Cheaper navigation systems now available

LOS ANGELES Generally, opting for a navigation system in a new car would cost you $1,000 or more, but this year, /*Nissan*/ broke well into the three-figure price range.

The nav system in a 2010 Sentra is $400. It has all the features of the more expensive ones, but it sets a new low for retail price. The same system is also available in the Nissan Versa for just over $600.

It's by no means bare bones. The cheaper system features live traffic information, though you will have to pay a subscription for it.

You can pick up a portable unit for as little as $100, but the one offered through the company is built right into the dash and is fully integrated with the car.

/*Suzuki*/ boasts that it includes their satellite navigation free in the SX4 model, but that, too, is more of a portable that goes into a docking station.

Nissan's inexpensive nav will guide you turn-by-turn to where you want to go, but the display screen is on the small side at about 4.5 inches across.

The low-cost navigation system is available on a lot of Nissan models for under $20,000, so you can have a fairly inexpensive car with a really inexpensive nav system - a system that can save you money other ways, too.

There's a feature in the system's menu that lets you select the most fuel-efficient route, supposedly avoiding hills and traffic. Sometimes, it's easier said than done in Southern California.

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