Digital routing has become a staple fixture in British cars and cabs, with modern drivers more likely to look up destinations and plan routes using their smartphones than reach for an atlas.
The same is true for trucks, with many newer vehicles coming with sat navs built in. But there are still plenty of vehicles on the road without digital mapping technology, so drivers can turn to a wide range of third-party models that can offer first-class routing along with some other useful tools – such as dash cameras, TVs and reversing cameras.
While it can be tempting to rely on free services like Google Maps to pinpoint a destination, truck drivers need to be sure the routes they’re following are suitable for their vehicles. Truck-specific sat navs enable drivers to enter the profile of their vehicle (weight, height, width, load etc) so the routes displayed take into account weak, low or narrow bridges, tunnels and any other restrictions that could get you into trouble.
Here’s our pick of the crop currently on offer in the UK…
Truckmate SC5900 DVR
Web: Buy it at https://gb.snooper.eu
Within Snooper’s line of Truckmate sat navs, the SC5900 punches above its weight by also offering a full functional HD dash camera. The device has a 5 inch LCD which, as well as mapping and routine information, can also be used to view dash cam footage – which is stored on an included 8GB MicroSD card. The unit includes the latest European street-level, truck-specific mapping with free lifetime updates, free TMC traffic information and with data supplied by premium mapping firm, Here. The device also has a built-in Bluetooth receiver and a dedicated input for a reversing camera (sold separately).
Web: Buy it at https://gb.snooper.eu
Moving up the Snooper range, the Truckmate S6900 aims to make navigation clearer with its large 7 inch LCD touch screen. It’s one of the biggest screens on the market, and is particularly handy if the mounting position in your cab is further away from the driving seat. Alongside Snooper’s excellent mapping data and truck-specific routing with free lifetime updates and TMC traffic information, the device also enables drivers to input the Euro emissions rating of their vehicle so routes can factor in Low Emission Zones (LEZs). Plus, it comes with a handy, easy to use magnetic mount that incorporates power, TMC and reverse camera inputs so it can be installed and removed more quickly.
Truck TX750 with TV/Reversing Camera
Web: Buy it at https://aguriworld.co.uk
Price: £419.98 (UK & Ireland mapping) / £469.98 (European mapping)
Aguri has made quite a name for itself in the truck sat nav market, offering some of the most user-friendly and versatile models around. Top of the list is the TX750, which packs a large and bright 7 inch screen, enhanced loudspeaker for clearer audio directions in noisy cabs, and a built-in DVB-T2 digital Freeview TV viewer so you can watch telly on your break. But that’s not all, as it also offers a built-in HD DVR dash cam, WIFI connectivity, professional truck routing software, and free wireless lifetime map and speed trap updates. Icing on the cake is a free Armour Pack with protective case. Plus, the bundle we’re featuring here includes a magnetic mount wireless reversing camera with rechargeable battery. That’s a lot of bang for your buck – but the only sticking point is it uses your mobile phone’s data connection to receive live traffic information.
Truck TX720 DVR Armour Edition with Reversing Camera
Web: Buy it at eBay.co.uk
Price: £349.99 (UK & Ireland mapping) / £419.98 (European mapping)
Slightly cheaper, but no less useful is Aguri’s TX720 DVR. This device offers the same 7 inch screen as its more expensive brother, but is missing the built-in digital TV tuner (but if you’re still desperate to watch East Enders on your sat nav, you can hook it into internet TV via WIFI or your mobile’s data connection). The TX720 comes with the same freely updated detailed mapping, free speed trap updates, shock-resistant Armour Pack and enhanced loud speaker as the TX750, and can be bought with UK and Ireland or full European mapping pre-loaded. And once again, Aguri is offering a cut-price bundle with its mag-mount wireless reversing camera.
dēzl 580 LMT-D
Web: Buy it at https://buy.garmin.com
Garmin’s dēzl 580 offers truck-specific navigation with European mapping at a decent price. Although larger 7 inch versions are available (which can also include a built-in dash camera), the 580 offers a clear 5 inch screen, free lifetime map updates, truck-specific points of interest (POIs), voice control, plus a Dispatch and Track messaging function which can enable direct communication with the traffic office, plus basic vehicle tracking information. Live traffic and speed trap information is included, but as with the Aguri models above, it requires linking with your mobile phone to download the data.
TomTom GO PROFESSIONAL 6250
Web: Buy it at www.tomtom.com
TomTom has been making sat navs for ages, and this latest trucking model is a good all-rounder. The GO PROFESSIONAL 6250 has a 6 inch screen and comes with TomTom Traffic and speed camera information via built-in SIM, meaning you don’t have to worry about data roaming charges. Map updates are free via WIFI for the lifetime of the device, and Bluetooth connectivity means drivers can have the device read out text messages received via their smartphone, as well as make hands-free calls. The 6250 also comes with a magnetic mount that enables the device to be attached and removed with just one hand.