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Toyota Connected Service: Breaking down what $8 to $32 per month gets you

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We’ve covered subscription services for automakers a lot lately, and it all started when Publisher Tim Esterdahl got perturbed over his new 2022 Toyota Tundra’s and remote start not being free, technically. You see, Toyota, like many manufacturers have shifted business plans (i.e. profiteering) to include Toyota Connected Service.

When you look at what’s included, it sounds like an added amount of niceties for those who buy a Toyota vehicle, but take note: Toyota Connected Service costs $8/month or $80/year. It may sound like small change that you won’t miss, but the methods of sneaking this in as a “trial basis” seemed a little shady to us.

So with that in mind, we wanted to break down what was part of the pay-to-play Toyota Connected Service.

Remote Start: Not free for Toyota

This was the thing that started it all for us. Esterdahl lost his mind over some key fob issues and even got Toyota’s engineers involved in the fiasco. It was all documented in this great video.

But yes remote start is part of Toyota’s Connected Service (i.e. subscription) and is listed under Remote Connect as $8/month or $80/year. So, even if you use your key fob to do remote start, it won’t work after the subscription expires.

Remote Connect runs through an app on your phone and includes other handy features that also are part of a subscription. They include:

  • Guest driver – Get alerts sent to the primary account owner related to exceeding preset limits of speed, curfew or miles driven.
  • Vehicle status alerts – Check the status of your Toyota vehicle’s doors, windows, odometer and fuel level.
  • Last parked location – Locate your vehicle in a crowded parking lot with Last Parked Location.
  • Remote lock/unlock – Remotely lock/unlock your doors with your phone from anywhere.

Safety Connect: Pay for extra peace of mind

Of course GM started this entire trend with OnStar, which has made them billions of dollars over the years. But 2022 Toyota vehicles will offer Safety Connect features, for an additional $8/month or $80/year subscription fee.

Some of the Safety Connect services that will cost you include:

  • Emergency assistance – Engaging the Emergency Assistance button in your vehicle can connect you with a 24/7 response center agent who can request dispatch of necessary emergency services to your vehicle’s location in case of a medical or other emergency on the road.
  • Enhanced roadside assistance – At the press of the Emergency Assistance Button, you can connect with 24/7 Roadside Assistance, which gives you the peace of mind that help is on the way.
  • Automatic collision notification – A 24/7 response center is automatically notified in the event of an airbag deployment or severe rear-end collision. The 24/7 response center agent will attempt to speak with the vehicle’s occupants and then notify local emergency services to request dispatch of emergency services to the vehicle’s location.
  • Stolen vehicle locator – Should you find yourself in a vehicle-theft situation, immediately file a police report and notify a response center so agents can assist authorities in locating your vehicle using GPS technology.

Drive Connect: Cloud-based extras

“The Cloud” is something we all hear about and few of us really understand what it means. But Toyota’s Drive Connect service is a yet another separate subscription service that costs $16/month or $160/year. Toyota’s Drive Connect subscription debuts in the 2022 Tundra but will be integrated into other Toyota vehicles too.

Think of this service as a personal digital assistance (like Hey Siri), but instead you ask your Toyota for help with various in-car functions such as changing audio settings or the climate control in select models.

Another aspect is cloud-based navigation that includes Google Point-Of-Interest search capability and the ability to share your ETA with contacts in your phone book.

Being Wi-Fi capable allows for system and navigation updates to be installed “over-the-air” so the vehicle will always be up to date. New roads constructed? OTA updates will allow the map to include those too.

Bottom line on Toyota Connected Service

Yes, this shift to pay-per-feature is kind of annoying. But there are many conveniences that make our lives easier, so shouldn’t an automaker attach value to it?

For a full chart of what Connected Services are available for what Toyota vehicle, reference this website.

And while all this makes sense from a business perspective, it also adds up. If you want all the services, you could be paying as much as $32 per month or $320 per year.

If you aren’t okay with it, don’t subscribe. If the profits aren’t there, the automakers will get the message. We want to hear your feedback, what services are you okay paying for and which ones bug you? Leave us your comment below.

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Jimmy Dinsmore

Jimmy is News Editor for PickupTruckTalk with an expertise in new vehicles. He is also a Ford Mustang historian having authored the book Mustang by Design (available on Amazon). His second book, about the history of Ford's F-Series truck comes out next year.

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3 Comments

  1. Wesley March 24, 2022

    I’m a disappointed new owner of a 2022 Tundra. I have bought new Tundra’s for many years. I was totally unaware of this process until on my way home with the new truck. If I had known this information before I definitely would have purchased another manufacturer’s truck.

    I have owned this truck for a week as of today, I hav spent approximately 12 hrs trying to update information. I even went and bought a new iPhone 13 to try to connect. Went back to dealer today with no more satisfaction than I had all week..

    VERY UNHAPPY with Toyota..

    Reply
  2. J. Lester May 16, 2022

    I have a 2019 Toyota Avalon Limited Edition. I am still paying the car note. I do not live in a cold area where remote start could be a plus. I have a phone that has gps updates and I can call for help if I need it. If i’m unable to for help, someone around me even a stranger, will call for help. For as much as I paid for this car, I refuse to pay extra for unnecessary features.

    Reply
  3. ET Orlando July 9, 2022

    2019 RAV4 had tire blowout which resulted in minor accident. Used Toyota Safety Connect for help, pretty cumbersome and worthless so will not renew and switch back to cheaper AAA as response times are faster. Remote Connect is nice for alerts on vehicle security, remote start, etc.

    Reply

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