Garmin has decided to continue the DriveSmart line of automotive GPS devices. The Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S and Garmin DriveSmart LMT-S are a step up from the base Garmin Drive models.
The Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S and 61 LMT-S carry all the basic GPS features found in the Drive which includes traffic and lifetime map updates. The DriveSmart adds the ability to interface with your smartphone via Bluetooth and take advantage of Garmin’s smart notifications which facilitates sharing of information, including contacts, search results, favorite locations, your driving destination, and even your parking spot.
Looks like Garmin merged the 6″ and 7″ models from 2016 into a single model that falls in between the two sizes.
There are two models that are part of the Garmin DriveSmart 2017 lineup:
Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S – This has a 5″ diagonal display model. It includes basic GPS functions, lifetime traffic and map subscriptions, Bluetooth functionality, smartphone capabilities. The physical dimensions are 5.5″W x 3.3″H x .7″D. This model appears to be almost identical to the older Garmin DirveSmart 50LMT.
Garmin DriveSmart 61 LMT-S – Looks like Garmin merged the 6″ and 7″ models from 2016 into a single model that falls in between the two sizes. The screen size comes in at 6.95″ so not quite a 7″ display. It also includes basic GPS functions, lifetime traffic and map subscriptions, Bluetooth functionality and SmartPhone link. The physical dimensions are 6.8″W x 3.9″H x .7″D.
The Garmin DriveSmart series continues with the same mount from last year’s model. There is a round adapter that snaps onto the back of the GPS. The back of the adapter has a 17mm socket that accommodates the standard 17mm ball that has been common to Garmin GPS devices for over ten years.
Although this is the second year for the DriveSmart line, it looks like the mount industry still hasn’t caught on. Any mount with a 17mm ball that lists a Garmin Nuvi or Garmin Drive as a compatible model will work. It’s the 17mm ball that’s important.
We continue to recommend the Arkon Windshield Dash Garmin Nuvi Suction Mount for car use. It’s more rugged and longer than the Garmin mount you received in the box. Comes with an adhesive dash mount if you wish to use this on your dashboard which is especially useful for states where windshield mounting is against the law. This mount will fit the Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S and 61 LMT-S. The adapter that came with the GPS will be used with this mount. It’s an excellent mount that comes with a 2-year warranty.
Then there is the Garmin Bean Bag Mount. This mount has been around for almost as long as Garmin has been making GPS devices for cars. It has a 17mm ball which the cradle snaps onto. We wrote an in-depth review of this mount which you can read here. Keep in mind that although the DriveSmart series isn’t listed on the packaging, it will fit fine. It’s simple to use. Just attach your cradle and toss it on your dash. Works best on flat dashboards but Not too great on a dash that is significantly sloped.
The car’s air vent might be a good place to attach a Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S or DriveSmart 61 LMT-S. Check out the Garmin Vent Mount. This was introduced by Garmin a few years ago primarily for their Nuvi line. It’s made by Garmin specifically for their GPS line so it will fit the 17mm cradle socket perfectly. The mount has a clamp on the back of it so this means these mounts will fit horizontal and vertical vents.
When using a vent mount, ensure that your vent will hold up to the weight of a GPS hanging from it. Most can without an issue, but there are a few that can pull the vent slats off, especially plastic slats on some less expensive car models.
On a motorcycle, there are some good quality universal holders that will fit the Garmin DriveSmart 51 LMT-S and 61 LMT-S. The Arkon RoadVise Handlebar Mount is a good choice. The expandable holder opens to 4 inches so it will fit both DriveSmart models. The included handlebar mount fits up to 1.25 inch diameter bars. The mount requires a screwdriver for installation and includes rubber strips to prevent handlebar marks. We always like to recommend adding a tether to any motorcycle mount, you can read about them here.