The Garmin Drive has put an end to the ten-year old Garmin Nuvi line of GPS units. For 2016, the annual refresh of Garmin’s GPS has renamed the consumer GPS line to “Drive”. So now you will see terms like Drive, DriveSmart, DriveAssist and Driveluxe. Garmin Drive includes the basic maps of the US or Canada and you get to select the maps when you purchase the GPS. If you buy it in the US, it’s more than likely to be the US map model. If purchased in Canada, then it’s a good bet that Canada is also included, but check the box or online product description. The Garmin Drive line adds some new features including driver awareness alerts like upcoming sharp curves, fatigue warning, speed changes and railroad crossings. Fatigue alert is a feature that alerts you when you have been driving at a constant speed for a long period of time. Interesting feature. Anyway, this article will speak to mounts for the base line which is called the Garmin Drive.
The Garmin Drive series has five models as follows:
Garmin Drive 50 – This is the basic model with a 5″ screen. The physical dimensions are 5.5″W x 3.3″H x .8″D (14.0 x 8.4 x 2.0 cm). It includes all the base features described in the prior paragraph. If you would like to update the maps in a few years, Garmin will charge a fee to do so. If you buy a new GPS every three years, then this will likely work best for you.
Garmin Drive 50LM – Same feature as the Garmin Drive 50 but with a lifetime maps subscription. You can upgrade your maps for free whenever there is an update.
Garmin Drive 50LMT – Same features as the Garmin Drive 50LM plus a lifetime subscription to traffic updates.
Garmin Drive 60LM – A 6″ display with a lifetime maps subscription. The physical dimensions are 6.7″W x 3.7″H x .8″D (17 x 9.4 x 2.1 cm). It includes all the base features described in the prior paragraph.
Garmin Drive 60LMT – Just like the Garmin Drive 60LM but it includes a lifetime traffic subscription.
Personally, I never had use for the lifetime map updates as I found that you will likely purchase a new GPS before it’s time to update the maps. I find GPS models are like any other technology in that you upgrade it periodically. And as for traffic, this only works well in large metropolitan areas so if you live in a rural area, skip that feature and save some money.
We’ll discuss mounting options in a bit. First I wanted to be sure that if you have one of the LMT units with traffic, don’t lose the cable. Your traffic subscription is tied to the actual cable itself. If you lose your cable, you will need to replace with a very expensive traffic charger. An ordinary Garmin car charger will not provide traffic, you need to buy the model with traffic integrated into it.
In the box is the usual Garmin offerings which include a suction cup mount, adhesive disk and a charger. Garmin has continued the same mount design as last year’s Garmin Nuvi series update. There is a round cradle which snaps onto the back of the GPS for a tight hold. The cradle has a 17mm socket on the back and can be paired with many alternative mounts by simply pulling the cradle off the suction cup mount that came with your GPS. The mounting kit in the box also includes an adhesive mounting disk. This is particularly useful for states like California and Minnesota where mounting to a windshield is not legal and you need to mount it elsewhere. We wrote a detailed article on these states and you can read it here.
The suction cup mount that comes with this series is very basic and we wrote a detailed article on this mount here. It’s the same mount they have been including with their Nuvi GPS series for the past ten years.
There are many alternative mounts to the Garmin suction cup. We have used and can endorse the Arkon Replacement Suction Cup Mount which is long enough for all of the Garmin Drive models. It’s the mount that is shown in the photo that accompanies this article. The mount with a replacement dash disk so that you can use the suction cup on your dashboard. Unlike the Garmin mount, the mount has an articulation point halfway down to permit greater freedom of adjustment. Arkon provides a 2-year warranty on this mount.
A popular mount made for the Garmin vehicle GPS series is the Garmin Bean Bag Mount which has a 17mm ball which you can snap the cradle onto. We wrote an in-depth review of this mount which you can read here. Note that most mounts are going to specify they fit a Garmin Nuvi and not mention the Drive. The Drive is brand new but don’t worry these will fit fine. This mount has been around for a long time and Garmin has sold a boat load of these. That’s because it’s a good mount and can be used for many years and can be re-purposed for an upgraded GPS in the years to come. Just attach your cradle and toss it on your dash. Works great on flat dashboards. Not so great on a dash that is significantly sloped.
Vent mounts have been available for many years but Garmin completely missed the parade on these until a few years ago. Finally coming out with the Garmin Vent Mount, they now have a vent mount of their own. Garmin’s vent mount is very well made. 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.
On the motorcycle, the best manufacturer from our experience is RAM Mounts. As of this publication date of this article, RAM does not make a custom mount for this GPS series but 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 fit any of the GPS Drive models described in this article. The mount fits handlebar diameters to 1.25 inches. The included cradle is great and fits devices like GPS units and large smartphones.