For $130 less than the top-of-the-line Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD (Est. $350) , the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT car GPS offers most of the same features. You'll miss out on the Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD's sparkling-sharp glass screen, slick magnetic mount and high-end traffic info -- all helpful stuff, but experts say the 2597LMT is hardly stripped-down. In fact, it's the best car GPS value around.
Class-leading navigation. Navigation is excellent with the nuvi 2597LMT in tests, as always with Garmins -- "no significant routing errors or sluggish performance during a month of testing," says Rich Owings at GPSTracklog.com. It's just as speedy as the pricey Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD, locking onto satellites and recalculating after wrong turns in a flash. It also gets the same outstanding maps, including the photorealistic interchange maps with big animated arrows where you should exit. Lifetime map updates mean you'll always be able to download the most recent maps.
High-end features help you pick the fastest route. The nuvi 2597LMT comes with lifetime Garmin Traffic info. It's ad-free, but not quite as speedy as the HD Traffic you'll find on the step-up Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD. Still, both versions work fine on major highways, warning of heavy traffic and recommending faster routes. Neither has great coverage on secondary roads, though -- the 2597LMT sent PCMag.com's Jamie Lendino into rush-hour gridlock in New York City. To help you pick the best routes, Garmin loads the nuvi 2597LMT with all of its latest routing features. Like the 3597LMTHD, you'll get trafficTrends (which predicts the best route based on traffic flow), Trip Planner (which lets you pick a sort order and departure/arrival times for multiple stops) and more.
Non-glare screen and natural speech are nice touches. Experts always find Garmin car GPS devices refreshingly simple to use. The nuvi 2597LMT's 5-inch touch screen works whether you turn it in portrait or landscape orientation. It's lower-res than the pricier nuvi 3597LMTHD (but still perfectly clear), and you can't pinch or zoom with gestures -- but the matte plastic screen doesn't glare like the 3597LMTHD's glass screen, either. Both models get Garmin Real Voice and Real Directions, which make spoken directions sound more natural and conversational (e.g., "Turn right at Starbucks," rather than just "Turn right on Elm Street"). You won't get the 3597LMTHD's super-slick powered, magnetic mount, though. The 2597LMT's plastic locking-ring mount works easily enough, but the power cord plugs directly into the GPS unit itself.
Big bang for the buck. On the nuvi 2597LMT, you'll find almost every luxury feature Garmin has to offer at a non-luxury price. Reviews hail it as a fantastic buy -- especially if you don't have (or want) a smartphone that will navigate for free. Still, it costs more than $200. You can get a basic, perfectly accurate car GPS system like the Garmin nuvi 42 (Est. $110) for half that much, if you don't need all the fancy features.
The Garmin nuvi 2597LMT is one of more than 100 car GPS systems tested here. Editors rate each one's ease of use, routing, info for driver, mount design, display and traffic interface, with an overall score. Each GPS navigator gets a short write-up describing its pros and cons.
Review: Garmin nuvi 2597LMT, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, Not Dated
2. GPS Tracklog
After a month-long test, the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT earns a spot on Owings' recommended list. Although he finds some flaws -- Bluetooth sounds bad in his test, and the mount isn't powered -- it's still "one of the best nuvis yet."
Review: Garmin nuvi 2597LMT Review, Rich Owings, April 9, 2013
Although it's similar to the top-rated Garmin nuvi 3597LMTHD -- but cheaper -- the nuvi 2597LMT isn't a top pick here. It cuts out the pricier model's sharp, multi-touch glass screen and improved mount, which Lendino misses.
Review: Garmin nuvi 2597LMT, Jamie Lendino, April 18, 2013
The Garmin nuvi 2597LMT is one of only a few 5-star GPS systems here. Pionneau does find some flaws in his full test, though (for example, the traffic info lags behind smartphones' in some ways).
Review: Garmin nuvi 2597LMT, Fabien Pionneau, July 4, 2013
More than 340 owners review the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT here, and it earns a score of 4 out of 5 stars. Several owners are particularly pleased at how fast the unit boots, locks onto satellites and recalculates after a wrong turn.
Review: Garmin nuvi 2597LMT, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2013
Users here highly recommend the Garmin nuvi 2597LMT, giving it a score of 4.6 out of 5 stars following more than 280 reviews. Negative comments are posted, but most owners are thoroughly pleased with this model.
Review: Garmin - nuvi 2597LMT, Contributors to BestBuy.com, As of October 2013