What do I miss out on if I never use the ‘Connect’ features of my new Prime?

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by El Cuajinais, Mar 8, 2022.

  1. El Cuajinais

    El Cuajinais Junior Member

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    Hey all. I will take delivery of a Prius Prime XLE on Saturday and currently I’m leaning heavily towards not using any ‘connect’ features. My reasons are:

    1. I don’t like monthly payments

    2. I’ve heard that if you cancel your subscription after you’ve started it can be more difficult to fix some specific issues. Something related to the Rav4 but I forgot what it was.

    3. Right now cars that used the 3G network to connect are losing these features as the 3G network is phased out of existence. So it seems in the end the connected features will not last the life of the car anyway.

    4. Concern about the possibly of hacking exploits. Especially now with the craziness going on with Russia and independent hackers.

    I’m sure I can search for manuals for more info on the features I would be missing out on but I would like to ask real-world users: Can you share your thoughts on whether the Safety Connect, Toyota Connect, or whatever other service that connects the Prime with the your phone / internet are worth it to you? Thanks.
     
  2. BiomedO1

    BiomedO1 Active Member

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    I believe Toyota Safety Connect is free for the first year; but you should opt.-out of the auto insurance portion. This car reads road signs and knows when your speeding, tailgating, ect.. The program is buggy; but you should try it out and see if it's worth the $8 a month, after your year is up. For me, charge status and seeing if I forgot to lock the doors or roll up the windows was helpful - IMHO; it wasn't worth the monthly charge. If you live in snow country, the climate prep may be worth it.
     
  3. MalachyNG

    MalachyNG Active Member

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    1. You get 3 years free and you can cancel it any time before. After that is an annual fee

    2. I bought a used 2016 Prius and had no trouble activating safety connect a few months later. If was $50 for a year.

    3. The Prime uses 4G it won't be impacted by 3G shutdown

    4. The remote systems aren't tied to any essential parts of the car. Your data however could possibly be obtained just like the data your cell phone sends over the networks.

    Safety connect offers a few things you may find useful - the car can automatically call 911 if you're in an accident. You can press am SOS button and be connected with emergency services which the system will automatically relay your location to or to call for roadside assistance (included with the subscription. Will tow you to a Toyota dealership, help with a flat, etc) or get navigation assistance. I used it a couple of times in my 2016 Prius. Once to call roadside assistance, another to report an accident. Both could have been accomplished with my phone and I think I did have to change to my phone on one because a gps recall was needed and my location wasn't accurate from safety connect.

    For the prime the connected services also includes some integration with the Toyota cell phone app - seeing charge status, starting a charge if it's plugged in already and waiting for a scheduled charge, seeing odometer and cruising range, and starting heat/air preconditioning. It's not as good as other Toyotas as there's no proper remote start or options to lock/unlock doors through the app.

    So if you can live without that stuff you can certainly cancel or choose not to renew after the free trial
     
    #3 MalachyNG, Mar 8, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2022
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  4. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    I opted out of the Connected Service on my 2020 PP LE and now on 2021 PP Ltd, but mostly because of my desire not to be "connected" while I am in the car, not for the reasons you have listed. Without Connected Service which mainly applies to Safety Connect but also applies to a few other features, your car will lose the ability to communicate with the "mothership" via telematics in the car. Thus, you will not be able to call SOS in case of emergency, you can't use the Connect Service feature such as remote climate control via Toyota App.

    1. That being said, you do have I believe free 3 years of Connected Service on your XLE. The LE comes with only 1 year, IIRC.
    2. I have not heard of any incidence that canceling the Connected Service subscription after you’ve started causing difficulty in fixing "specific issues". I have to wonder what specific issues you have heard of this? On the other hand, I have heard more difficulty in keeping the subscription after the promotion period ends.
    3. The PP's Connected Service (since 2017 Advanced model) uses 4G LTE, not 3G. It will not be affected by decommissioning of 3G in near future, and it is very unlikely that 4G LTE will be decommissioned any time soon.
    4. Hacking exploits is certainly possible, but most of the cases so far I have heard of are related to the smart key system not the Connected Service.
    Here is my write-up on how I opt-out from the Saftey Connect on my 2020 PP LE. I did a similar thing on my current 2021 Ltd, but since I never activated the connected service on my 2021 PP or installed Toyota App, Toyota HQ said I did not have to call them to "opt-out" the connected service. I am not sure if that is true or not... but for now, I don't have Toyota APP, and my key fob Remote A/C stopped working.
    No more Entune for 2020 Prius Prime, but... | PriusChat
     
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  5. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    More than anything else, I use the remote feature to warm up the car interior on cold mornings when the widows are frosted over. I have no idea what is used to create the heat for the defrosters... I recall hearing that if I turn on the front defroster the engine is started so that heat is quickly available. Without the defrosters, the car uses the heat pump to warm the interior. It's real nice to get into a warm car without having to scrape the windows.

    I have never used the SOS feature. I have used the "charging state" and find it to be useful. As others have noted, the Connect service uses 4G. Unfortunately, the 5G service is taking over some towers that were previously 3g + 4G, so there may be spotty coverage in our future.
     
