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Would You Pay A Monthly Fee For Remote Start? New Subaru Models Already Require It

Would you pay a monthly fee to unlock new Subaru model features like remote start? New Subaru models already require it.


Would you pay a monthly fee to use the heated seats in your new 2022 Subaru Forester, Outback, or Crosstrek? A report from Kelly Blue Book says it’s a business plan some automakers have explored. Analysts from Cox Automotive surveyed consumers who intend to purchase a vehicle in the next two years and found that most car buyers are unwilling to pay a monthly fee to unlock luxury features.

Surprisingly, 25 percent of those surveyed were willing to pay a monthly fee to access some features. More than 80 percent would consider paying more for added safety features, like automatic emergency braking. They’d pay up to $35 a month to activate them.

2022 Subaru Forester, 2022 Subaru Crosstrek, 2022 Subaru Outback

Those willing to pay for added performance would pay $20 to $25 per month. Shoppers willing to pay for creature comforts like heated-and-cooled seats or remote start would pay $15 to $31 per month.

When we looked into Subaru of America’s models, we found the Camden, N.J. automaker has not just explored the idea. New models require a connected services subscription to unlock the remote start feature.

Would You Pay A Monthly Fee For Remote Start? New Subaru Models Already Have It

According to the Kelly Blue Book study, every 2022 Subaru model, including the 2022 Subaru Forester, Outback, and Crosstrek, has remote start available on many trim levels. KKB says only the 2022 Subaru BRZ requires a Subaru Starlink connected services subscription to activate it.

We found that all new Subaru models come with a three-year Starlink trial subscription to Safety Plus services. The service includes remote start and a six-month trial subscription to Safety and Security Plus services for personal assistance with navigation, restaurant reservations, and scheduling service appointments.

After the three-year trial subscription, new Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other new model owners have to pay for features like remote start, advanced automatic collision notification, and SOS emergency assistance features.

Subaru doesn’t charge customers extra for the brand’s EyeSight safety technology with automatic emergency braking and creature comforts like heated-and-cooled seats or a heated steering wheel.

If you buy a 2022 Forester, Outback, Crosstrek, and other new Subaru models, you don’t pay for remote start and other unique safety features, but they are only accessible for three years.

You Might Also Like: Why You Should Avoid New Subaru Forester, Crosstrek, Outback Base Trim Levels

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru USA


Jeff Stone (not verified)    April 27, 2022 - 10:33PM

I can't even get these remote and Starlink features in Massachusetts because of the ongoing dispute between Subaru and a Massachusetts law requiring open access to diagnostic codes, etc. However I think there would be a literal uprising if any manufacturer dared charge a monthly fee to use something you purchased like heated seats that are already in the car. Subarus loyal fans would vanish rather quickly.

Fran Harris (not verified)    October 14, 2022 - 3:39PM

In reply to by Jeff Stone (not verified)

We haven’t even taken delivery of our 2023 Outback Touring and I’m already pondering what we will switch to in a couple of years. I wish I had read this before buying. I absolutely will not pay Elon Musk to use those features.

Jerry Pearson (not verified)    March 8, 2023 - 7:19PM

In reply to by Jeff Stone (not verified)

I bought a 2019 Subaru Ascent for $43,000.00 and was shocked to discover I had to pay $149.00 per year for the remote auto start. I will not by another Subaru for that reason. I hope they enjoy the 149 bucks because that’s what it costs to lose a customer.

David (not verified)    April 27, 2022 - 11:39PM

You are not entirely correct about Subaru Starlink connected Services. The three year free trial is Safety Plus which does not include remote start. The next upgrade is Security Plus which includes remote start, other remote features such as lock, unlock, locate, or send navigation destination to vehicle map, as well as theft protection features. While there is a 6 month free trial available, most take the $75 for 3 year plan. The service that does restaurant reservations, navigation assistance, scheduling appointments is called Concierge. It is a third level of the Plan and is not as widely enrolled in as Safety and Security Plus.

Joe (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 9:19AM

In reply to by David (not verified)

There is another option to add a dealer installed hardware remote start which does not require a subscription or an app to activate. There may be third party aftermarket options as well. Do better research.

J (not verified)    April 29, 2022 - 8:25AM

In reply to by Joe (not verified)

I just bought a 22 outback xt, when comparing the price for remote start installed (hardware) vs the subscription service the prices were comparable and the hardware version had limitations (no climate control, only basic remote start). I'm not a fan of subscription services at all but in this case it actualyl made more sense.

Larry (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 7:58AM

Considering a bunch of this article describes Subaru's offerings it's surprising so much of the detail is wrong. David's comment below is much more accurate.

Sean Burnside (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 9:16AM

This is honestly appalling. I hope other manufacturers don't take Subaru's lead. People already pay for these features when they get their eyes ripped out at the dealership. To make people pay extra for SAFETY features is just plain criminal. I'm not touching Subaru with a 10ft pole now.

Tim (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 4:26PM

In reply to by Sean Burnside (not verified)

Subaru is NOT taking the lead on this stuff - they are following. I believe that BMW tested heated seats as a subscription a few years ago. The idea was that every car would have heated seats built-in but you have to pay a monthly (or annual fee) to have it work. Someone on Reddit recently posted about driving an Audi in Europe and having the AC locked-out because it was a pay as you go feature.

