There's a top-of-the-range price on this top-of-the-range satnav, but you get what you pay for in the best possible way. The Nuvi 3598 LMT-D does everything you could ask of a satnav, and then goes one better.
Of course, the Nuvi 3598 LMT-D finds the quickest route to your destination, but it doesn't stop there. This is a constantly connected, always-live satnav that doesn't require an additional data connection. Instead, its Digital Traffic service uses your car's DAB radio tuner to source traffic info. Jams, traffic cameras and alerts will no longer be nasty surprises: instead, the Nuvi 3598 LMT-D knows everything before you do, and will plot a way around upcoming snarl-ups for you.
The Nuvi 3598 LMT-D comes with pre-installed maps for over 40 European countries and owners are eligible for free map updates for life. Some users have reported problems with this, although it worked perfectly during my tests. However, safety camera updates aren't free, so you'll need to pay a surcharge to ensure your information on those is always up to date.
In a brilliantly user-friendly touch, the Nuvi 3598 LMT-D uses Garmin Real Directions. Rather than dishing out abstract lefts or rights after hard-to-estimate distances, it uses landmarks: "turn left at Starbucks" or "turn right at the Eiffel Tower". This makes navigating much easier. And further easing the strain, a birds-eye view is on hand to assist with complicated junctions, plus help with finding parking spaces in unfamiliar towns.
There's also Bluetooth so you can sync your smartphone for hands-free calls, meaning you can always keep your focus on the road. It also allows you to access your phone book with ease - another win for simplicity of navigation. The only complaint to make - and it's one that's common to satnavs - is that the Nuvi 3598's OS simply isn't as slick as iOS or Android.
All this information is only useful if you can read it. The Nuvi 3598 LMT-D makes that easy, with a 5-inch capacitive touchscreen giving a big, clear picture (no resistive malarkey here). Lane changes and country roads are rendered crisply and clearly on the screen, which supports multi-touch and pinch-to-zoom. Satnavs traditionally look like ugly plastic bricks, but not the Nuvi 3598, which has a smart alloy chassis and looks seriously luxe.
The Garmin Nuvi 3598 LMT-D lives up to its high price in most ways, offering quality that smartphone and app combos struggle to match. The core functionality - traffic-evasion, directions, lane assistance – all work superbly. DAB integration is particularly welcome - not being dependant on a SIM for traffic updates is a real bonus in remote areas, and generally works well. The only slight disappointment is the OS, and that's the reason this doesn't get the full five stars.