  6. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Just FYI, the remote climate feature uses the heat pump and traction battery. The front defroster setting is basically the high fan speed at the highest heat temp directed to the windshield. Unlike pushing the defrost button on the dash when the car is READY, remote climate does not turn on the engine. Therefore it only works if the ambient temp is above 14F. It works near 32F, and where you live, it may be a useful feature on occasional cold days and light frost. The feature does not work in our climate in the North where the "cold" day means below 14F. In fact, the heat pump is not very effective defrosting the frozen ice or melting snow in the below-freezing to 20sF, so I have totally abandoned the use of the remote climate or climate pre-conditioning features on my car.
     
    #6 Salamander_King, Mar 8, 2022
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2022
  7. dbstoo

    dbstoo Active Member

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    Thanks for the input SK. I don't go places where the temps fall much below freezing. I can tell you that it worked fine yesterday when it was 34 degrees and had thick frost on the front and rear windows. It was unusual in that 1) I did not plug in my car last night and 2) I could hear the heating system running as I approached the car. I usually don't hear it when I'm cooling the car during the summer afternoons.
     
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  8. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, even in Canada @Tideland Prius reported the feature works fine if the car is parked in a garage. I am not sure if his garage is heated or not, but in my area, if the car is parked outside, the remote climate does almost nothing for me. Pure waste of energy. I'd much rather keep the traction battery full and minimize the use of already high-cost electricity.
     
  9. MalachyNG

    MalachyNG Active Member

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    Your fob ac button doesn't work now? I thought Toyota walked back that idea is coupling fob remote start with a subscription
     
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  10. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, that's what I read too. It could be just a coincidence. In fact, I don't even know if the fob Remote A/C was working on my 2021 PP Ltd, to begin with. I never used it until after I called Toyota to ask them to opt-out of the Connected Service. Either way, I don't miss it. It is not a useful feature for me at all.
     
  11. MalachyNG

    MalachyNG Active Member

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    I've found my fob has a pretty short range, the car doors need to be locked and i gotta hold it until the car beeps. I do use it sometimes if I interrupt scheduled preconditioning to put something in the car but want to go back in to get my coffee before I need to leave for work. I can restart it with the fob while I'm walking back to the house.
     
  12. Salamander_King

    Salamander_King Senior Member

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    Yeah, I know how the fob Remote A/C works. I tried it on my 2017 PP several times. It worked as it was supposed to, but the results were not very satisfying. I don't think I ever tried using it on my 2020 PP. On my 2021 PP, I had no reason to believe it behaves any differently than previous versions, so I never used it. Then I tried once when someone asked about the remote A/C. That's when I found out it does not work. It was after I called Toyota HQ to opt-out from the Connected Service, so I thought that was the reason. But... it may not.
     
  13. Prim.e.xample

    Prim.e.xample Member

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    I never activated my feee subscription even after getting bugged to do so. I think I voided it after so long. I don’t think it’s worth it subscription-wise, feature-wise, and privacy-wise.
     
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  14. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    I have a 21 Prime since last July

    For what it is worth, the app has been very useful.
    It took a while to realize that doors need to be locked to use preheat/precool.
    But every morning, I will preheat the prime in the detached unheated garage.
    Takes about 5 minutes to see inside temps rise from the app and a total of 10 min until it shuts off automatically.
    This is for driving my kiddies to school. Amazing. Sometimes when cold, I will preheat for the misses to pick em up!!! haha

    We rarely see temps in the teens here, so in the 20s and 30s it is fabulous
    I also used it last summer to cool while charging/end of charging at a level 2 under the sun.

    I can also use key fob to activate but I have to get closest to garage in my home. about 40ft

    Using the App to see remaining charge (or remaining time left on charging) is very useful.

    Im a cheapskate (or frugal?), so if and when it takes money to use this currently free feature, I may just pass,
    but will revisit the usefulness to see if deemed necessary.

    Oh, and I routinely unplug the alexa in my home from time to time (misses hates that!)(no longer pay for amzn membership lol)
     
  15. dig4dirt

    dig4dirt MoonGlow

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    I have a 21 Prime since last July

    For what it is worth, the app has been very useful.
    It took a while to realize that doors need to be locked to use preheat/precool.
    But every morning, I will preheat the prime in the detached unheated garage.
    Takes about 5 minutes to see inside temps rise from the app and a total of 10 min until it shuts off automatically.
    This is for driving my kiddies to school. Amazing. Sometimes when cold, I will preheat for the misses to pick em up!!! haha

    We rarely see temps in the teens here, so in the 20s and 30s it is fabulous
    I also used it last summer to cool while charging/end of charging at a level 2 under the sun.

    I can also use key fob to activate but I have to get closest to garage in my home. about 40ft

    Using the App to see remaining charge (or remaining time left on charging) is very useful.

    Im a cheapskate (or frugal?), so if and when it takes money to use this currently free feature, I may just pass,
    but will revisit the usefulness to see if deemed necessary.

    Oh, and I routinely unplug the alexa in my home from time to time (misses hates that!)(no longer pay for amzn membership lol)
     
  16. El Cuajinais

    El Cuajinais Junior Member

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    Thanks to all that wrote. I took delivery of the car on Saturday and for my situation I think I will do without it. Remote A/C works fine from the keyfob. I guess it would be cool to turn the climate ON from very far when I'm downtown or at the mall and starting to walk towards the car. But I don't go out enough to justify the eventual price / privacy concerns. Also the heated seats help for the cold climate anyway.

    I'm loving this car! And the best part? No infernal beeping when in reverse! Not even the single beep I have on my other Prii that I had to connect the OBD II to fix.

    Thanks again everyone!
     
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