Nigel Donnelly

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WE'RE BEING RIPPED off when buying factory-fit sat-nav andinfotainment systems, according to research by What Car?.

WE'RE BEING RIPPED off when buying factory-fit sat-nav and infotainment systems, according to research by What Car?.

Some premium brands are charging upwards of £2000 for combined sat-nav, music hard-drive and Bluetooth packages, while similar equipment from other car makers costs a few hundred pounds.

If buying a Mercedes-Benz A160 SE, you’ll be asked £2300 if you want a COMANDO infotainment package, which includes a six-disc CD changer, a seven-inch display, HDD nav, voice control, and 10GB of storage. That’s more than 10% of the list price of the car on an optional extra.

Compare that with the £495 Audi charges A3 1.4 TFSI SE buyers for MMI with a 5.8-inch QVGA screen, Audi music interface, USB, MMI radio, voice control, and SD card sat-nav.

What Car? is urging buyers to haggle over the price of options as well as the list price of the car. Editor-in-chief, Chas Hallett, said: “If we all drive a hard bargain, car makers will realise they can’t keep charging thousands for audio, navigation and connectivity features that we are all used to seeing for very little cost on our smartphones.”

Alternatively, don’t bother with an overpriced factory-fit system. Many of the same features are available from aftermarket sat-navs at more wallet-friendly prices, and if you own more than one car you’ll be able to take your gadget with you. What's more, since many of us now keep our favourite music on our phones, is there any need for a hard-drive music player in a car?

The next time I buy a car, an overpriced infotainment system is one box on the options list I definitely won't tick.

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