Subaru Navigation


I have a 2019 Subaru Outback. It looks to be using a Clarion radio with TomTom navigation inside.

I'm coming from a long Garmin background and I find the TomTom navigation really lacking.

What I'm trying to figure out is if it really is lacking or it's just that I'm new to TomTom and really familiar with Garmin and that I just need to spend more time with it.

For very simple things, it works OK. I can ask it to take me home, to an address, or to a nearby POI.

What I can't do, at least from playing with it, is ask it to take me to a POI in another city. Say I'm traveling from NYC to Miami and have a room reserved at a Hilton in Richmond, VA. I can't seem to find a way to say, "Route me to the Hilton in downtown Richmond, VA". The best I can do is to say, "Take me to a nearby Hilton" - which makes no sense.

I also don't see a way of saying, "Route me to some city". It just doesn't seem to understand that. It seems to literally understand:
- a full address
- a nearby POI
- nothing else.

Am I missing something with this navigation or is this just how it is. With other in-dash Garmin products the offering was very similar to what their independent offerings were. I'd expect the same from TomTom and can't believe that a TomTom GPS on the shelf at Best Buy would be this limiting.


Subaru Forester 2019

We have a 2019 Subaru Forester. Subaru, unfortunately, uses an in-dash TomTom. It sucks.

In my opinion, the in-dash TomTom is not effective for navigation unless you know your destination address in advance. As one example, you can't really find an upcoming rest-stop with the in-dash TomTom, whereas you can with a Garmin. We have a Garmin 650, which we still use.

If you have a smartphone, you may wish to install "android auto". We just took a long trip where we experimented with it. The results were favorable.

For our long trips, we still take our Garmin Nuvi 650 along with us. I believe that the Garmin gives superior navigation guidance.

Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

I suspected this was true.I

I suspected this was true.

I was really hoping for:
- No you don't understand. It just has a different interface.
- Here's how you search by city
- Here's how you search by relation to a location.

That being said, it sounds like I'll ignore the TomTom GPS built into my dash because it's crap and just use my Garmin DriveSmart 55 on my dash (bean bag mount) because it works and can do everything I want.

I really wish they'd either:
- Include a fully-functional, useful GPS system in the in-dash radio
- OR - just forego it altogether and say, "use your GPS/Phone if you want to find you way!"

It's dumb how limiting the TomTom in-dash navigation is.

One other thing: It has traffic information from SiriusXM, which is nice. I'm not convinced that it actually uses it in routing, though. It appears to be super simple with: "Here's your route. Also, completely unrelated, here's some traffic information for you."

Subaru TomTom

I have a 2019 Forester Touring. The TomTom nav unit is a very basic nav unit. Frankly, I have never been impressed with ANY built-in nav unit. They are aimed at the average (very basic) user.

What works very well is Google Maps through Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. Or if you prefer, Waze. Real-time traffic updates and voice searching via the Google Assistant or Apple's Siri. All controlled from the steering wheel Voice button and displaying on the big screen. Personally, with most new cars supporting Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, I don't know why they even bother adding a built-in nav function any more. Guess they figure there is still a lot of folks who don't have smart phones yet.

In-Dash Display Screen Still Useful

The in-dash navigation, especially TomTom, may be somewhat obsolete. Nevertheless, the media display screen is still very useful for receiving the Android Auto map navigation so that the driver can see the navigation.

Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

Stand Alone Unit

This is why i use a standalone unit.

Same here

MMtoTSS wrote:

This is why i use a standalone unit.

Yep. It's dumb but in my new car, with in-dash GPS navigation, I use a Garmin Drivesmart 55 because it works.

SiriusXM Traffic in Subaru

Has anyone that owns a Subaru with navigation bought a subscription of SiriusXM's "NavTraffic" (about$3.99/month) which supposedly gives you "REal Time" traffic report markings on the navigation incidents...accident. This NavTraffic feature is not the same thing as Sirius's "Travel Link" which basically only gives you nearby restaurants...gas stations...sports scores etc. Sometimes SiriusXM just calls the NavTraffic "Traffic" on their website pages......they're not very consistent. According to SiriusXM website, their NavTraffic feature is compatible only with Subaru's that
come with the built in integrated navigation unit.


Changing my thoughts / Travel Link

First up:

After playing with it a bit more it's not as bad as I had thought OR the update fixed some issues I had with it, I don't know. Either way, I can find my way around using the in-dash GPS and it works pretty well. It's not Garmin GPS good but I'd say it's good enough.

It does route me around traffic via SiriusXM's traffic and I even figured out how to find POIs in different cities so I'm OK with it. The one huge win for it is: No cables coming off my dash.

Travel Link:

From dealing with them in the past (about 10 years back) the traffic/weather services are a different division inside SiriusXM (may be the same, now).

Here's the pricing:

From looking at that page with my Subaru, it looks like SiriusXM Traffic + Travel Link are available for $5.99/mo.

Thanks for the Info

Thanks for the information. I've been considering a new vehicle and this is one of the features in all the new vehicles I have to do research on.


Brad Bishop wrote: looks like SiriusXM Traffic + Travel Link are available for $5.99/mo.

That works out to about $72/year for something you can get free from a Garmin device, or using Andriod Auto and a cell phone.

I'd pass.

I never get lost, but I do explore new territory every now and then.

New Map Update Available for Subaru

Portal to login and see user manual link below:
There is a new map update available for your vehicle you can download. By downloading and installing the new map update, you can get the most recent map in your vehicle.

To download the new map update, please click the button below or copy and paste the map update URL into your browser.
Go to Portal

Map Update URL:

Please refer the user manual at the above URL for instructions for downloading and installing the map update into your vehicle.

Thank you,
Subaru Map Update Portal Team.

We've been using our Garmin and Android Auto for our trips. However, I still suspect that the TomTom map database that we get for the Subaru is obsolete. Has anyone ever confirmed that?

Garmin Nuvi650 - Morehead City, NC

It Depends

Steve R. wrote:

We've been using our Garmin and Android Auto for our trips. However, I still suspect that the TomTom map database that we get for the Subaru is obsolete. Has anyone ever confirmed that?

That probably depends upon the contract that Subaru signed with TomTom.

For their stand-alone GPS units, TomTom updates the maps four times a year, and my personal experience with their units has shown them to generally be timely updates, but I have no idea how current their contract with Subaru requires them to be.

One comment that I have seen on a TomTom forum is that sometimes they have lagged when user input has conflicted with a government database, and they stayed with the government data until they had multiple user inputs.

- Tom -

XXL540, GO LIVE 1535, GO 620