVs are being sold in Australia than ordinary passenger cars such as sedans. All too often, though, these vehicles don’t stray off the beaten path of the cities. Navman wants you to embrace your inner weekend warrior and go ‘soft-roading’ instead.

Despite a strong trend of mobile phones replacing in-car navigation units, Navman is continuing to provide the best in navigation with seamless, reliable units. The latest model, the Drive Duo SUV, has all the bells and whistle you could get with any smartphone, without the hassle of working across different apps, mobile coverage or map reliability.

Escape the everyday

“There have never been so many SUVs and 4WDs sold in Australia and the resurgence of camping and caravan holidays means there is a need for a reliable GPS to ensure safe guidance,” Navman Australia managing director, Wendy Hammond said. “We wanted to give drivers a device that they will get immense value out of with features that they won’t find built into their car or anywhere else, and one that will help them make the most of their free time.

“It’s perfect for everyday driving but also gives options for even part-time adventurers,” Hammond said.

Complete with a dashcam, off-road tracks and discovery features, the new Navman Drive Duo SUV navigation unit makes it easier than ever to escape the everyday. With just about everything you need for all types of adventure packed in, the unit replaces the need to worry about things like planning, navigation and even traffic accidents.

A ‘soft-road’ adventure

Last week, Navman showcased their latest offering by stealing away a group of 20 tech journalists from their inner Sydney offices and plunging them into the depths of the Blue Mountains. Armed with little more than the Drive Duo SUV and 4WDs, the teams navigated down unsealed mountain roads to take part in a treasure hunt.

All the while, the Drive Duo SUV was using the front and rear dashcams to record the journey; GPS positioning to track the path; optical sensors to warn of traffic hazards; and Navman’s comprehensive maps to find campsites and nearby features.

The repeated quip from the journalists was along the lines of, “but my phone can do that,” however as soon as mobile reception ran out, the advantage of a unit like the Drive Duo SUV quickly became apparent. Even deep in the mountains, we were able to use the device to browse different campsites, nearby eating options and plan our journey ahead.

Back on the highway, the advantage of an integrated unit like the Drive Duo SUV shined through again. The optical sensors of the dashcam warned us when we approached the car ahead too quickly or veered out of our lane, and the live traffic updates informed us of any traffic we might encounter.

Just hop in and go

The great thing about the Drive Duo SUV is that it does the planning for you. You can be sure to find whatever you might need—campsites, hotels, petrol stations, restaurants—just using the unit’s in built features.

It comes with all the features you would expect from the top-of the-line navigation units: voice command, live traffic updates, speed camera warnings, roadside assistance, plus integration with discovery features like Lonely Planet and Zomato. But what really sets it apart from smartphones and other navigation units is the built-in dashcam.

By integrating with navigation data, the 2K Full HD dashcam footage can be used in insurance claims and the software allows for easy back-up of footage and navigation history. The 3-axis G sensor records all movements, while ADAS safety features, such as Front Collision Warning Alert and Lane Departure Warning, help to avoid any accidents in the first place.

A trusty navigator

The new Drive Duo SUV has even more off-road information than any product Navman have offered before. Unlike a lot of other maps, the unit uses only verified sources, and a mammoth amount of them at that.

Navman’s mapping partner, HERE, has drawn the extensive data from a variety of sources such as HEMA, Hardie Grant (Explore Australia), Outback Travellers and many more- all of which undergo strict verification processes. There are now over 14,250 additional off-road points of interest and a mammoth 123,000km off road tracks to explore. In all, the device is also loaded with over 1,033,505 points of interest. With the maps being updated every month, you can be confident to have the latest data before you head out.

“No matter where their destination, Navman’s Drive Duo SUV can guide these drivers and help them explore the area they are staying in,” Hammond said. “During the week the device’s GPS and dashcam protects and guides – steering them away from traffic snarls – and on weekends it can guide them to a campsite and beyond.”

It will also guide those who drive a larger vehicle, tow a caravan or carry cargo such as a bike on their car roof, with specific guidance for unsuitable routes, including low bridges or places with height or weight restrictions.

With a system like the Drive Duo SUV, there’s little excuse to keep those SUVs—or just about any vehicle for that matter—stuck on those busy city roads.

The Navman Drive Duo SUV is available now at major electronic retailers for AU$479. A rear camera is available separately by Navman.