Car sat nav for permanent installation in cars, trucks, motorhomes, caravans or camper vans
Even in high-quality pre-owned vehicles there is either no GPS navigation system installed or the car's sat nav and maps are very outdated. A software update to bring the maps up to the current standard is often no longer possible and in these cases, current smartphones frequently cannot be coupled with the system either. In many other vehicles, there is often no car sat nav installed at all.
In order for well-used vehicles that come without a car sat nav system to use modern smartphone coupling options (such as Apple Car Play, Android Auto or another hands-free system with Bluetooth connectivity), they have to be retrofitted with modern navigational devices. For vehicles with a pre-installed system, existing or original navigation systems can be replaced. A newer, more modern car sat nav offers previously unknown comforts as well as significant added value with a larger screen, up-to-date map software and DAB+ digital radio. USB ports and the Bluetooth functionality complement the features of the modern car sat nav.
The advantages of fixed GPS navigation at a glance
State-of-the-art route guidance technology in the navigation system ✓
Smartphone connection via Bluetooth or USB ✓
Apple CarPlay / Android Auto compatible ✓
Current map updates available ✓
Easy-to-read screens with touchscreen functionality ✓
The installation of fixed GPS navigation devices
In many cases, the installation of a new car sat nav is not as complex as is often assumed. Nevertheless, it is recommended to have the installation carried out by an authorised dealer or workshop. The costs for the installation compared to the hardware itself ought to be reasonable and should be calculated at around 10 to 20 % of the device's purchasing price. Much of the complexity depends on whether existing antennas or wiring in the vehicle can continue to be used and whether additional adaptations are necessary to maintain important vehicle functions. In general, however, an installation solution should be feasible in every vehicle. For greater flexibility, we have car sat nav options available for 1-DIN and 2-DIN installation openings, offering a screen size of 6.1 inches, 8 inches, 9 inches or 11 inches.
The advantages of a permanently installed installed car sat nav
In modern vehicles, the display for a car sat nav is not only used to show the route from A to B. It also provides an interface for other helpful functions of the car and displays information on the screen that could not be shown with a portable navigation system. For example, with a screen, it is possible to access additional vehicle functions such as the climate control, the parking assistance system or the display of the rear view camera, both visually and acoustically.
These functions do not get lost when the original unit is replaced with an Alpine car sat nav: thanks to an adapter, climate controls, parking sensors and the rear camera feed can continue to be shown on the bigger, more modern car sat nav unit. Thus, these important functions of the vehicle are supported even after the installation of a different device and offer added value beyond the use of the integrated sat nav system.
Of course, every new Alpine car sat nav is also compatible with Apple Car Play or Android Auto. If you prefer to use your sat nav with Google Maps or Apple's Maps application, which is the default iOS maps application pre-installed on iPhones, you have that option as well – something that usually only newer cars offer as standard. For an additional choice, you also have the option of simply connecting your mobile phone to the car sat nav unit via Bluetooth while using the default interface.
Navigation and POIs in motorhomes and lorries
Especially with lorries and motorhome navigation systems, it is important to take into account the vehicle-specific dimensions when calculating the route. However, this is not the only thing you should look after: If you are transporting dangerous goods, such as explosives, flammable, nonflammable or poisonous gases, additional route restrictions may apply. In the navigational settings you can choose the dimensions of your vehicle and the kind of freight you are carrying. The routing software will take these parameters into account and plan accordingly so that you avoid entering freight-restricted areas by accident.
For a similar purpose, motorhome navigation systems from Alpine offer special motorhome settings in the software. You are able to choose a certain profile for your motorhome or enter the vehicle dimensions and its total weight yourself. The route mapping takes these values into account during its guidance, influencing route selection and adhering to certain requirements. For motorhomes over 3.5 t, this motorhome software feature is particularly helpful. Here, the country-specific restrictions, such as speed restrictions for certain vehicle classes, are also taken into account.
In addition, you can enter valuable POIs (points of interest) at the start as well as during the route guidance. The large databases from Bordatlas and Park4Night are already available as standard on Alpine motorhome navigation devices. Park4Night offers a choice of over 120,000 parking spaces and can be set to choose spots along your route or at the desired destination. If your chosen spot has a phone number attached to it, you can reach out to the owner or operator responsible and check for availability. This makes navigation within set time parameters much easier and allows you to plan ahead in time.
