The big electronics megacorps are not the only ones to have spotted the success of sat-nav manufacturers like TomTom and Navman. Motoring organisations can see why a device bearing their logo might sell on the back of the trust a consumer has already put in them.
So enters the RAC range, the flagship of which is this 220 model with full European mapping. It has a 5in screen which, coupled with a slightly bulky chassis and fold-up antenna, means that drivers of smaller cars will have to think carefully about where they put it.
The 220 also gets Bluetooth for hands-free use with your mobile, TMC traffic diverts with a lifetime subscription and a video input for watching movies on that big screen – if you have a suitable video-outputting device. It can also play MP3s.
There are two cheaper models, with 4inch and 3.5inch screens, but without European maps or Bluetooth.
The RAC has licensed Route 66 software for navigation duties on their device. For the most part, this works well. Addresses are easy to enter, or it has a fairly comprehensive list of useful POIs like hotels or petrol stations.
Perfect for MPVs
On the road, voice instructions are clear, the big map screen is easy to follow and the device is quick to respond to mistakes and changes in direction. Some of the on-screen icons are a little small – perhaps destined for a smaller screen – and, although attractively designed, some are a little unclear as to their purpose.
On the whole, then, the 220 is a decent sat-nav, but it lacks the polish and features of some of the more established companies. That said, we’d recommend it for drivers of MPVs: the big screen makes it ideal for those vehicles with long dashboards and shallow-raked windscreens. Plus, the added bonus of 30 percent off RAC breakdown cover may swing it for you.