There’s a mysterious lid atop Gwendolyn’s center stack, easily openable, covering nothing of significance. The manual says it’s a storage bin, and does not elaborate further, except to say that you shouldn’t operate it while actually driving. What it is, of course, is the housing for the factory navigation system, which wasn’t ready in time for the beginning of the 2000 model year, and I am loath to fish a nav unit out of a 2001 model and shove it into the little covered box. For one thing, it’s likely to cost me a ton of money, and I’m already spending a ton of money sprucing her up for the summer and fixing everything that looks fixable. For another, these old-style nav systems run off CDs (occasionally DVDs) that are obsolete about twenty minutes after you open the package. One of those new satellite-based systems, then? Maybe. Or maybe not:
It takes carmakers time to spec, design, test, manufacture, fit, ship and sell new devices never mind clearing the whole schmeer with legal. Portable GPS manufacturers have fewer technical hurdles and a MUCH smaller bureaucracy. In fact, products from companies like Garmin, Michelin, Maxtech and TomTom (not to mention phone and PDA-based sat-navery) are making brand new in-car systems obsolete before they’re even launched.
So imagine how far behind they’d leave a seven-year-old contraption that hides under a hatch. I think I can do without. (The photo above was swiped from Edmunds.com; it’s actually a shot of the nav system from a 2001 I30.)