Toyota is charging drivers for the comfort of using their key fobs to remotely begin their vehicles. As indicated by a report, Toyota models 2018 or more current will require a subscription altogether for the key fob to help remote start functionality.
As notes, purchasers are given the choice to browse a variety of Connected Services when buying a new Toyota, and one of those services — called Remote Connect — just so ends up including the ability to remotely begin your vehicle with your key fob.
Purchasers are offered a free preliminary of Remote Connect, however, the length of that preliminary relies upon the audio package that is incorporated with the vehicle. Much more confusingly, just some Toyota models support the Audio Plus or Premium Audio packages that the free preliminary is presented with, which you can look at for yourself in this PDF.
In other words, the key fob’s remote start functionality is attached to the audio package that accompanies the vehicle. This was first seen in a post on Reddit, where the original poster added a link to Toyota’s Remote Connect marketing materials (PDF). The post has since been flagged as “potentially misleading,” notwithstanding, Toyota affirmed that clients will, truth be told, need to pay for remote start when the free trial ends.
The pamphlet connected to in the post subtleties the key fob’s remote start feature, as well as its connection to the Audio Plus and Premium Audio packages. While a vehicle with Audio Plus provides drivers with the luxury of free remote start using a key fob for three years, a vehicle bought with Premium Audio offers free remote start for 10 years. From that point onward, drivers should pay the $8/month or $80/year cost for the full Remote Connect service, which incorporates the remote start feature for the key fob.
On Toyota’s Remote Connect page, it’s not totally certain that the key fob’s remote start functionality is incorporated within the plan. It says that the Remote Connect service allows drivers to use their smartwatch, smart home gadgets, or cell phone to begin their vehicles, yet there isn’t any notice of using the key fob for remote starts.
Also as The Drive brings up, it appears as though a few clients have known about this for years. In a thread dated back to 2019 on the Toyota Nation forum, clients talk about the key fob’s remote start functionality — a few clients guarantee that their key fob is as yet ready to begin their car remotely, but most of the users on this thread own a Toyota that is 2018 or more up to date, which implies they might, in any case, be covered by the free preliminary.
Normally, paywalled features like these are restricted to luxury car brands. In 2018, BMW made drivers pay an annual subscription for Apple Car Play — notwithstanding the $300 it charges to install the feature in the first place. The German car manufacturer later walked back on its decision almost two years after the fact.
In any case, BMW actually allows you to pay to “unlock” new features in your car, in a way that has been depicted as in-car microtransactions. The all-electric Porsche Taycan has a comparative system, named Functions On-Demand, which allows drivers to buy new, optional features for their Porsche, similar to Active Lane Keeping or Dynamic Light System Plus.
In the interim, Cadillac charges clients $25/month after the finish of the free preliminary for its hands-free driving mode, Super Cruise, which has since been briefly ceased in more current Escalades because of the chip lack.