By Gideon V. – Sonic Electronix Editor

The last time I attempted to drive while fumbling through a paper map, not only did I nearly crash my vehicle, but I ended up getting lost. I came to the realization that a modern vehicle is not complete without GPS navigation. The power of in-dash GPS navigation is that you always know where you’re at and where you’re headed. No more wasting gas money or time while driving around in circles. As I feasted my eyes on the brand new JVC KW-NT1 navigation system, I couldn’t wait to see it in action. This is a spectacular CD/MP3/DVD receiver with navigation, and it’s all controlled through a 6.1” LCD touch screen.

As I drove down the road, the voice feature told me to “make a right turn onto 1st street in 200 feet.” JVC calls this text-to-speech technology. This allows the driver to rely on street signs rather than the GPS screen in order to read the name of the upcoming street. Most GPS navigation systems do not read off the actual street name, so they will only tell you to “make a right turn in 200 feet.” It is much safer to use the KW-NT1 because it keeps your eyes on the road as you hear the voice prompt indicate the approaching turn-off.

This navigation system also has a speed limit display feature. On some highways the signs are so sporadic that it’s easy to forget the speed limit. These “speed traps” can cost you if you’re unaware of the speed limit. It is also helpful if you are the type of person who doesn’t even notice the signs. Or perhaps you’re like me and you don’t believe in self-incrimination, so you avoid looking at the speed limit sign so that you have an alibi if you are pulled over. Whatever the case may be, the KW-NT1’s speed limit display provides a solution to overlooked speed limit signs. Especially as you drive through speed traps. It is great to have a reminder that tells you the speed limit is only 35 MPH despite the fact that you are driving on an open country highway that is void of any residential or commercial life.

As far as features go, this navigation unit has it all. This unit allows you to make and receive hands-free phone calls using the built-in Bluetooth. When I called people, they said they could hear me clearly through the external microphone, and I was able to hear them through the speakers without any hiss or whistling sounds. The double DIN touchscreen makes dialing easy, and the system responds quickly and accurately to phonebook entries.

If you are fortunate enough to own an iPhone or an iPod, you will love how the JVC-KSU29 allows you to control both through the stereo. This saves you from hassling with discs while driving. With this cable adapter, you can control your playlists through the stereo controls. It also charges most iPods, but the iPhone and certain newer iPods require an additional cable, the Scosche PassPORT. The unit is truly versatile, as it also plays media from SD cards or USBs.

This unit makes your drive safer and more entertaining. I haven’t had time to install the steering wheel adapter yet, which will enable the stereo controls on the steering wheel. That measn no more reaching down towards the stereo while driving. That will only make this great unit even safer to use.