Lexus just got Google Maps-style next-gen mapping software

Will Toyota's new-generation navigation software have you ditching Google Maps?

New Lexus sat nav
(Image credit: Lexus)

Google Maps and Android Auto have been the best thing to happen to cars since the invention of the wheel, bringing constant free updates, new features, and excellent smartphone connectivity many years after you've bought your shiny new car.

Google Maps in particular is a big improvement over the navigation systems that often come bundled with new cars, because, whereas these often end up becoming outdated, Google Maps stays up-to-date, with free live traffic updates, speed camera warnings, and road closure notifications for the lifetime of the product.

Toyota and Lexus understand this frustration felt by drivers, so have teamed up with Mapbox to build a navigation platform to combat the likes of Google Maps, Waze and Apple Maps.

The new system will be available in Toyota and Lexus cars and comes with two major benefits over traditional systems.

For a start, Toyota and Lexus designers will be able to change the look and feel of the navigation experience. Potentially updating the UI and adding new features over time.

Mapbox would also allow Toyota to push out updates in real-time, which means the maps could be updated more frequently than traditional software.

Of course, how often this software gets updated is down to Toyota and Lexus, but we hope the companies understand the need to keep up with tech giants like Apple and Google.

We can see this in the newly announced Lexus RZ, which features the all-new Lexus Link multimedia platform, which Lexus claims is faster, more intuitive and includes increased functions for connectivity, efficient journey planning and information. 

It includes “always-on” cloud-based navigation, so, like Google Maps, benefits from up-to-the-moment information on traffic events, accidents, and road conditions. 

The RZ also has a data communication module, which allows functions to be conveniently updated or added over the air, without any interruption to the vehicle’s use.

Thankfully, though, Toyota and Lexus also understand the demand for choice, so drivers can still opt for Android Auto or Apple CarPlay if they wish.

As the Style and Travel Editor at T3, Spencer covers everything from clothes to cars and watches to hotels. Everything that's cool, stylish, and interesting, basically. He's been a part of T3 for over seven years, and in that time covered every industry event known to man, from CES and MWC to the Geneva Motorshow and Baselworld. When he's driving up and down the country in search of the greatest driving roads, he can be found messing around on an electric scooter, playing with luxury watches, or testing the latest fragrances.