The other major feature which has been brought down from premium models is Lane Guidance, probably because budget models from other manufacturers have already added their own versions, such as the Navigon 1210. Lane Guidance pops up a full-screen graphic at major junctions, to ensure you position your vehicle in the right lane for the exit you want, or to avoid leaving the main highway when you aren’t meant to. It’s certainly a handy feature when traversing complicated multi-lane motorway interchanges.
Another lesser feature from TomTom’s LIVE Services has been moved over, too. Fuel Prices lets you find the cheapest petrol station nearby or on your route. Obviously, you can’t update the prices on the fly, as the XL doesn’t have the integrated mobile data link of the x40 LIVE series. Instead, you need to hook the XL up to a computer via USB, install the TomTom HOME software, create an account and download these. You get a three-month trial in the box, after which updates cost £34.95 a year, although this also includes the safety camera location database.
In order to differentiate itself physically from the previous XL, the new version is dressed mostly in black, rather than silver. It also has a revised interface. Previously, we have found TomToms prior to the x40 series could be a little complicated to use, thanks to the very many menu options available. This has been reduced to two main pages, although there’s still plenty to get through if you drill down to the preferences.
However, the traditional TomTom map interface remains. This isn’t the most aesthetic arrangement out there (we particularly like Garmin devices in this respect), but it does pack absolutely everything you will want to know onto one screen. Most of this can be found in the information bar at the bottom of the screen. On the left is the next turning and how far away it is. Then you have the distance and time to your destination, current time and ETA, and finally your current speed plus the limit for the road you are travelling on. It’s a busy array of figures, but most other sat-navs provide a mere subset of this. The map itself is clear enough, and spoken directions unambiguous.