Mazda, which is perhaps the most-awarded car company (by yours truly, of course), is introducing a new mobile app–based suite of remote-control vehicle features dubbed Mazda Mobile Start. Similar to GM’s OnStar app, Mazda Mobile Start (MMS) allows users to remotely start their engine, lock or unlock the doors, fire up the car alarm, and find their car’s location all from a smartphone app.
For now, Mazda Mobile Start is only compatible with the multiple comparison-test-winning Mazda 6 sedan and CX-5 crossover—and only on 2016 models with the automatic transmission. (There are both iOS and Android versions of the app, happily.) The system doesn’t do a whole lot, but for those of us who live where it gets extremely hot or cold, remote start alone makes it worthwhile. (The engine starting function will let the engine run for up to 30 minutes, and it defaults to whatever climate settings the car had when parked—sadly, the app doesn’t allow for remote climate manipulation.) To required modifications to the car itself will cost $500 and require dealer installation; after one year, buyers will need to cough up $65 annually for a subscription to the Mazda Mobile Start app.