We admit that we've been critical of TomTom, Garmin, and other aftermarket satnavs. After all, in the age of smartphones and factory-installed telematics systems, dashtop devices can seem as outdated as your grandmother's VCR. But you have to give them props for trying, and TomTom is trying very hard with its new Top Gear package, featuring the distinctive voice of Jeremy Clarkson and the distinctive non-voice of The Stig.
On the upside, the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition comes pre-loaded with Clarkson's voice, ready to bark commands, steer you through traffic, and -- we assume -- occasionally scream "POWER!" on the freeway. When you get tired of those histrionics, you can switch to Stig mode, which, as fans of the television show might guess, will plunge your device into stony silence. As an added bonus, TomTom's Top Gear unit indicates special points of interest for driving enthusiasts, like nearby racetracks. There are also special Top Gear icons, as well as branded start-up and shut-down screens.
On the downside, the Top Gear features are available only on specific TomTom hardware, meaning that Clarkson and The Stig aren't available as one of TomTom's many voice packages. That means that the TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition runs $269.95, which is certainly within the range of TomTom's other hardware, but a far cry from the $12.95 you'd pay to hear Yoda, Homer Simpson, or KITT tell you where to get off.
The TomTom GO LIVE Top Gear edition comes with a year's complimentary subscription to TomTom's LIVE service, which offers frequently updated traffic data and dynamic routing capabilities. Not only that, but LIVE also gives reports on speed cameras -- which might be of interest to folks who share Clarkson's love of velocity. For more info, visit TomTom.com/topgear.