Satnavs pretty much do the same thing – get you to where you want to go (most of the time). But Vexia claims it has a satnav that will save you petrol and possibly save the planet!
The Vexia 480 UK satnav aims to save CO2 and fuel by getting you to drive in the most fuel efficient way to your destination. There are two fuel-saving satnavs in the range, the 380 and the the 480 with a larger 4.3in display (which is tested here).
It works pretty much as all satnavs do, but in its database is a list of over 9,000 vehicles from 2001 to 2009. But if you don’t have one of these cars you can always enter a custom model. (more on that later).
If you happen to have the right car, then the satnav will tell you the most appropriate time to change gear when speeding up or slowing down. It will also tell you a distance in yards or seconds and tell you when you are braking too hard to accelerating too fast.
It also sports a feature called Econav Reports, which tells you how much fuel you have saved over time. This may be more appropriate to use if you commute everyday and want to compare traveling different routes at different times of the day.
Outside of the environmentally-friend features, there is the usual lane guidance, text to speech for reading out road numbers, speed camera warnings as well as bike and pedestrian modes.
Also on the unit is a world clock, a calculator and an ambient light sensor, which sometimes works OK, but can be a hit and miss affair.
The menus are relatively easy to navigate. Entering in a postcode blanks out numbers and letters that are irrelevant to your post code, making typing on a destination faster. It is also smart enough to switch form number mode to letter mode and back again.
When using the device when driving, the screen is clear to view and automatically zooms in when approaching a junction. You can flip eco information between a side bar and full screen. In full screen mode, a gear indicator takes up the screen alongside the current speed limit, speed camera warnings, brake and accelerator icons on the left. There is also an indicator showing you how green your driving is. Green for OK, orange for a warning and red for when you are doing a Jeremy Clarkson impression.
On our test unit, the English voice was clear and easy to follow with the reading out of road numbers particularly well done. It appeared to find the best route and we considered ourselves fortunate that the satnav didn’t guide us the wrong way a one-way street or into a river. This can happen on other satnavs. Also of note are the replicated road signs which look pretty much like the road signs that are for real.
Overall, while it will tell you that you are braking too fast or driving in the wrong gear, with a bit of common sense you could do that yourself without shelling out £180. There also seems to be a lack of European maps on this version, which makes the unit a tad expensive when compared to other satnavs. (Euro maps come at a £30 premium).
For around the same price you can get a TomTom Go 550 Live which gives you up-to-date traffic information (if you avoid them you save fuel guys!!!) and somewhere to find cheap fuel on route.