All-singing widescreen models may be the most feature-rich and interesting sat-navs to read about, but lots of people just want something cheap and pocket-friendly for the odd trip now and then. For this type of user, TomTom's ONE has offered no-frills navigation for a keen price for a few years now. However, it's not the cheapest model you can buy, so TomTom has recently added a few choice features from its higher-end GO models to create the IQ Routes version, offering more capabilities for a bit more money than the entry level.
Like the XL IQ Routes, the ONE IQ Routes builds in TomTom's historical traffic database called (wait for it…) IQ Routes. This system aims to calculate your course in a more sophisticated fashion than is traditional for sat-nav devices. Instead of merely providing a choice of either the shortest distance or nominally fastest roads, IQ Routes uses historical traffic data to work out how fast you will really be able to drive on specific roads. Both time of day and day of week are taken into account. If traffic is normally heavy at rush hour on a road with a nominal 50mph limit so the true road speed is more like 10mph, a local 30mph road with no traffic might be a better option.
This isn't quite as effective as TomTom's HD Traffic system, as the information used is based on historical averages not the current real situation. But it's a lot like the way people who know an area actually take alternative roads to avoid traffic. In our experience, IQ Routes has proven relatively effective, taking us away from regularly traffic-laden roads during rush hour, but choosing them if they are the quickest option when clear. It's not an infallible system, though, and can still be topped by real local knowledge due to thin data for some infrequently used roads.
But overall IQ Routes is worth paying the extra for over a TomTom ONE Classic if you are a regular weekday driver - although a full live traffic system might also be a worthwhile investment here as well. This costs £48.93, with nothing more to pay as a lifetime subscription to RDS-TMC updates is included.