Garmin RV 895 Is a GPS Navigator That Tackles a Niche Google Maps Keeps Ignoring

Garmin's GPS navigator 6 photos
Photo: Bogdan Popa/autoevolution/Garmin
Garmin RV 895Garmin RV 895Garmin RV 895Garmin RV 895Garmin RV 895
The skyrocketing adoption of mobile navigation apps, including Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps, is seen by many as the final nail in the coffin of GPS navigators.
Truth be told, using a navigation app is a lot more convenient, given most people already have a phone in their pockets. GPS navigators not only eat up extra space on the dashboard but also come with features that hardly match the capabilities of a mobile app.

The easiest way to look at the competition in this space is to analyze both sides' capabilities when it comes to traffic data. A mobile navigation solution, such as Google Maps, can download traffic information in real-time and therefore provide customers with live conditions as they drive. GPS navigators lack such features unless they connect to a companion mobile app, eventually pulling the data from smartphones as well. Few come with Internet access for traffic data.

Despite the excellent navigation system, the most popular names in this market, including Google Maps, Waze, and Apple Maps, are specifically focused on passenger cars. As such, using them in a different vehicle is a big no-no, as their routing instructions wouldn’t be suitable for RVs, motorhomes, trucks, or lorries.

Garmin is trying to fill the gap with a dedicated lineup of GPS navigators aimed at RVs. The so-called RV 895 is a mid-range product whose purpose is to offer a solid feature lineup without aiming for a hefty price tag.

Garmin RV 895
Photo: Garmin
The device packs an 8-inch touch display that can be used in both portrait and landscape modes. Its dimensions are large enough to make the navigation experience fairly convenient, so the navigation screen includes everything from the map, speed limits, and next turn information to lane guidance, the current speed, and the ETA.

The device tips the scales at 450 grams, but this doesn’t matter too much anyway because once you install it on the windshield, you only interact with it by touching the screen. microSD card support is also available if you need more space than the built-in 32GB internal storage, and so is a lithium-ion battery that can provide extra juice for up to 2 hours per charge.

Garmin has also integrated voice control to let drivers access certain features without taking their eyes off the screen. In addition, because smartphone notifications and live traffic conditions are a must these days, Garmin developed mobile connectivity specifically with this goal in mind. Once the GPS navigator is paired with a phone via the Garmin Drive app, it can pull extra information, such as notifications, live services for traffic, and weather forecasts.

The navigation feature lineup includes both essential and premium options. For example, the routing model takes into account the RV dimensions to make sure the vehicle always fits the recommended roads. Additionally, RV 895 offers lane assist, speed limit indicator, and driver alerts for sharp curves, school zones, red lights, and speed camera warnings.

The device packs plenty of RV-specific capabilities, given it was created with this vehicle category in mind. As such, it looks for road elevation and speed limit changes, while also providing easy access to a large database of RV parks and services. Garmin also promises state border notices, sunrise and sunset times, as well as road trip routes features for what the company describes as "more adventurous trips or scenic roads." This is indeed a pretty cool feature when going on a road trip, as finding the fastest route to a destination is no longer a priority.

Garmin RV 895
Photo: Garmin
One very important feature concerns GPX file support. Thanks to this capability, Garmin's GPS navigator lets users pair the device with Garmin Drive and then import and share routes using GPX files. As such, you can import routes suggested by others or share your own with the large RV communities that you can find online.

Garmin knows that map updates are critical for a GPS navigator. As I said earlier, this is actually a major shortcoming of using a dedicated GPS navigation unit versus the likes of Google Maps. However, Garmin's RV 895 packs Wi-Fi support for easy updates without using a computer. The pre-loaded maps include Most of North America.

Ultimately, if you're looking for a solid RV navigator that doesn’t cost a fortune, Garmin's RV 895 is, without a doubt, worth checking out. Buyers in the United States can get it for $700, and for extra capabilities, they can also get a Garmin backup camera for easy parking. The GPS navigator comes with a dedicated port to connect a camera, as well as support for dashcams.

The box includes the GPS navigator, a vehicle suction cup with a powered magnetic mount, a screw-down mount, a ball adapter with an AMPS plate, a vehicle power cable, and a USB cable. Additional maps can be downloaded on the microSD card and then uploaded to the RV navigator.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
Bogdan Popa profile photo

Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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