In addition, POIs (Points of Interest) can be used at the start and during the route guidance. For this purpose, large databases of Bordatlas and Park4Night are already included on Alpine motorhome navigation devices.
Our motorhome-specific head units feature up-to-date map data from TomTom with free updates for three years and the features listed above.
Planning your trip before it starts
For optimal travel planning, you should inform yourself well in advance and adapt to the local conditions of your route as well as your targeted destination. That may include items for winter conditions or filling up your wiper fluid before a long trip so that you are not caught out en route. You can prepare for your trip by reading up on what you can expect, for example with our Motorhome Couch magazine. No matter whether you're a beginner, an expert or even a professional – here you can find out more about attractive travel routes in Europe.
For longer routes, we especially recommend that you check your vehicle in advance: take care of all important fluids, adapt your tyre pressures according to what kind of weight and freight you are carrying and take a look at your tyres in general. They should still be well clear of both their expiration date and the blocks that show the minimum tread of 1.6 millimetres. You may also find it helpful to make use of your GPS navigation system and enter the route into your car sat nav in advance to note any possible hazards or dangerous roads on your way.
An Alpine car sat nav will help you at all stages of your journey!
The near-universal appeal of the modern car sat nav is certainly influenced by its many features. After all, it offers route planning, updates during your journey and POI spots nearly anywhere you go.
In addition to those advantages, fixed GPS navigation devices are often bigger than their mobile equivalents, as they can make use of a larger space within or atop the centre console and do not need to take into account spacial limitations or obstructing the view of the road in the way mountings for mobile sat nav devices or even mountings for mobile phones have to do. Instead, the unit becomes a fully-integrated part of your car, motorhome or lorry, with adapters ensuring that you can still access additional functions of the old display, such as the rear-view camera, climate controls or parking sensors. TMC functionality ensures that your route is updated with current traffic information.
We also recommend keeping the maps on your device up-to-date. The newest map updates ensure that routes are as accurate as possible, up to and including possible changes in speed limit restrictions. The TomTom map display shows speed limits as well as standard navigational features, such as estimated arrival time, an estimated countdown towards arrival and distance remaining. When purchasing an Alpine car sat nav, free TomTom map updates are included for the first three years. Afterwards, various country or regional packages are available at reasonable prices.
In addition to the navigational features of a car sat nav, a built-in DAB+ digital radio delivers radio reception with high sound quality free from white noise typically associated with FM radio. DAB+ allows you to choose from a much wider range of stations and sorts your desired channels alphabetically or by genre for easy and fast navigation. If you wish, you can also seamlessly switch between the default interface and your connected device (via Apple Car Play or Android Auto), allowing for quick transitions and much faster access to various applications on your phone for music, calls, audiobooks and much more.
Various models from our product range also feature Hi-Res audio and advanced options for sound tuning, such as different EQ presets and individual equalizer settings.
FAQ on car sat navs
What is the difference between a GPS and a sat nav?
The term “GPS” on its own refers to the “Global Positioning System” that allows you to pinpoint your location nearly anywhere on Earth. However, that information only comes out as a string of coordinates, so in order to make any use of that information, you will need satellite navigation – or sat nav, for short. Satellite navigation provides real-time mapping based on GPS location as well as route calculation options. With a modern car sat nav, you often have the option of choosing your desired destination based on GPS-based geo-coordinates as well.
Can I use Google Maps as a car sat nav?
A modern car sat nav usually offers compatibility with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto, both of which can make use of the Google Maps application on your phone. After entering your desired destination and confirming the route, you can use Google Maps like any other sat nav.
Can I replace my old car sat nav?
If you use an older car and want to replace the older, slower, no longer up-to-date sat nav unit with a modern system, Alpine offers various options for you. Our navigation systems come with three years of free TomTom map updates, large touchscreens and compatibility with both Apple Car Play and Android Auto as well as Bluetooth connectivity, giving you a free choice of how you want to connect your device.