The Truth About Navigation in Your Subaru: Why Certain Models Don’t Have It

If you own a Subaru without built-in navigation, you might be wondering why your car is missing this modern convenience. Navigation systems have become a popular feature in modern cars, so why doesn’t your Subaru have it?

Understanding Subaru’s Navigation System

First, let’s look at what Subaru offers in terms of navigation. Subaru offers two types of navigation systems: an on-board navigation system and a smartphone-based navigation system called Starlink. The on-board navigation system is only available in select models, while Starlink is available in all vehicles as an optional feature.

Subaru’s on-board navigation system is built into the car’s infotainment system and provides turn-by-turn directions, 3D maps, and other features you’d expect from a modern GPS device. Starlink, on the other hand, uses a connected smartphone app to provide navigation services through the car’s display.

Why Don’t All Subaru Models Have Navigation?

While it would be convenient for all Subaru vehicles to have built-in navigation, the reality is that it’s not feasible from a production standpoint. Subaru must balance the cost of adding navigation systems (and other features) with the price that consumers are willing to pay for the vehicle.

Additionally, Subaru might have determined that not all drivers want or need navigation in their car. For drivers who don’t frequently travel to new places or use GPS devices, it might not be a high priority to have navigation built into their car.

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Should You Add Navigation to Your Subaru?

If you’re someone who finds yourself relying on your smartphone’s GPS to get around, you might be considering adding navigation to your Subaru. While it’s possible to add an aftermarket navigation system, it’s important to consider the cost and potential drawbacks.

An aftermarket system can cost anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the features you want and the type of system you choose. Additionally, aftermarket systems might not integrate seamlessly with your Subaru’s existing infotainment system, potentially leading to clunky user experiences.

Comparing Subaru’s Navigation Offerings to Other Car Manufacturers

So, how does Subaru’s approach to navigation compare to other car manufacturers? Compared to luxury car brands, Subaru’s navigation options might seem lacking. Luxury brands often have more advanced navigation systems that offer more features and better integration with the car’s features.

However, Subaru’s GPS offerings are in line with what you would expect in mass-market vehicles. Many car manufacturers offer navigation as an optional feature in select models, while others make smartphone-based navigation apps available.


While it might be disappointing to discover your Subaru doesn’t have built-in navigation, the reasons behind this decision make sense from a production and cost standpoint. However, if you’re someone who frequently relies on navigation to get around, it’s worth considering if the cost of adding an aftermarket system is worth the convenience.

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Alton Brobst

As a longtime Subaru enthusiast, Alton brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our blog. From his early days of tinkering with engines to his current role as a certified Subaru technician, Alton has seen it all when it comes to Subarus. When he's not working on cars, he enjoys hiking and exploring the great outdoors.

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