Garmin DriveSmart 86 Review – The Best Car GPS Navigator

Garmin DriveSmart 86 Review - The Best Car GPS Navigator

Our Verdict:

The Garmin DriveSmart 86 is a very capable GPS gadget with many useful in-built functions. In addition to its high price and lack of unique features, this option seems unnecessary when weighed against the mapping features available on a smartphone.

Garmin drivesmart™ 86, 8-inch car gps navigator Car GPS

The Pros

  • Split-screen views and complicated intersections work well on a large screen.
  • Detailed and easy-to-follow maps.
  • Features with strong ties
  • Use with Alexa
  • Real-time traffic updates and gas prices Reliable navigating

The Cons

  • Size constraints need strategic placement.
  • The voice commands on Alexa might need some work.

It’s easy to think of the Garmin DriveSmart 86 as the type of gadget you’d swiftly trash. A specialized satellite navigation system was a lifesaver back when paper maps weren’t an option. Several years have passed, and those times are long gone. Due to the prevalence of smartphones and the strength of navigation applications from companies like Google and Apple, the ordinary automobile user no longer needs a separate device to figure out where to go.

Despite this, Garmin has produced the DriveSmart 86 to the best of its abilities. This handheld gps unit has a ton of extras, making it more than simply a navigational aid. Despite its plethora of convenient features—including an 8-inch display, Alexa integration, hands-free operation, and traffic update data—the gadget seems unnecessary.

how to connect the DriveSmart gps 86

To connect your Garmin DriveSmart GPS 86, follow these steps:

  1. Power On: Turn on your Garmin DriveSmart GPS 86 by pressing and holding the power button until it boots up.

  2. Enable Bluetooth: Go to the settings on your GPS device and navigate to the Bluetooth menu. Ensure that Bluetooth is turned on.

  3. Pairing with Smartphone: On your smartphone, go to the Bluetooth settings and enable Bluetooth. Search for available devices and select your Garmin DriveSmart GPS 86 from the list of devices.

  4. Follow On-Screen Instructions: Your Garmin GPS device will display a pairing request. Confirm the pairing process by accepting the request on both your smartphone and the GPS device.

  5. Complete Pairing: Once the pairing process is successful, you’ll receive a confirmation message on both devices. Your Garmin DriveSmart GPS 86 is now connected to your smartphone via Bluetooth.

Remember, a stable Bluetooth connection allows your GPS device to access live traffic, weather updates, and other connected services. Follow these steps carefully for a seamless connection between your Garmin DriveSmart GPS 86 and your smartphone.

garmin drivesmart™ 86 Features – What is New?

Important data and map details are shown on this 6 GPS navigator’s brilliant, high-resolution maps and Garmin voice edge-to-edge touchscreen. Thanks to the hands-free calling capabilities of your compatible Bluetooth-enabled smartphone and the helpful Garmin maps and Garmin voice assist aid, you may easily ask for directions to anywhere you’d want to travel.

The United States, Mexico, Canada, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, and the Bahamas are all included in the map coverage and road trip-ready coverage. The available features on the road include the HISTORY database of significant locations, a directory of U.S. national parks, traveler evaluations from Tripadvisor, and millions of points of interest from Foursquare. A Wi-Fi connection enables simple offline maps and software upgrades.

Driver alerts notify you of abrupt turns, speed changes, railroad crossings, and more to improve safety and situational awareness on the road. Not everywhere has the option to get alerts before approaching a red light or speed camera. With Alexa already installed, you can safely enjoy music, audiobooks, the news, and more without taking your focus off the road.

The Wearable4U Power Bank, with the wall and car USB charging adapters, will ensure that your gadget never runs out of juice.

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The Garmin DriveSmart 86 is a GPS navigator that will make your trips easier. You can quickly get where you need to go with the help of Garmin’s voice-assisted navigation. The clear 8-inch dual-orientation display and up-to-date maps of North America guide the trip, warning of upcoming speed changes and possible dangers. TripAdvisor reviews, a list of U.S. national parks, and a database of historical landmarks may all help you plan the perfect road trip.

If you have a smartphone compatible with the Garmin Drive app, you can see real time information on traffic updates, gas prices, parking, the weather, and live traffic cameras right on your screen. With Alexa Preinstalled (Use this feature at your own risk; drivers should always pay attention to the road). Using voice commands and the Garmin Drive app on your compatible phone, you can play music, listen to audiobooks, get the news, and more without taking your hands off the wheel. gps unit receiver with a 6″ display. Calling without holding the phone. Integrated Alexa driver warnings are perfect for long car rides.

This 8-inch GPS device has a crisp high-resolution map and Garmin, edge-to-edge touchscreen that displays information well in either landscape or portrait orientation.

Are you looking for a way? Put in a request. It will take you there when you tell Garmin DriveSmart where you want to go.

Garmin drivesmart™ 86

Garmin DriveSmart 86



You can avoid live traffic and identify faster alternate routes in real time if you have a Bluetooth and GPS-abled smartphone running the Garmin Drive app. Check out the animated radar and storm warnings in addition to the predictions, present conditions, and temperature and humidity readings.

The Garmin Drive app includes real-time traffic cameras and, in certain cases, real time parking information. Check out for more information on the areas covered, but know that most city centers have access to parking data.

Driver alerts notify you of abrupt turns, speed limit changes, railroad crossings, and more to improve safety and situational awareness on the road. Not everywhere has the option to get alerts before approaching a red light or speed camera.

Check out the reviews left by other travelers on hotels, restaurants, and sights along your journey and at your destination on Tripadvisor.

