The Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S remains one of the best car navigation systems (opens in new tab) available for everyday motorists, if you can find it now that it's been discontinued. As well as offering time-tested design and premium features, the Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S has exceptional functionality and is remarkably easy to use.
Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S review: Features
This car GPS has all of the navigational features you need in a GPS. It comes preloaded with maps, so you can begin navigating the day you purchase the device. It includes maps of continental North America. It also comes with free map updates for the life of the device, so you’ll never be driving on an outdated route. If you need to get maps of a country not included in the preloaded selections, you can purchase those maps on Garmin’s website and load them either onto your device or an external microSD card.
One of the best features of this GPS system is free lifetime traffic alerts, which alerts you to construction, accidents or other occurrences that could slow you down. Paired with extensive route avoidance functions, the DriveLuxe 51 also gives you the most efficient route to your preferred destination. The unit supports voice-activated navigation, which allows you to speak commands to the device, allowing you to keep your hands on the wheel and eyes focused on the road. You can also pair the GPS with your smartphone via Bluetooth and use basic functions on it hands-free.
Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S review: Navigation
While you drive, various pieces of navigational information remain available to you on the device’s screen, such as nearby landmarks and upcoming turns or necessary lane changes. Built-in speed limit indicators help you obey local traffic laws, and the time estimator gives you an approximation of when you’ll arrive at your intended destination.
Garmin preloads the DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S with millions of points of interest (POIs). Its POIs include things like gas stations, stores, restaurants and hotels. You can search for them by category or location. With third-party integrations – such as TripAdvisor and Foursquare – many of the destinations you navigate to will have reviews displayed on screen. It even lets you program in your own points of interest, such as your house or workplace. You can add multiple stops to your commute, and the device then automatically creates the most efficient route.
Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S review: Design
The value GPS comes in a sleek, metal chassis and features a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen display. The display has a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, which isn’t as good as the best navigation GPS devices we tested, although it’s better than those of the lowest-ranking units. However, you won’t be using this display to watch movies or play games, so the resolution is plenty adequate. The screen itself is highly responsive, allowing for multi-touch zoom, and always provides a colorful and bright display. You have the option to toggle night mode or manually adjust the brightness.
The device gets power from your cigarette lighter port, but it also has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that can power the device independently for up to an hour when unplugged. This allows you to continue using your car’s power port to charge something else – like your phone – if needed. If you want a GPS with more battery power, consider the TomTom VIA 1515M, which can run up to three hours unplugged.
The DriveLuxe 51 ships with a one-year warranty, which is standard across the industry. Garmin also offers customer support via email and phone, although there is currently no live chat option. For the quickest customer care, we recommend calling support. You can also find myriad informational resources on Garmin’s website.
Should you buy the Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S?
The Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S is loaded with all the features you’d expect in a navigation GPS, whether you’re a casual Sunday driver or a professional truck driver. Its artillery of essential and premium features, along with its capacitive touchscreen and incredible ease of use, make it one of the best values for a car GPS. The only trouble you're likely to have with the Garmin DriveLuxe 51 LMT-S is in tracking one down, now that it's been discontinued.