I found the first set, "level one", of the Learn in Your Car German series to be an excellent refresher to basic German travel and shopping words. Years ago I had two years of German in my US high school, but I struggled with the language. I bought this first CD in order to relearn enough German to get around Germany and Switzerland, and ended up listening to the CD both on my 1-hour weekend commutes and while jogging (after ripping the CDs into mp3 format and adding them to my work out setlist).
The CD really does start off with very basic words and phrases, focusing a bit more on travel related words like bus stop, train station, how much does it cost, etc. I honestly think that people whom have not taken German will be able to pick up on the basic phrases, but that people whom speak some German already will find these first 3 disks rather slow.
There are some words included in the lessons that I've never had the chance to use. Furthermore, some of the words are a bit out of date, such as references to the Deutsch Mark. It would have been nice for that track to be updated to talk about the Euro. I also found that the disk and my German language background did not prepare me for situations such as a local offering to buy me a drink!
The CD set comes with a nice, small book. Sadly, while I've found it easy to listen to the CD again and again while jogging and to a lesser degree while driving, I've never found the time to read the book while listening to the CD. I do feel it would help both my ability to speak German and more importantly, my ability to read the language.
I liked this set enough to buy the level 2 set. Furthermore, I found the way the lessons were broken up very useful in skipping tracks and focusing on the vocabulary I felt I'd need.