I currently drive a three year-old Mercury Mariner Hybrid with a factory-installed GPS navigation system. Just like its smaller and more portable GPS cousins, this built-in unit is a great tool to drive to my intended destinations and locate points of interest along the way, like restaurants and hotels.

Since it’s built-in, it’s always powered up and ready for me to use. Plus, I don’t  worry about it getting stolen like I did with my older suction-cup variety.

Although many of the portable Garmin and TomTom units have more advanced features, I’m satisfied with my built-in GPS. The large screen is particularly welcome.

I recently received a letter from Mercury to “Get the most out of your Mercury Navigation System – UPDATE YOUR MAP TODAY!”

This direct mail piece offers a DVD update from NAVTEQ, the GPS unit’s mapping software company, to “optimize performance”, “see new places”, “save fuel”, etc. These are all positive and anyone who is using this navigation system would want the update. Right?

Wrong! Not for the $199 upgrade price!

Oh yeah, don’t forget to add in sales taxes and $9.95 for shipping!

How many roads have changed in the last three years? How many new businesses have sprouted? In my opinion, certainly not $200 worth.

I’m wondering, who is buying this upgrade when you can buy a brand new portable GPS unit with the latest technology, maps, points of interest — for LESS THAN the price of this update?

Come on, NAVTEQ, wake up!