Learn about and appreciate some of the most valuable American natural assets. Find your way to parks’ visitor centers, picnic sites, camping spots, and more easily.

Having Alexa preinstalled means you can safely listen to music, audiobooks, the news, and more without taking your hands off the wheel.

The dual USB charger with the Garmin DriveSmart navigation system allows you to charge two devices simultaneously.

Along your path, you may see cities, gas stations, and other important landmarks using the Up Ahead feature.

With the most recent map updates and North American street maps preloaded, feel safe on the road.

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Garmin DriveSmart 86 Review: Specifications

  • Optimal screen resolution:    6.8 inches “(17.2 cm) x (10.7 cm) x (8.0 cm) diag (20.3 cm)
  • Rechargeable lithium-ion batteries are the kind of battery used.
  • 1280 pixels wide by 800 pixels high.
  • Automatic Positioning System (gps receiver)
  • Measuring 7.6″ in width, 4.7″ in height, and 0.77″ in thickness “D (19.2 x 11.9 x 1.8 mm)
  • The item weighs 10.41 ounces (295.2 g)
  • Multitouch displays are a form of display.
  • Energy consumption. -up to 1 hour
  • Navigational maps are already installed. There is a Wi-Fi map, and new app versions are available.
  • Limitation of Speed Indicator – Yes
  • Guided by your voice commands – Yes
  • Using an app to get smart alerts, the answer is yes.
  • Make a call using Bluetooth – Yes
  • Price: $350
  • Shape: Suction Cup
  • Two audio connection options are provided: Bluetooth and a standard 3.5mm jack (via mobile app)
  • Charger: USB-C to 12V
  • High-Tech: Real Time Traffic and Weather, Amazon Alexa Voice Control, and the Garmin Drive Control System

Charger for Automobiles Our Wearable4U Power Bank, together with the included dual Wall and Car USB Charging Adapters, will ensure that your gadgets never run out of juice. It works with any device that can draw power from a USB port, which means it’s compatible with almost any modern electronic item.

Garmin DriveSmart 86 Review: Overall Design

The Garmin drivesmart™ 86, with its 8-inch, 1,280 x 800-resolution screen, is the most advanced and largest of the brand’s new models. Beyond this, you get the most features of any Garmin satnav to date, such as real time traffic and gas prices, sites of interest with ratings from TripAdvisor and FourSquare, and driver warnings and routing to avoid environmental zones, such as in London.

No improvements in navigational intelligence have been made in recent years, either. It has Bluetooth for accessing your phone’s alerts and calls and Amazon Alexa for enhanced functionality in navigation, audio playback, Alexa skills, and more. It comes with a suction cup mount, a dual-port 12v adaptor, and a USB cord, courtesy of Garmin.

Every one of the new versions has a micro-USB connector for charging and power and a microSD card on the back for expanding storage for maps if the 32GB built-in isn’t enough. It has preloaded maps for all of Europe, and if you need more, extra maps may be purchased through Garmin.

The DriveSmart 86 may be paired with a rear-facing camera for easier parking and reversing.

It’s not hard to see the DriveSmart 86 in a driver’s hands since it’s not drastically different from a regular tablet—albeit one without the full power of Android or iPadOS. Without the pedestal, the 8-inch high-definition screen is approximately 7.5 inches wide, 4.5 inches high, and about 3/4 of an inch deep.

DriveSmart tablets may be propped up using a simple suction cup support that can be adjusted to fit the user’s needs. The USB-C cable and adaptor hook into your vehicle’s 12V cigarette lighter outlet to provide power. The DriveSmart 86 may seem like it has a little battery, but its lifespan is just one hour. So that it doesn’t entirely die, the tablet will turn off by itself if the power is off, but only after it has attempted to refresh its mapping data. The plan is for it to do so once you enter your house and are within range of your Wi-Fi network.

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It’s a cool adaptor with a USB 3.0 port (for DriveSmart) and a USB 2.0 port (for other devices). Despite the DriveSmart’s apparent ability to draw power from any normal USB-C connection, the supplied power adapter is required for use in vehicles without Bluetooth so that music may be played via the vehicle’s speakers.

The screen can be set up in either portrait or landscape mode, giving you more flexibility in where to put it. The suction cup is necessary for a safe and secure display while driving.

Read more: Garmin Drive 52 Review

Performance and Efficiency

When compared to standard smartphone satnav software, Garmin shines due to its superior guiding and mapping functions; here is where their years of knowledge come through. Using street names, landmarks, and 3D buildings makes following instructions much simpler in urban areas and mostly in rural areas.

Here, we’ve seen that TomTom’s top-tier navigation devices excel. They have better lane guidance when approaching a roundabout, and unlike Garmin satnavs, they won’t send you down a winding rural road when a later turn would get you there safely.

However, the DriveSmart 86 performs well in the vast majority of situations. Furthermore, the satnav may be easily adjusted to your preferences, providing you with routes you’re comfortable traveling to thanks to its wide-screen view and customization of route choice. In addition, I found the parking and real time gas price functions to be helpful, with reliable results each time I used them.

Read More: Dual Electronics XGPS150 Universal Bluetooth GPS Review

Where to find it

Purchase the Garmin DriveSmart 86 for $349.99 from the Garmin online store or any major online shop. The DriveSmart 76, at 7 inches and $300, the DriveSmart 66, at 6 inches and $250, and the Drive52, at 5 inches and $170, are some of the smaller variants offered.



In summation, the Garmin DriveSmart 86 is an effective instrument. It’s not perfect, but overall it does a good job. That is also its primary flaw, however. The widespread availability of GPS and satellite navigation apps on smartphones has rendered standalone GPS and satellite navigation devices mostly unnecessary.