When navigation systems started showing up in the center stacks of luxury vehicles, the new (at the time) tech typically would set owners back a couple grand or more (and still does). As we gear up for 2010, mapping tech is everywhere from the most expensive luxury sleds to economical hatchbacks, but there is still one problem. If you want an LCD screen with navigation capability, the option will still set you back from over $1,000 to above and beyond $2,000 in most cases. The only exception is Suzuki, which includes its TRIP nav system as standard equipment on the sub-$20k SX4.

Nissan is looking to change the navi pricing paradigm by offering a $400 navigation system in some of its high volume 2010 MY products. That's $400, or the same price as Ford's LCD-less SYNC system. Or less than half the price of most options available in vehicles today. The nav system, which was developed by Nissan and Bosch, gives directions, integrates your tunes with USB and Aux inputs and has integrated Bluetooth connectivity for hands-free calling. The low cost system also connects with a backup camera and can help you save money by pointing out the route that will cost you the least fuel.

The Detroit News reviewed the nav system in 2010 Nissan Sentra and came away impressed with its overall operation, though the smallish five-inch LCD screen was reportedly a bit hard to read at times. We're hoping low cost navvies are here to stay, and with the ultra-competitive nature of the auto industry, we're thinking any automaker that doesn't follow Nissan's lead will be at a major competitive disadvantage.

[Source: The Detroit News]