Eric Townsend (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 11:13AM

We have this on our 2021 Crosstrek and it fails to work over 50% of the time. It's a terrible implementation that Subaru has yet to fix.

Carl (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 11:23AM

This is only true if you don't have the remote start module and remote. You can still get that on these Subarus independent of the Starlink remote start feature.

Karen Wehrhahn (not verified)    April 29, 2022 - 8:21AM

In reply to by Carl (not verified)

I asked about the remote start key fob and was told at the dealership it was an additional $850 cost to add the fob as the STARLINK app was the new standard ore remote access

Bob (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 2:28PM

My hope is that if these features aren't enabled (paid for), that they remain firewalled off and less vulnerable to hackers. But given the "fobrob" exploit, I rather doubt that that is the case. Even worse (2017) "it’s being reported that the attacker can also brick the owner’s own key fob with an integer overrun and render the user’s own key fob useless."

Perhaps Subaru needs to spend more money on software development, and less money on rally cars.

eclark (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 3:28PM

I have a 2019 Crosstrek and remote engine start is available through Starlink subscription (second tier, security +) as well.
Convenient in the winter but I hate that I have to pay for subscription of a feature that it already has. I used my discounted price to try but I cancelled after it ran out.

Danny (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 8:22PM

My 3 years just ended and I opted for Compustar remote start from Best Buy for around $259. Forget monthly payments!

Dan Keane (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 8:56PM

This Starlink System is similar to GM’s Onstar, but for a fraction of the price. As a Subaru salesperson and recent purchaser of a new Subaru Forester, this upgrade to your vehicle ownership experience is a no-brainer for anyone buying a new Subaru. So many Safety and Security systems included for about 50 cents a week for up to 7 years out of the gate. You can bet I bought the full max 7 yr introductory package for max savings. Both my wife and I love the remote start right from our phones along with climate control settings prior to starting the car. And this is just the tip of the iceberg!

alex (not verified)    April 28, 2022 - 9:39PM

Let it be clear subaru offers regular remote start with a physical remote, no monthly subscription needed. You can pay for a year of Starlink services that include remote start from your smartphone, also can unlock the doors. It's honestly great to have the ability to turn on your vehicle and have it warm while you're checking out at the store and it's -40 outside. Also Ram has a similar subscription to use their remote start as well.

Mike B (not verified)    April 29, 2022 - 12:03AM

This is a little misleading. You only need the subscription if you want to remote start over the internet using the app. Regular remote start using the key fob doesn't require a subscription.

Mary (not verified)    April 29, 2022 - 8:32AM

Have a Subaru on order from Japan - will cancel if safety features or any other basic features are on subscription. Once I buy a car, it is mine and I don't want to be required to pay whatever price a manufacturer decides it can get from a captive audience. I have my own roadside service and can use Android Auto as long as it doesn't cost anything to hook up to the console. So I don't need to be linked to a manufacturer.

Angela (not verified)    April 29, 2022 - 3:20PM

I was thinking about buying a Subaru but just by reading this as heated seats is a option you pay for when purchasing a vehicle you shouldn't have to pay a monthly fee to use that option.. ridiculous I think I have just changed my mind on this vehicle to my second choice

Myles Ramos (not verified)    May 2, 2022 - 11:10AM

Hilariously misleading. The Subaru hate is real. Everything they do there’s nothing but negativity coming from here and now they’re not being honest?

Phil (not verified)    May 5, 2022 - 10:10AM

It is amazing how off the information is and how people just believe everything they read. I work for Subaru and have for several years. Subaru star link is nothing more than Subaru‘s version of On star which has been around for years on American vehicles. There is not one safety feature that you have to pay to get unlocked. The pre-collision braking system comes standard in every new automatic transmission Subaru on the market and items like Blindspot detection and reverse automatic braking are optional equipment just like they are on all other brands. As for the remote start on every automatic vehicle there is an option given upon purchase either you can pay to have a remote start installed with a key fob which is at a minimum $450 I believe and it can come like that from the factory or dealer installed or …. You can pay to upgrade your star link from the basic package to allow for remote start, lock and unlock, and climate control from your cell phone. People who tend to lease vehicles for three years or keep them until the 3year bumper to bumper warranty runs out would much rather pay a $75 subscription than an additional $450 to have remote start on their vehicle. That is why it is offered plus in most cases it is better than the fob remote start especially if you would like to remote start your vehicle without line of sight. As for paying a subscription to unlock additional features like heated seats etc. that is not a model that Subaru is using. So before all you Subaru fans start bashing Subaru and saying that you’re not buying another one these are the real facts.

Mark (not verified)    September 8, 2022 - 4:45PM

In reply to by Phil (not verified)

After three years, Subaru doubles the price to $150 for a single year. So I basically have a remote start on my vehicle, but can't use it unless I fork over $150/year. What a joke. Last Subaru for me. Gaming customers for a small bump in revenue is beyond lame. Shame on Subaru!