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I just bought a 2001 Prius which does not have a Nav system. Can I add one to it? If so, where would you recommend I get one and have it installed?

Thanks.
 

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siwash said:
I just bought a 2001 Prius which does not have a Nav system. Can I add one to it? If so, where would you recommend I get one and have it installed?

Thanks.
Sadly, there's about $4000 worth of missing parts for the factory system. A few people have gotten the parts from a junkyard/scrapyard, and took the time to install it, but...
(If you want to read the posts on how it was done, I can dig those up, but... They're on the Prius_Technical_Stuff yahoogroup somewhere...)

You can get an aftermarket Pioneer unit that'll work with your display, but again it could get pricy:
http://www.coastaletech.com/viewtech.htm
http://www.coastaletech.com/nav.htm

The UK people seem to like the TomTom Go portable nav unit. You might want to look into other portable systems as well.
 

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I do enough driving to unfamiliar parts that I wanted a nav system in the car... I had a little Garmin portable unit but the problems I found with it was:
1) Screen too tiny (and mine was monochrome, so impossible to read quickly at a glance, especially at small scales, which basically look like a big mass of black lines- the color screens solve this, but they're still tiny compared to the big Prius MFD).
2) Every time I wanted to use it, I'd have to connect the power cords and install it, and then when I left the car, unless I was at home in the garage, I'd have to disconnect it and take it with me or tuck it away out of sight.. Otherwise, leaving a unit easily visible is just an invitation to theft..
2a) Related to the above, I've got a Classic Prius, and the "contoured" dash with slanted vents, etc simple provides no easy and stable place to attach the typical vent-mount brackets (and the most convenient location, the driver's side vent beside the MFD, besides having the aforementioned slanted vanes, also happens to be right in front of the shift lever), so you need to mount to the windshield (visibility problems) or on top of the dash (good compromise, but I personally can't stand the aesthetics of a separate "pod" that is so obviously non-OEM)..
3) The little portable units simply do not have the same memory and POI capacity as a DVD-based system- the smaller units have a similarly small memory capacity, so you have to manually load up small sections of maps of the locations you plan on travelling to; the new units can take large memory cards/microdrives, but even then, the total mapset size (typically 2 CD-ROMs, or a 4.7 Gb DVD) is smaller than then newest 2-disk, dual-layer DVD navs (a total of close to 18 GB of map and POI, covering all of North America).

On the plus-side for the portable units- the actual GPS hardware is usually much better and can be used as a standalone GPS (vs. the very non-portable DIN sized car units, which generally only have a very basic GPS receiver), and the software and speed is often much better than many of the car-based units.. From my point of view however, as long as the usage is reasonably straight forward, and it gets me to my destination, speed and software features are not a big issue.. Portable, standalone operation is not a big factor either as I've also got a small handheld GPS for hiking, etc.

Anyways, I really wanted an integrated unit that I didn't have to install/remove and load maps on, so my choice absolutely had to be an in-car unit.. My options were:
1) Salvaged nav + wiring harness from a wrecked Prius
2) In-dash unit with built-in screen
3) Under-seat unit integrated into MFD
4) Under-seat unit with external screen

There's also the aforementioned $4000 option of buying all the missing factory parts, but that's way out of the question.. I looked around for a while, but couldn't find any salvaged units. The in-dash with screen was actually a top runner for a bit, but I'd have to give up the CD-changer which I didn't really want to do, and I also had doubts about the long term mechanical reliability of the auto open/close screen- I've heard many stories of mechanisms that break or jam in short order, so I began exploring #3 and #4 above..

The integration into the MFD is the ultimate seamless installation, but the Coastal Viewtech solution was a complete non-starter because of timing/delivery issues with the company, in addition, it involves removing the MFD and shipping it down to Coastal for a modification- this, combined with the first factor creates the potential that I'd be without my MFD for who knows how long.. It's also IMO, an overpriced solution (as are all the current A/V input boxes, but it's a seller's market right now- until there's more competition, prices will stay high).. There's still the option of the Toyota back-up camera conversion box and the RGB conversion mod that was pioneered by a couple of PriusChat members, and I'm actually still investigating this for a future mod..

What I ended up with though is the 4th option- the underseat nav with an external screen.. As with the portable nav option, the problem with this option is finding a suitable mounting location for the screen.. Things are a bit better in the HSD Prius with it's straighter lines, but it's virtually impossible to find a place in the Classic that doesn't block one thing or the other..

