Digitally connected services have become very popular with automakers in recent years. Toyota is no exception, and its latest models now come with a variety of connected services to enhance their appeal.
It can be a bit daunting to understand what all these services offer, so we'll break down each one to see how they can benefit you.
What Do Connected Services Do?
You may be wondering why you should be interested in connected services at all. In essence, they enhance your automotive experience by using apps and online connectivity to provide various services and features. Some popular features include:
- 24/7 Emergency Assistance
- Stolen Vehicle Location
- Maintenance Reminders
- Over-The-Air Software Updates
- WiFi Connectivity For Personal Devices
Toyota categorizes its connected service offerings into 5 unique packages: Safety Connect, Service Connect, Drive Connect, Remote Connect and WiFi Connect.
1. Safety Connect
- Emergency assistance button
- Enhanced roadside assistance
- Automatic collision notification
- Stolen vehicle locator
This suite of services is designed to increase overall safety by offering 24/7 access to a response center agent who can help in an emergency and provide roadside assistance.
In the unfortunate case of an accident, a response center agent will attempt to get in contact with the occupants and contact local emergency services if required.
2. Service Connect
- Vehicle Health Reports
- Vehicle Maintenance Alerts
- Maintenance Reminders
This feature can remind you about service bookings, inform you about any recalls, and give you up-to-date information on the status of your vehicle.
3. Drive Connect
- Access real-time traffic elements
- 24/7 live agents and new voice commands
- On-board assistant
With real-time traffic updates, access to live agents, and an onboard assistant to help navigate routes, Drive Connect means you never have to pull over and ask for directions again. Cloud navigation also makes traffic data available when there’s limited connectivity.
4. Remote Connect
- Start, lock/unlock your doors and more using your compatible smart device
- These features now include Google Assistant™ capability, as well as smartwatch integration
Remote Connect allows you to control various vehicle features through your smartwatch, phone, and even your Alexa home speaker. For electric and plug-in hybrid models, you get additional features like climate settings and battery charge scheduling.
5. Wi-Fi Connect
- Mobile hotspot and Integrated Streaming
- Connected by AT&T, Wi-Fi Connect
- Easily connect up to 5 devices at 4G LTE speeds
- Integrated Streaming for Apple Music and Amazon Music on select 2022 and later models
Integrate and link music streaming accounts and connect up to 5 devices to the onboard Wi-Fi with this service.
So, What Do These Services Cost?
Nothing in life is free, and connected services are no different. Automakers need to make a profit, and in this case, they charge a subscription fee. While some companies offer a short trial period followed by a monthly fee, Toyota decided to do it slightly differently. They now offer a 10-year free trial period on Safety Connect And Service Connect.
Customer backlash at some dubious auto industry subscription fee practices compelled Toyota to introduce an innovative 10-year free trial period on some of its essential connected services. Toyota released this statement in 2022:
"Both Safety Connect and Service Connect will be available with a 10-year trial (4G Network dependent) for owners of select 2023 Toyota vehicles equipped with the new generation Toyota Audio Multimedia System."- Toyota Motor Sales USA
The Toyota models receiving the 10-year Safety Connect and Service Connect trials currently includes:
- 2023 bZ4X
- 2023 Corolla
- 2023 Corolla Hatchback
- 2023 Corolla Cross
- 2023 Crown
- 2023 GR Corolla
- 2023 Highlander
- 2023 RAV4
- 2023 Sequoia
- 2022 + 2023 Tundra
- 2023 Venza
The remaining connected service offerings have differing subscription fees based on the Toyota model you purchase. Below, we cover the most common trial and subscription prices offered:
- Trial period: 1 year (3 years on bZ4X)
- Renewal fee: $16/month
- Trial period: 1 year (3 years on bZ4X and includes digital key)
- Renewal fee: $8/month
- Trial period: 30 day/3GB trial period for Wi-Fi Hotspot
- Trial period: 1-month for Integrated Streaming
- Renewal fee: 3rd Party subscription rates apply (AT&T)
Which Connected Service Is Right For You?
While paying for vehicle features on a subscription basis can take some getting used to, in the case of Toyota, it doesn’t have to equate to a massive additional outlay each month.
Thanks to Toyota’s 10-year trial on the Safety and Service Connect offerings, your decision comes down to which of the three other services you intend to keep after the trial period.
If you’re driving a brand-new model, then you will have a year to decide whether you want to keep using Drive Connect and Remote Connect. The ability to control your vehicle through your smartphone is a neat feature but not an essential one. Real-time traffic data is arguably more useful. But you can replicate this to some extent by linking to Google Maps through your smartphone.
Toyota also offers three connected service plan bundles that cater to differing needs. All three options include Remote Connect and one or more additional services:
- Music Lover – Remote Connect + Integrated Streaming $15/month
- Go Anywhere – Remote Connect + Drive Connect $15/month
- Premium – Remote Connect + Drive Connect + Integrated Streaming $25/month
You can also add Wi-Fi Connect to the mix as an optional add-on for $25/month
If you intend to keep more than one connected service after the initial trial period, then it is more cost-effective to go with one of the above mentioned bundles.
Opting for the Premium package with Wi-Fi Connect is the most expensive route and will set you back $600 each year. If you’re happy to do without the Wi-Fi add-on and use your smartphone’s data instead, then one of the other packages is a better bet.
Connected service offerings and package prices are constantly being updated. The information mentioned here is correct as of September 2023. You can find detailed charts of Toyota's 2022 and 2023 Connected Service offerings and pricing below:
Olathe Toyota Parts Center - OEM Parts At Wholesale Prices
Whether you plan to make full use of these connected services or not, it’s always a good idea to service and maintain your Toyota with OEM parts.