Ford has been able to move a lot of their crappy Focus coupes and sedans with their Ford SYNC powered by Microsoft entertainment system, which does everything but let you forget you're driving a Focus. But, as we mentioned, Microsoft and Garmin have teamed up to provide systems for other automakers. The first car to get this treatment standard is the FWD Suzuki SX4 sport/crossover, which clocks in at under $16K (the AWD version is slightly higher than $16K). The new system, called TRIP, will offer Microsoft Network features such as real-time traffic, weather, local event listings, bluetooth integration, audible text messaging and up-to-date cheap gas finding. Our favorite available feature is the community website that will let all users input their own destinations, routes and POI and share them with others. An early picture of the system above, press release below.
2009 Suzuki SX4: FIRST CAR IN AMERICA UNDER $16,000 WITH STANDARD NAVIGATION
• BREA, Calif. (April 28, 2008) - Establishing an auto industry first, and packing even more appeal into its bold and stylish sport compact, American Suzuki Motor Corp. today announced the addition of a fully integrated standard navigation system to the 2009 Suzuki SX4. The company's offering marks the first time a new vehicle under $16,000 will include navigation as a standard feature. The innovative navigation system will be included as standard equipment on both the four-door SX4 Sport and front-wheel-drive version of the five-door SX4 Crossover, propelling the 2009 SX4 to the front of the compact segment as the personal technology leader.
• The Suzuki SX4's integrated navigation system is the result of a partnership with Garmin and is available with a variety of advanced Microsoft Network-enabled features, including real-time traffic, weather forecasts, local event listings and a gas station finder capable of locating the lowest priced fuel in town. To further customize the system to reflect its "Way of Life" brand attitude, Suzuki will add a number of lifestyle-oriented, Suzuki-recommended destinations and landmarks to the system. The locations include hip music venues, popular surf spots, interesting road trip attractions and other activity-focused destinations that will be clearly identified with a Suzuki "Way of Life" icon on the navigation screen.
• "Aside from improving an already popular vehicle, this navigation system provides a unique opportunity to further express the Suzuki 'Way of Life' brand spirit and directly respond to SX4 shoppers' unmet needs," said Mark Harano, president of American Suzuki Automotive Operations. "We know that our customers are vibrant and adventurous at heart, so we've gone beyond a typical navigation offering to develop a system capable of enhancing driver experiences and activating a passion for living life to the fullest. Navigation makes drivers feel more confident and in control, and our customized navigation system is the perfect fit for Suzuki owners' on-the-go attitude and daily routine."
Suzuki based its decision to include standard navigation on feedback from current SX4 owners regarding their most desired features in their next vehicle purchase. In addition to improving overall favorable impressions of the SX4, Suzuki research showed the addition of a navigation system had a positive "halo" effect on a range of driver perceptions, including significant increases in drivers' "feelings of control" and "feelings of safety."
Referred to as the Suzuki T.R.I.P. (Travel, Real-time traffic, Information and Play), the fully integrated system utilizes Navteq mapping software and includes a flip-up 4.3-inch touch screen display and Bluetooth hands-free calling technology that can receive and audibly play text messages. The system also comes preloaded with street maps that feature millions of points-of-interest, such as hotels, restaurants, gasoline stations and ATMs, and other Suzuki-recommended, brand-oriented destinations. A dedicated community Web site will be launched to support the sharing and downloading of user-generated recommendations for destinations and drive routes among Suzuki owners.
The touch screen navigation system included as standard equipment on the 2009 SX4 Sport and front-wheel-drive version of the five-door SX4 Crossover will come with a number of standard navigation features and millions of unique points-of-interest. Bluetooth capability and other enhanced Microsoft Network-enabled features of the system, including real-time traffic, local events, weather forecasts and a gas price finder, will be included as part of the SX4's upgraded trim package. The 2009 SX4 is scheduled to arrive in dealer showrooms this summer.