Use the OOB navigation all the way, with manual configuring. Be careful to not have to customize this in code as can lead to many hours of development of custom master pages, bread crumb modification etc. Since navigation is something that does not change much it makes sense to manually configure it with the SP UI.
Need to learn how to modify and deploy Master Page at various levels through out the site and sub sites to not affect navigation but keep overall look and feel.
This is the