Long Term Test: Tom Tom points the way

By Guy Bird for Business Car, Nov 2009

Why 3D cars are more fun than arrows for your satnav

With any new car it’s always fun to play with the gadgets once you’ve worked out the basics. Given our Megane Sport Tourer’s trim is named after its TomTom satnav system we figured Renault had to be pretty confident of its ability, so that seemed a good a place to start. First impressions have been excellent. The 5.8” colour map screen is fully integrated into the car’s dashboard – no unsightly windscreen suction pad to secure a cradled device here – while its controls are easy to locate on the transmission tunnel between the front seats.

I stumbled on a neat way to transform the car’s satnav ‘arrow’ into the 3D Renault car of your choice. I opted for the Megane, figuring the F1 icon could be too ironic given this car’s 1.5 dCi engine

The system utilises a compass-style central knob with simple ‘back’, ‘menu’, ‘map’ and ‘destination home’ buttons clustered around it. Press the latter button and entry options are clearly displayed – including the super-useful ‘full postcode’ option on its opening page. Destinations are then quick to input and make journeys instantly less stressful.

But the TomTom system offers more than basic navigational functionality. Case in point: on lesser systems the recent clocks-going-back-day would herald endless frustrated fiddling with the car’s settings in the vain hope of finding out how to change the hour. On the TomTom it’s quickly adjusted from the ‘menu’ area and while there I also stumbled on a neat extra application that transforms the car’s screen ‘arrow’ into the 3D Renault of your choice – from Clio to F1 racer. In the absence of a Megane Sport Tourer option I loyally opted for the Megane hatch, figuring the F1 icon could be a bit too ironic given this Megane’s 1.5 dCi engine. Either way it’s a neat touch that brings a smile to every easy-plan journey


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