The era of having to pay for things that your vehicle already came equipped with is finally upon us. Subscriptions have reached Toyota. The Drive reports that the automaker will require owners of vehicles equipped with remote start to pay for a subscription to use it.
It all started with a Reddit post from the middle of November. A user on r/cars spotted some Toyota marketing that pointed to the automaker potentially making remote start a subscription-based feature. But no one actually believed that the automaker would go through with it. So much so that it was deemed bullshit by moderators who tagged the post “potentially misleading.” Except it’s wasn’t. A Toyota rep confirmed to The Drive that a subscription will be required.
A Toyota spokesperson confirmed to The Drive that if a 2018 or later Toyota is equipped with Toyota’s Remote Connect functions, the vehicle must be enrolled in a valid subscription (whether it be a free trial period or otherwise) in order for the key fob to start the car.
One good thing about all of this is that owners won’t just simply be subscribing to remote start. Remote start is part of the larger Connected Services suite of vehicle services that includes the remote start, safety assistance, vehicle service updates, in-vehicle wifi, Toyota’s own OnStar-like service called Destination Assist, and the Toyota app for smartphones. Why Toyota decided to bundle remote start with these things (most of which the average owner doesn’t really need) is beyond me. But whether you like it or not, you’ll have to cough up $8 a month or $80 a year to start your car with the fob.
As if the subscription itself wasn’t enough, things can get a bit confusing. You see, there’s a three-year trial period for the Remote Connect services. After those three years, a subscription will be required. And the services vary depending on the vehicle. From The Drive:
For example, vehicles equipped with Audio Plus get a trial of up to three years whereas Premium Audio may have a trial for up to 10 years. Beyond that, drivers will need to pay for a subscription to continue using remote services.
So if you drive a 2018 or newer Toyota, you’re about to be in for an unnecessary headache over the simple convenience of remotely starting your vehicle.