Honda's New Navigation System: First Look

Making its debut on the 2011 Honda Odyssey is the company’s upgraded navigation system. The hard-drive-based unit packs an 8-inch high-resolution screen, live traffic with a lifetime subscription, and voice commands that make it quite a few steps better than the outdated system adorning current Hondas.

The company wouldn’t reveal which other vehicles will receive the upgraded unit in the future. Considering the 2011 Honda CR-Z and Accord still feature the current system, we’d guess the next model to get it will be the redesigned Civic, which will go on sale early in 2011.

Below we show you some of the new screens and detail the improvements.
While I didn’t get to test routing on the navigation system, I did drive for about an hour with the map displayed. The resolution is quite crisp, but the maps still feature rather lifeless colors and shapes to distinguish water, roads and landmarks. Luckily, road names – arguably the most important objects on the screen – are quite clear.

Using voice commands, you can input destinations such as “nearest Starbucks” into the system.
Live traffic is delivered by FM signals instead of satellite as in other systems I’ve tested. The new method is still, well, new, so not all areas will have it active at launch. However, Honda says it’s available in many large metropolitan areas like Chicago and Los Angeles. A lifetime subscription is included, which is a relief to those who get tied up with hefty fees after a trial ends and sometimes requires adding satellite radio, too.
A Zagat Guide of restaurants and a scenic-route option are nice extras but not really make-or-break features.


The music display for the navigation system is also a huge improvement. Menu screens look sharp and modern versus the jagged, silver palette of the current system. You can access digital music via a USB port for either iPods or USB flash drives. A Bluetooth streaming audio feature is available. The system also has a 15GB hard drive for music storage, but it can only copy music from consumer-grade CDs, not burned CDs or flash drives unfortunately.

You also can use voice commands for the audio system, which is similar to Ford’s Sync system. A variety of commands can control the same function like saying “Radio 97.1 FM” or “97.1 FM” to change the radio station or “Play song ‘Just Breathe’ ” or “Play ‘Just Breathe’ ” to change tracks. 


Honda uses the popular Gracenote system to recognize artist information, which owners can update via the USB input and logging into a Honda owner’s website.

You can also upload photos via the USB port and create wallpaper for menu and welcome screens.

The navigation system is a $2,000 price premium on the Odyssey, which is right in line with past Honda pricing and the competition. I would say this latest offering puts Honda near the top of the competition, too. Nissan and Infiniti’s system is another favorite, as are the upgraded units in newer GM and Ford models. 
By David Thomas | September 8, 2010 | Comments (15)


These look great! No more getting lost again!


Does anyone know it this system will be supproted in Europe (ie, downloading the europe maps that were unavailable for the odyssey in the past)?

Inferior Honda Navigation Systems

I would never again buy a Honda with their nav system. Poor data, clumsy technology. Way overpriced. Better to get a cheap aftermarket GPS that works. Honda customer service blames their data supplier NavTeq, even their dealer for misrepresenting the quality (poor) of the GPS


i wouldn't ever buy a car WITHOUT a factory installed GPS.....unless you think a GPS is supposed to be the same as a PC - the Honda unit is perfect for 99.9927% of the drivers out there


I bought a 2011 CR-V new
9-3-11. The DVD provided is dated 2009. Honda now will NOT provide the new software that came out apparently 10-1. The dealer said the software I would get with the the car is current. The DVD was already in the dash when I took deliver and I truckerd the dealer. Watch the date on the DVD.

There's a huge difference among the Nav systems across a model range even if they are all "new" 2011 or 2012 models. The Nav system detailed above is very different than the one in your CR-V. It's available now in the new Civic, Pilot and Odyssey. It will likely be in the redesigned 2012 CR-V that will be revealed Nov. 16.

BTW this isn't just Honda. We've seen similar differences from Chrysler, Ford, Hyundai etc.

r anderson

Never buy honda nav system. Its old technology, very awkward to use....not intuitive.and a garmin 100% better...ric

Earl Smith

In using the system for the past few days, I have already discovered that in some cases, street names must be entered in an odd fashion ... such as entering West and searching all to find the correct West Street. Further, the system locked me out of some actual physical street numbers ... no way around it. To find my destination, I have to go to the general area and hunt from there. I have several different GPS systems. This is not all bad, but functionally one of the worst.


Actually you don't need to enter "east" or "west" on the Honda navigation to find an address. If the street name you entered has an east or west prefix, you will be given the chance to select that option before the destination is mapped. A lot of the simple problems that people have with this system is just user error. Aftermarket GPS systems do not give you an option for hands-free operation like the Honda system and the Honda GPS does not block your windshield or clutter your car with wires and suction cups. If you take a little time to read the manual and learn how the system works you will be rewarded with years of safe and effective use.

Robert Smith

Honda Odyssey Touring 2011, new August 2012, nav data old,no updates, nav data Company (toll free) says various issues and no updates until late in 2013. This is not acceptable, sub standard, where is the Honda Standard?


Don't waste your time or money on the nav system. They are worthless and very expensive. My phone nav system works a hundred times better. Feel like I got ripped off by Honda.

Lawrence J. Doorn

I have a 2012 Odyssey with the new Navi system.The time on my clock changes at the wrong location.I have tried to get the dealer and Honda of America tech center to fix it and they refuse to do so, saying that this is common. My older Navi system worked just fine. Anything I can do? Next time, Garmin here I come!


System refused to let me enter an ordinary street address and sometimes name. These addresses were there before GPS was invented. I am told I need to pay for an upgrade.
Honda should recall all these worthless GPS units and replace them with ones that work.

Bob Sheehy

I have a 2012 Honda Civic. The GPS has never really worked correctly. When you type in a place (example: like Starbucks in Austin TX, it will try and take you to one in Ohio). The place is not relevant, as it reacts the same for all names. Anyone have any sight?

Donna Jones

Navigation system in my honda odyessy works very well and I love how voice repeats and recalls directions and I have never had any problems even driving on I75 and I never expect the dealership to be responsible for the DVD as I would not expect them to upgrade my tires thanks honda!

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