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.

Continue reading for the full story.

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.

Press Release

Subaru of America, Inc. has announced package and pricing details for its new SUBARU STARLINK™ connected services. STARLINK, the brand’s in-vehicle platform that provides hands-free connectivity, entertainment and safety services, also integrates the touch-screen audio and navigation systems available in select 2016 Subaru models. SUBARU STARLINK connected services are powered by Sirius XM® Connected Vehicle Services, a unit of SiriusXM.

The new safety and security capabilities for 2016 extend the brand’s reputation for providing occupant protection and peace of mind and do so with typical Subaru value. Two STARLINK packages will be available and offer one of the industry’s best values for such connected services. The STARLINK Safety Plus package includes Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Maintenance Notifications, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and Diagnostic Alerts. Subaru customers receive a one-year subscription with the purchase of a new vehicle. After the first year, a two-year subscription is $99, which in some cases is significantly lower than other brands’ connected services.

For even greater peace of mind, customers can subscribe to the STARLINK Safety Plus & Security Plus Package, which adds Stolen Vehicle Recovery Service, Vehicle Security Alarm Notification, Remote Lock/Unlock, Remote Horn and Lights and Remote Vehicle Locator. For the first year, the Safety Plus & Security Plus Package can be added for $49. A two-year subscription is $149 and includes the cost of the Safety Plus subscription and all are notable values among the industry’s connected services offerings.

STARLINK uses built-in AT&T 4G LTE wireless capability and Sirius XM Connected Vehicle Services to provide a comprehensive suite of services. The AT&T network provides the nation’s strongest LTE signal and enables fast access to assistance and GPS location when necessary for emergencies, stolen vehicle recovery, or remote services.

The SUBARU STARLINK system features an easy-to-use interface, using just two buttons to provide 24/7/365 access to STARLINK advisors who can provide help in an emergency or summon roadside assistance.

One reason Subaru sales have been steadily increasing is the brand’s safety reputation, which in large part stems from Subaru vehicles’ outstanding performance in government and IIHS crash tests. One of the key safety services included in both STARLINK packages is Automatic Collision Notification, which contacts a STARLINK advisor in the event of an airbag deployment. If there is no response from vehicle occupants, the STARLINK advisor can contact emergency responders and direct them to the location.

For a non-crash emergency, pressing the SOS button can connect assistance from a STARLINK advisor in the USA or Canada. Should Roadside Assistance be needed, STARLINK will relay the vehicle’s location to service providers.

STARLINK also monitors the vehicle’s mechanical health, automatically checking up to 14 critical systems and sending an email alert if a problem is detected. The email can direct the owner to the nearest Subaru service provider. As another diagnostic feature, the owner can choose to have STARLINK email a monthly report on key vehicle systems.

Later in the model year, Subaru customers will be able to access remote services via a website and mobile app, which will be available free for iOS and Android compatible devices. The app will provide access to remote services, user preferences, diagnostic alerts and other features of the STARLINK Safety Plus and the optional STARLINK Safety Plus & Security Plus packages.

STARLINK Multimedia
STARLINK can deliver live traffic alerts through SiriusXM Traffic TM and travel information through SiriusXM Travel LinkTM. It provides access to Sirius XM’s wide variety of commercial-free music, plus premier sports, comedy, news talk and entertainment.

The system is also designed to work seamlessly with the in-car head unit to tap into nearly unlimited entertainment through apps such as Pandora®, iHeartRadio®, Stitcher and Aha™. It can also display texts and allow the driver to use voice commands for music and navigation.

STARLINK 6.2” Multimedia, with 6.2-inch touch screen, is the standard head unit in many 2016 Subaru models. STARLINK 7.0” Multimedia, featuring multi-gesture touch controls, is also available, and STARLINK Multimedia Navigation is an option for some models.

About Sirius XM Connected Vehicle Services Inc.
Sirius XM Connected Vehicles Services Inc., a unit of Sirius XM Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRI), is a leading provider of connected vehicles services to BMW, Honda, Lexus, Nissan, Acura, Infiniti, Hyundai, and Toyota, and gives customers access to a suite of safety, security, and convenience services including automatic crash notification, stolen vehicle recovery assistance, enhanced roadside assistance and turn-by-turn navigation.

Sirius, XM, SiriusXM and all related marks and logos are trademarks of Sirius XM Radio Inc, and its subsidiaries.

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