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.
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:
Editor’s note: Since posting this article, there has been an update to the remote start subscription fee. Be sure to watch the video below for details.
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:
“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.
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.
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..
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.
Exactly. Total crap – it should be included as long as you purchase the vehicle. Why would I waste my money on this after paying so much for a vehicle? Wish I had the skills to develop a free knock off app.
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.
Remote start should be included with the vehicle. You should not have to pay extra for this service. You can get remote service already and not have to pay for it. What I am told is even though you have remote service, if you don’t pay for service connect you won’t have remote service that is completely wrong.
Toyota has to pay for sponsoring Nascar race teams. Now I see how they can afford $20 million a year for each car now!
Truthfully, this is the one hang up I have with pulling the trigger on a new Toyota. I used my remote start in my old car all the time, so that is a feature I am used to and use frequently. Toyota is not making it easy for me to switch to Toyota. If I’m going to be paying that much for a new car, I should NOT have to pay extra for that feature.
I don’t like having to agree with a master consent to get services I should be able to choose which services I want or don’t however they make it easy to opt out but read the fine print very clearly if you do they will automatically turn on the DMC for full function only way is pull the fuse on it either way you loose remote start you can do everything the offer with cell phone just by paying your cell bill Toyota just cramming more down people my first Toyota very unhappy but all car makers are going that way even the built in cameras record inside the vechicle and outside insurance companies don’t give discounts for having one so why bother because the information on them could possibly go in your favor or not if a accident happens
I am extremely disappointed that the key fob remote start will not work without the subscription. This seems absolutely ridiculous since it is a simple feature when the vehicle is in range of the fob. I have little use for starting the vehicle when I’m further away than that. I am likely not going to subscribe to any of the services as they just aren’t worth paying for in my opinion.
The majority of auto makers include auto start on key fobs since 2012, using your phone to auto start is more time consuming than using a phone.
Maps and finding where my car is if stolen and be remedied by a hidden tracker fob
You pay XXX amount for a quality vehicle and they want more, in the year I have owned the 2021 Highlander Platinum I have not used any of the services. I asked if I could delete the App since it is useless
I’m very disappointed that Toyota requires a Connected Service subscription for me to read the tire pressure on my 2020 Rav4. My 2016 Camry had individual tire pressure on the information display, but they removed it on the 2020 Rav4. When I had the initial Connected Service, I could read the tire pressure on my phone. That was still worse than the Camry, but when I didn’t renew the subscription, I could not read it at all. That will be a consideration when I buy my next vehicle. I’m angry and I refuse to pay $16/mo. for that convenience.
Thank you for the great article. I had narrowed my choice down between 2023 Toyota RAV4 and 2023 Subaru Forester the article helped in my choice and I went with the Subaru Forester.
You are a champ! Just tried the key fob trick from your video for my 2022 Tacoma and it worked! Who knew? I feel like I just learned the secret code to Mario Bros but in this case, it’ll save me $80/yr on the subscription I really didn’t want to buy. I hate nickel & dime type subscriptions. Thanks again!!
I just bought a 2023 corolla cross and took an out of town trip only to find out i still have to use my phone for gps instead of screen they showed me at dealership. Found out had to pay to use navigation. This is not right specially since i have to plug my phone into the system and transfer my phone gps to the screen. I could understand if it used its own navigation; but it uses navigation from my phone. Absolutely not acceptable to charge for this.
23 Tacoma OFFROAD model.
Nondisclosure of subscription costs for what was put forth as “included” was irrating. Especially after dealer setting them up and no mention of costs.. Doubt I will pay for any after trials end
The remote start has a very short distance for it to work anyway. But what really ticks me off is that no one told me until they just shut it off! This is my third Toyota and LAST!