That is, until I found the near perfect solution: the rear-view mirror monitor!! This is a replacement rear-view mirror with a partially silvered mirror and an LCD integrated into the mirror. These are available with pretty much any screen size you want- a tiny little 2.5 screen up to a monster 9" screen.. I opted for a mirror with a 6.5" diagonal screen, which is a bit smaller than the MFD, but still plenty big. Ordered direct from the Asian supplier for under $100, including a waterproof color back-up camera (which I have not installed yet). As I said, it's only near-perfect, not 100% perfect, but it's quite usable- in the rear-view mirror position, the nav screen is easily accessible at a glance, and it doesn't take much to get used to the mirrored display so you can selectively look at the reflection out the back or the map. Brightness is the one thing that is somewhat of an issue- you have to turn the brightness all the way down at night, and keep it about mid-way up during the day, so I'm thinking about a photo-cell mod for the display to automatically set the brightness based on ambient light levels. The nice thing though is that the partially-silvered mirror is actually a perfect driving mirror- sufficient brightness for driving both day and night, but low enough that at night, you don't get blinded by glare from the car behind you- there's no day/night lever or photochromic mode needed, the partially silvered mirror does a wonderful job in both night and day..

For the actual nav unit, I chose a refurbished Pioneer unit- $400, plus another $100 for the external monitor adapter and the remote-control sensor; all told I paid less than $600 US, which is comparable to what you'd pay for a high-end standalone GPS unit. I also bought the steering-wheel remote (not really necessary as the steering remote only has zoom, map mode and voice command buttons, but the full-sized remote is, well, full-sized and you really don't want to have to hunt through the thousands of buttons while you're driving).. Installation was reasonably easy, and the result is as close to an OEM-integrated solution as you can get for the cost and effort..
 

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I use to have a Lawrence Automotive IWAY 500C. It was great! Nice size screen, and it had a 20gb hard drive (10gb for data and 10gb for music). There was three different views you could use when you were using it. The regular view, a view where north is aways on top of the screen and a 3D view. Just make sure you bring it in with you when you leave your car. If you don't then you can also say that you USE to have one.
 

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It also had a map of the whole world on it but only names for streets in the US...
 

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Yep, and that was one of my major reasons why I didn't want a portable unit- you can't just leave them on the dash or they get stolen; you always have to disconnect them and then either hide them somewhere or take them with you.. This becomes a major hassle very quickly.

Sure, in-dash or under-seat units can also be stolen, but it takes more time and effort vs. just breaking a window, reaching in and running..
 

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Garmin's 2610 is a nice unit that talks and auto-routes. Uses built-in memory and not a mechanical hard drive. Get a 2 gig Compact Flash card and you can install all of the U.S with their City Select software. You also have the abilty to use their Topo series maps as well.

I did notice that there is some talk that tinted windows with metallic film can impede signal reception so an external antenna may be needed.

None of the external GPS units will interface as well as the Option 6 unit with the car though.
 

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Nav unit

I picked up the Garmin Quest in June. It has a fairly small, but very readable screen, voice prompts and good re-calculation. The unit was around $450, I think. I mounted the DC adapter connection behind the steering wheel on the column with velcro, and it works pretty well. I got a DC plug extension and stuffed the connnections behind the plastic trim below the stereo and storage bin. It could be a little cleaner, but I also have the XM Roady mounted with Velcro on that same plastic trim.

Everything works well, and I do enjoy the nav setup, my first.
 

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Garmin has some very nice portable auto GPS systems now. And their capacity for POIs is just as good or even beter than factory nav systems.

Garmin's c320, 330 and 340 are probably your best bet. Suction cup mount is quick to install and remove. A very small unit relative to its usefulness. The GPS antenna is internal. Screen visibility shouldn't be an issue if you keep it mounted low enough on the windshield. They have touchscreen controls and one wire operation to your standard 12v socket. The 330 and 340 also do not require downloading maps from a computer. They come preloaded (the only way I would get a GPS system). The Quest2 also comes preloaded, if you want a handheld more portable more general purpose nav system.

I don't believe that Garmin currently promotes the dash vent mounting of any of their units, and prefer to suction cup mount them.

I wouldn't just wholesale eliminate any aftermarket GPS systems. Some very nice ones are out there it is just a matter of doing some product research before buying.
 
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