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Garmin Drive 52 Car GPS Navigator Review (Updated 2023)

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Are you looking for an easy-to-use car GPS navigator? Be it for long trips or daily commutes? The Drive 52 car GPS navigator could be your answer.

It is a basic navigation device that finds efficient routes from point A to point B. You can view the routes on its bright 5-inch display screen.

Its spoken turn-by-turn directions using recognizable names make the device popular among users of all ages. In addition, it includes driver alerts that make driving a safer experience.

Further, you can take well-planned trips using TripAdvisor traveler ratings and a national parks directory.

Overall, the Garmin Drive 52 car GPS navigator is a solid choice for its price point. So let us get started with our detailed review to understand if it is a suitable device for you.

Product Overview
ModelGarmin Drive 52
Dimension (W x H x D)5.5"W x 3.3"H x .8"D
Weight6.0 ounces
Display Dimension (W x H)4.4"W x 2.5"H, diag - 5.0”
Display TypeWQVGA color TFT with white backlight
Display Resolution480 x 272 pixels
BatteryRechargeable Lithium-Ion
Charging Temperature RangeFrom 0° to 45°C
Power InputVehicle power cableAC power - for home use
Radio Frequency/Protocol2.4 GHz Bluetooth
External Memory StoragemicroSD card - purchase separately
Operating Temperature RangeFrom -20° to 55°C
Internal Storage8 GB
Warranty1-year limited warranty on defects in materials and workmanship
Amazon Rating4.5 out of 5 (14, 034 global ratings)

Our Rating




Easy to Use

Touch Screen


Overall Rating: 4.1/5

About Garmin Drive 52 Car GPS Navigator

About Garmin Drive 52 Car GPS Navigator

Garmin has over 30 years of experience in the field of GPS navigation. They specialize in developing and marketing GPS-enabled products that make life in the outdoors easier. Their sports and outdoor recreation category includes products like handheld GPS devices, satellite communicators, and wearable maps.

The automotive category includes products for cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs, motorsports, and off-road. Under cars, you can find several models of GPS navigators and accessories like dash and backup cameras.

Other product categories available are wearables, marine, and aviation. Garmin also offers GPS and fitness trackers for kids.

Who is The Garmin Drive 52 Car GPS Navigator For?

If you are looking for a no-fuss and easy-to-use GPS navigator, the Drive 52 model could be the product for you. The navigator can make road trips fun and functional.

For example, you can find the most efficient routes from your source to your destination. You can find millions of shops, restaurants, and businesses with the help of preloaded Foursquare data. TripAdvisor traveler ratings will come in handy if you want to explore points of interest along your route.

If you are a history enthusiast, you can enjoy the navigator’s history database, complete with pictures and descriptions. And if you like spending time outdoors, you can explore national resources scattered across the country with Garmin’s national parks directory.

The navigator provides directions in a spoken turn-by-turn manner using recognizable store names and landmarks. This makes working with the device easier for even new technology users. It can make solo travel an enjoyable and secure experience.

You can buy the Drive 52 & Traffic model if you want a navigator for everyday commutes. The model includes a traffic cable with which you can access Garmin Traffic, a live traffic service. The traffic model is priced at $169.99.

So whether you are planning a long road trip or traveling short distances on a daily basis, the Drive 52 navigator can enhance your driving experience.

5 Important Factors We Tested the Product On

The Garmin Drive 52 GPS navigator was introduced in 2019. It is the smallest display device under the Garmin Drive series and one of the more economically priced ones. We have seen above what benefits the device offers; now, let us understand if the device’s performance is in line with the claims.

Here are five important factors we tested the Drive 52 GPS navigator on:

1. Design


One of the distinguishing features of the navigators under the Garmin Drive series is their display size. The Drive 52 model is the smallest in the series, with a display size of 5″ diagonally. The device’s dimensions are 5.5″ W x 3.3″ H x.8″ D. And its display dimensions are 4.4″ W x 2.5″ H.

The display type is WQVGA color TFT with white backlight, and the resolution is 480 x 272 pixels. This display type can be limiting, especially since most smartphones and tablets today have much better resolution.

You cannot expect the device to display crisp, clear images, but the map and route screens are decent. The white backlight and the small display size are helpful. You can also change the map perspective for better visibility.

From a hardware perspective, the package includes a vehicle suction cup mount. Mounting the device on the dashboard or windshield is straightforward. And the suction cup is sturdy enough to hold the device in place on rough terrain.

Overall, the GPS navigator has a decent design considering its price limit.

2. Battery

The Drive 52 model has a rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The expected battery life is up to an hour. This is the case with most of Garmin’s car GPS navigators.

The battery life can significantly vary depending on factors like usage and weather conditions. If your journey takes around 30 minutes or more, it is best to have the vehicle power cable with you.

