Subaru Adds STARLINK Packages Starting 2016 Model Year
Subaru has just announced details on its new STARLINK connected services suite platform, which provides new car owners with a slew of features for enhanced convenience, entertainment and safety. The system integrates touch-screen audio and navigation systems where available, and utilizes SiriusXM for connectivity.
For safety, Subaru will offer the Safety Plus package, which includes Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Maintenance Notifications, a Monthly Vehicle Health Report and Diagnostic Alerts. The service is free for one year with the purchase of a new vehicle, and will cost $99 for a two-year subscription afterwards.
There’s also the Safety Plus & Security Plus package, which adds to the above features with Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, Vehicle Security Alarm Notification, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Horn and Lights and Remote Vehicle Locater. This package is $49 for the first year and $149 for a two-year subscription afterwards.
Later in the model year, Subaru will offer a free mobile app (iOS and Android supported) and website access to remote services, user preferences, diagnostic alerts and other features in the Safety Plus and Safety Plus & Security Plus packages.
For media, STARLINK will provide live traffic alerts and travel information, as well as access to the range of SiriusXM programming, such as music, sports, comedy and news talk. The system will also integrate with apps like Pandora, iHeartRadio, Stitcher and Aha for further entertainment options.
STARLINK will come equipped on the 6.2-inch touch screen, the standard head unit in many new Subaru models. There will also be an available 7-inch multi-touch screen, while STARLINK Multimedia Navigation will be an option on limited models. The system uses a wireless 4G LTE connection through AT&T.
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Why it matters
While many makes are rushing to offer the latest and greatest infotainment software, Subaru’s approach seems mostly concerned with maintaining the status quo. The STARLINK system looks to be mostly centered on safety and convenience, which makes sense given the automaker’s track record of providing peace of mind through highly utilitarian vehicles with tip-top crash ratings.
The STARLINK system looks to be mostly centered on safety and convenience, which makes sense given the automaker’s track record of providing peace of mind through highly utilitarian vehicles with tip-top crash ratings.
Throw in Subaru’s famous AWD system, which boosts confidence when tackling less-than-ideal road conditions, and things like available roadside assistance and collision notification underline this philosophy.
Of course, there is some conciliation to entertainment, but you don’t get much – just the usual round of SiriusXM options plus the typical third-party app support. It’s pretty much standard fair for the industry nowadays.
However, Subaru gets away with this for a number of reasons, most prominently the price. The subscription fees Subaru has outlined are highly competitive. For example, OnStar, which can be found on Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC models, can cost upwards of $350 per year.
The other reason is target audience. Putting the WRX and STIto one side, no one buys a Subaru because it’s a status symbol. People buy Subarus because they are safe, reliable, and offer good value for the money. They are tools of transportation. This basic infotainment system reinforces that idea.