Snapshot

  • Toyota Connected Services shifts to 12-month trial period
  • Currently affects upcoming vehicle launches, including the Corolla Cross small SUV
  • No word on the current three-year subscription for existing models

Toyota Australia is preparing to launch an updated version of its in-vehicle Toyota Connected Services technology – with a caveat.

As reported, the all-new Corolla Cross small SUV will arrive in Australia by November with the marque’s enhanced connected-car technology fitted as standard; however, buyers must now pay for a subscription after an initial 12-month trial.

Existing vehicles fitted with the current version of Toyota Connected Services – such as the Camry, HiLux and LandCruiser 300 – feature a complimentary three-year service, which commences from the delivery date.

The company has yet to detail cost and feature availability once the trial period lapses, nearly two years since the Yaris Cross’s launch, which saw the debut of Toyota Connected Services locally in November 2020.

Wheels has contacted Toyota Australia for comment on the downgrade and is awaiting a response. This article will be updated when further information becomes available.

However, a spokesperson for Toyota Australia confirmed it would announce further details on the upgraded Connected Services system at the launch of the Corolla Cross.

It is believed the Corolla Cross is the first Toyota model to shift to a 12-month trial period, with the move likely to extend to updated versions of the RAV4, Corolla hatch and sedan, and Kluger set to launch in the coming months – which will introduce the service for these nameplates.

In addition, there’s no word whether new examples of the current models fitted with Toyota Connected Services will scrap the complimentary three-year period.

This includes the Yaris Cross, Camry, HiLux, Fortuner, HiAce, Granvia and LandCruiser 300.

Toyota Connected Services provides drivers with safety and security features, including stolen vehicle tracking, SOS emergency calling and automatic collision notification.

This is possible through an embedded data communications module (DCM) with a connection to the Telstra 3G/4G mobile network.

The brand’s myToyota Connect application can communicate remotely with the DCM, allowing owners to remotely check their vehicle’s odometer, fuel level, remaining driving range, location, and the status of lights, doors and keys.

A ‘drive pulse’ feature is available to monitor a vehicle’s acceleration, braking and cornering to help improve a driver’s efficiency – which could prove handy for fleet managers.

The move to a 12-month trial follows the recent launch of connected vehicle services from Hyundai and Kia, with both technologies free of charge for the vehicle warranty length.

That means buyers will have complimentary access to Kia Connect for seven years, while Hyundai’s Bluelink is available at no cost for five years.

Kia Connect

FordPass Connect – which debuted locally in 2020 – is free for the life of the modem, according to Ford Australia; however, connected traffic updates are only available for three years.

As with Toyota, all three companies have yet to detail costs and availability once the subscription period expires.

The push for connected technology in mainstream vehicles follows luxury brands BMW and Mercedes-Benz, with ‘My BMW’ and ‘Mercedes me connect’ available on vehicles dating as far back as 2014.

Tesla Model Y infotainment system

In addition, electric vehicle manufacturer Tesla offers connectivity, allowing drivers to stream music and video, view satellite maps and live traffic updates, browse the internet, and perform karaoke while driving – for $9.99 per month, as part of its Premium Connectivity subscription.

Under now-defunct Holden, US car giant General Motors launched its optional OnStar telematics system in Australia with Holden Assist branding in the early 2000s, offering similar features to the connected services offered today.

It was discontinued by 2009, due to low take-up and poor network connectivity in Australia at the time.

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