To charge the navigator at home, you can use an AC-DC adapter by Garmin or one from a third party. Please note charging with a third-party adapter can take significantly 


3. Usability


While the battery is not one of the strongest aspects of the navigator, its usability surely is. The device is almost ready to use once you open the packaging.

You can charge the device using the AC-DC adapter or plug in the vehicle power cable before turning on the navigator. If you are charging the device, it would be best to do so in power-saving mode.

The navigator may take a few minutes to acquire GPS signals the first time around. A clear view of the sky can speed up the process.

The primary workflow of finding and saving locations can be accomplished in several ways. For example, you can type the place in the search bar, find an address, or search for a preloaded interest point using categories. The navigator can also make sense of geographic coordinates.

Overall, the device is easy to get started with. You do not have to be a technology expert in using the device. To make the most of the navigator, though, we recommend spending some time understanding the different features and customization options.

4. Performance

The Garmin Drive 52 includes preloaded maps for the US, Canada, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas. You can get map updates using Garmin Express.

The directions provided are easy to understand with Garmin Real Directions. The spoken turn-by-turn directions use well-known buildings, shops, and landmark names. It saves you the hassle of looking up complicated street names.

The Drive 52 and Traffic model offers real-time traffic updates with the Garmin Drive app. This can help you avoid congested routes and reach your destination via the best possible route.

The “check-up ahead” feature is useful when planning long trips. You can check for rest stops, fuel stations, and restaurants along your route.

The navigator offers driver alerts for route events like sharp curves, school zones, and speed camera warnings. These alerts do work, but they are limited to specific regions. We did find reviews wherein the navigator did not recognize school zones.

Overall, in terms of navigation, we found the route suggestions to be accurate.

5. Features

Image Source: autobild.de

Garmin navigators are powered by Here maps. One of the unique features of these navigators is that they check for parking options near your destination. You can get detailed information like the likelihood of parking spots, accepted payment methods, and prices.

You can further search for parking information near a specific location of your choice. The feature saves you the hassle and time of finding a parking spot.

Another notable feature is the trip planner. You can create and save trips in advance. You can look for attractions, hotels, and restaurants on your route. You can further customize the route by adding shaping points and order stops.

If you like going on well-planned trips or are traveling alone, the feature can offer a sense of security.

What Sets The Product Apart From Competitors?

What Sets the Product Apart from Competitors?

Several navigation features set the Drive 52 model apart from competitors. For example, Garmin Real Directions makes it easy to understand navigation instructions. For example, the instruction would be ‘Turn right after Casey’s.’

Whether you are searching for a new business, restaurant, or shop, the preloaded Foursquare data makes finding places easier.

Devices that are preloaded with maps for North America include a National Parks directory in the “Where to” section of the navigation so that you can search for National Parks straightaway. This will provide you with a list of parks, with the nearest park at the top.

The navigator can also help you find amenities inside the park. For example, it can point you in the direction of the parking lot, camping area, or visitor center.

Should You Purchase The Product?

If you are looking for an easy-to-install and use basic GPS navigator, then the Drive 52 could be a good purchase. The navigator gets the job done. It works well for people who are not technologically inclined.

If you need a navigator for daily commutes, then opt for the Traffic model, as it is equipped with the live traffic feature, and the traffic cable comes with the box.

If you are looking for more user-friendly features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, and hands-free calling, you can explore other GPS navigators by Garmin.


  • The navigator is easy to get started with.
  • Garmin Real Directions offers spoken turn-by-turn directions.
  • You can easily find places by name using the preloaded Foursquare data.
  • Driver alerts help encourage safer driving practices.
  • You can view TripAdvisor ratings for points of interest along the way.
  • It includes a history database and a national parks directory.


  • The screen resolution is lower than most Garmin navigators.
  • It is a pretty basic GPS navigation device.
  • The battery life usually does not last up to an hour.


The Garmin Drive 52 model is originally priced at $149.99. At the time of writing, though, the device was available at a discounted price of $99.99 on Garmin’s website as well as third-party platforms.

If you are interested in the Drive 52 & Traffic model, it is priced at $169.99.

These devices are typically preloaded with detailed maps of North America. However, if you need maps for new regions like Europe or South America, you must buy them separately for $99.99.


Does the Drive 52 model need Wi-Fi?

No, the Drive 52 model does not support Wi-Fi connectivity. However, you can install updates by connecting to a computer device.

Does Garmin Drive 52 have a backup camera?

The Drive 52 navigator is compatible with a backup camera, but you must buy the camera separately.

Does the Drive 52 model have a memory card slot?

Yes, the Drive 52 model has a memory card slot. It supports microSD memory cards from 4 to 32 GB.

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