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TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition review

An excellent sat nav - if you can bear Jeremy Clarkson's jokes

TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition
Clarkson's commentary and the Stig's silent navigational style will divide fans


  • Great maps and intelligent navigation
  • Live updates make for optimal journeys
  • Clear, uncluttered interface
  • Clarkson's dulcet tones


  • Clarkson's annoying voice
  • No Hammond or May
  • Go Live is expensive after first year
  • Not the cheapest option

The very notion of TomTom turning to Jeremy Clarkson for in-car sat nav is obviously a polarising decision.

This surprisingly compact package may represent perfect timing for the Christmas rush, but be warned: Clarkson isn't for everyone, even in controlled bursts.

If you've got any doubts at all about whether the TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition is for you, or the person you're buying it for, then you should stay well clear.

Clarkson, like his views on pretty much everything, is a delicacy - you either love him or hate him; there's no wishy-washy middle ground.

Don't be too swayed by the team Top Gear livery, either - you only get Clarkson's voice to guide you down Britain and Ireland's road, there's no James May to send you to sleep at the wheel, and Hammond is also notably missing.

TomTom go live top gear edition

You do get the Stig as a selectable voice, but this turns out to be simply silence - a one-off joke that has somehow made it into the final machine.

Far more useful, and impressive, is the huge array of standard voices on the TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition, which aren't quite so irksome.

TomTom go live top gear edition

The Go Live moniker is an indicator that this sat nav updates its database on the fly. This isn't only locations of static and mobile speed cameras, but also includes traffic jams and accidents, enabling you to recalculate your route and avoid trouble well in advance of you realising that your motorway of choice is doing impressions of a municipal car park.

This service does come at a fairly hefty cost of £47 a year, so it's one for anyone that's on the roads a lot for work. You do get the first year free at least, so you can see how much you use it first.

TomTom go live top gear edition

Clarkson actually does a pretty good job of telling you where to go, and isn't anywhere near as annoying as we could have guessed, on the TomTom Go Live TopGear Edition. There are some moments of genuine entertainment, such as: "Turn left on to the motorway. You can't miss it, it's the big lump of tarmac covered in caravans and traffic cones."

There are moment of surprise as well, when Clarkson directs your next cause of action, followed by "I'm bored to death of this journey", or "Your driving is making me car sick". The problem is, these are repeated often in even a small journey, and there simply isn't enough variety.

TomTom go live top gear edition

The saving grace is that TomTom knows rather a lot about satellite navigation. When it comes to the important task of getting from A to B in a timely fashion, there's plenty to love here. The predicted arrival time is unnervingly accurate, while the routes make sense and don't involve anything silly such as sending you the wrong way up one-way streets.

The interface has recently been updated, and navigating your way around the TomTom Go Live Top Gear Edition is a delightful experience.

Finger presses need to be firm, but this is easy to get used to, and it does mean you're not navigating to Land's End by accident. The Go Live features are great, and really give you time to work out where it's worth trying a different route to avoid a traffic jam.

TomTom go live top gear edition

Mounting is straightforward, and while thicker than a unit that can be detached from a cradle, it folds reasonably flat to slip in a pocket. The decision to use a standard USB cable for charging, along with an adapter for the car power socket works well, and means you don't need multiple cables when plugging it into your PC.