The Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMTHD is part of Garmin’s 2016 vehicle GPS refresh. This is the top of the line GPS model for Garmin. We previously discussed the base lineup which is now called the Garmin Drive. I guess Garmin decided to retire the decade old Nuvi name because all of their vehicular GPS series has the word “Drive” within it including the previously discussed Garmin DriveAssist which is the new designation for the next generation of NuviCam. I never understood what Nuvi meant and I’m guessing nobody else did. It’s probably a wise move to drop the name.
Anyway, Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMTHD has everything a GPS person needs for navigation. Garmin is clearly feeling the effects of the GPS apps found on smartphones because some of the features in this model are straight out of Waze’s book. While there aren’t warnings from other drivers as it’s missing the social aspect of Waze, there are proactive warnings galore including alerts for sharp curves, speed changes, railroad crossings and animal crossings.
Additionally, the Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMTHD notifies you when driving the wrong way on a one-way street and sends warnings for nearby school zones (haven’t seen that in Waze). A unique feature from Garmin is integration of alerts for nearby red light and speed cameras. A fatigue warning suggests break times and potential rest areas after driving for an extended period.
The Garmin Driveluxe 50LMTHD features a 5″ diagonal display and physically measures 5.57”W x 3.16”H x 0.622”D (14.1 x 8.02 x 1.58 cm). The display isn’t quite as good as the latest smartphone but does sport a 800 x 480 pixel resolution and features a multi-touch screen and WVGA color TFT with a white backlight for night viewing.
Free lifetime map updates are included with the Garmin Driveluxe 50LMTHD. This means that you can refresh the GPS maps regularly at no additional charge. The GPS also includes a free lifetime traffic subscription in detail. While I have found limited value in remote areas, those using the GPS in urban areas will likely have a better experience. Traffic reports aren’t available in less populated areas, and apparently that includes Northwest New Jersey where I live.
This GPS includes the Garmin DriveLuxe Vehicle Suction Cup Mount with a magnetic cradle that attaches to the back of the GPS. We are big fans of magnetic mounts because it’s easier to attach and remove the GPS. The magnetic cradle attaches to the typical Garmin suction cup mount which utilizes a ball and socket design. The back of that cradle has a 17mm socket and matches up to a 17mm ball mount. The DriveLuxe as well as the entire Drive series is brand new so most mount packaging is going to specify that it fits a Garmin Nuvi, but that’s ok because Garmin carried the 17mm design over from the old Nuvi line to the new Drive line.
Those looking to replace the suction cup part of the mount need look no further than the Arkon Windshield Dash Garmin Nuvi Suction Mount which is a favorite of mine. That’s the one we have in the photo that accompanies this article. We have recommended this one countless times over the many years it has been available. Can’t go wrong with this mount. 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.
The Garmin Vent Mount is one of Garmin’s best mounts for a GPS. Because it’s made by Garmin specifically for their GPS line, it’s going to fit that cradle socket perfectly. Unlike many of their competitors, Garmin saw the need for a vent mount with a clamp on the back if it. This means these mounts will fit horizontal and vertical vents and again don’t worry about it not saying it’s for a Garmin Drive, it will fit fine. While it costs a bit more than the competitors, it’s worth the extra for a well made mount that you can easily install and remove.
The old reliable car dash mount is the Garmin Bean Bag Mount which has a 17mm ball which you can snap the magnetic cradle onto. We wrote an in-depth review of this mount which you can read here. This mount has been around for a long time. I remember using it for my old Garmin Nuvi 350. That old mount still works today with a much newer GPS from Garmin. It’s a good mount and can be used for a long time and will likely outlive your GPS.
On the motorcycle, the best manufacturer from our experience continues to be RAM Mounts. As of the publication date of this article, RAM does not make a custom mount for the Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMTHD. We will update the article if they do. Lately, RAM has been opting for universal cradles, so I don’t know if they have plans to make a custom cradle at all. We discussed RAM’s X-Grip line in a previous article which can be read here. RAM offers the RAM Handlebar Mount with Universal X-Grip IV Holder which includes the mount and cradle. The cradle opens up to 4.5″ and that’s wide enough to the Garmin DriveLuxe 50LMTHD. The mount fits handlebar diameters to 1.25 inches. The included cradle can be used for large smartphones as well as this GPS model.