Suzuki has never had its own GPS navigation. In the past, Suzuki’s systems have been detachable Garmin units—which pop up through a bin in the top of the center console, as in the SX4 shown above. The advantage of this is that it’s cheap, and you can use the detachable nav unit in any other car. The disadvantage of this, of course, is that it’s cheap; when almost all of its competition has in-dash units, the Suzuki system feels like what it is—a cheap stopgap. And with navigation systems being demanded by the most finicky of consumers, it’s a problem for Suzuki.
But when you’re a small company like Suzuki and you can’t develop your own factory navigation system, what do you do? You enlist the help of Garmin, as you’ve always done, to provide you with something for the inside of your car that doesn’t look like it was lashed to the windshield of a 1995 Saturn. The company is developing a comprehensive infotainment system for 2013 Suzuki vehicles, one that will cover navigation, audio, Bluetooth connectivity, backup cameras and voice control.
“We’re pleased to extend our cooperation with Suzuki Motor Corporation by providing our fully integrated infotainment platform that goes beyond GPS navigation,” said Matt Munn, Garmin’s managing director for the OEM division. “By leveraging our long-standing experience in developing navigation software, user interfaces and hardware design, we created an integrated system that is easy to use and makes driving more enjoyable.”
It’s a big step in a couple directions for the navigation company and a leap for Suzuki’s in-car technology, which formerly had been on par with taxicabs. Garmin will design and build the hardware, which will include a 6.1-inch touchscreen display, real-time traffic updates, lane guidance and maps downloadable to an SD card. On the audio front, USB, auxiliary input, satellite radio, and Bluetooth audio via steering wheel controls are all included. And like newer Honda products, it will even include Pandora radio.