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Escort Passport iQ Radar and GPS Review

Radar/Laser Detector AND GPS All in One

November 8, 2010

Car Audio Magazine, Jefferson Bryant

Convergence. It is an overused buzzword, but one that is fitting when it comes to the latest offering from Escort. The Passport iQ radar/laser detector marries the incredible detection capabilities of the heralded Escort 9500iX with an intuitive GPS navigation system. And it could not have come at a better time. As the economy crunch is hitting many states hard, legislative bodies are ramping up ticketing efforts. You canít blame the law enforcement, they are just doing their jobs; but when the state of Virginia launches a federally mandated (and funded) traffic dragnet weekend that results in almost 7,000 tickets written in two days, specifically called an effort to increase state revenue, you have a problem.

Look, I am not condoning speeding, but it is really easy to let the needle on the speedo creep up, and in those speed trap areas, you can get snagged 20-mph or more over. In Virginia, all it takes is 15 mph over the limit and you just got popped for reckless driving to the tune of $1500. A little pre-emptive protection goes a long way in keeping that hard earned cash in your pocket.

In my case, I have been using an Escort 8500iX and I love it. This rig gets me a solid 3-mile warning on the front side of the car. The problem is my family car only has one (really, one) 12v accessory port at the front of the car, and it's on the floor. Using a splitter, I can get two devices to run without popping the fuse, the 3-way splitters kill it everytime. That means I have to choose between radar, GPS, Sirius/XM Satellite and charging my iPhone. I donít always need to charge the phone, so that is an occasional problem, but on long road trips, especially in unfamiliar areas, you need all three of the others. The iQ unit eliminates that, you have one unit that does both radar and GPS.

The radar/laser detection is impeccable. With the GPS capability, as you approach a red light, speed trap or speed camera, that info is presented to you, just like the Passport 9500iX. An added benefit is the large 5" screen that provides basic information when in radar only mode, such as speed limit, selectable over-speed warning and detection type. Instant-on radar makes it really hard to get a warning before you are zapped, since the radar is only firing when the button is triggered. With the Escort, I have noticed a distinct pattern of picking up residual radar from instant-on radar as far as a mile away, giving time to check your speed and slow down if need be.

The GPS navigation functions are what you would expect from a first offering; it looks good, functions well and has a good search function that provide phone number contact info. Since we just got the unit yesterday, a long distance test has not been completed yet, but it seems to be very accurate so far. At this point, the GPS audio is a little limited, with three languages, all in a computer-generated voice, but if you buy a GPS based on how it sounds, then you are not considering stuff that matters anyway.

One drawback for the Passport iQ is the cord that comes packaged in the box. This is the same SmartCord® you have come to expect from Escort, it has a mute function and LED warning light, but it is also really short. In many vehicles, this is not an issue, but in my car, it is. There is just not enough length to mount the large screen up high by the rear-view. This can be alleviated by ordering the optional 10-ft direct wire cord. It is hard to accommodate all vehicles, but I wouldnít mind a packaged cord extension included in the $649.99 MSRP.

This is the first radar/laser detector with GPS nav, and just like everything from Escort, it is on top of its game. If you want one, you better get it ordered now, they are currently shipping on a first-come, first-served basis, with a 2-week waiting list.