With modern Vauxhall cars, owners can access a feature called OnStar which can prove useful in several different ways. In terms of the way it works and the services it provides, it is comparable to the likes of BMW’s ConnectedDrive and Volvo’s On Call.
In this guide, we explain what you need to know about Vauxhall OnStar.
What is OnStar?
Vauxhall OnStar is a concierge service which was launched back in 2015 and supports new Vauxhall cars launched since that year with various features. These services are mainly accessed via a smartphone app, which can be easily downloaded by UK Vauxhall customers who have an appropriate phone and internet access.
The main purposes of OnStar on your Vauxhall is to provide communication and GPS services. It can help with technical queries, alert emergency services if you’re in an accident or even trace your car if it’s stolen.
The OnStar app can also let you (through your smartphone) control various car functions which you’d normally control with your key or buttons around the centre console. Thing you can do with the smartphone app include locking or unlocking your Vauxhall or sounding the horn.
How much is OnStar?
In Britain, Vauxhall provides a year’s free subscription to OnStar with virtually all of its new cars. When one year has passed, the annual subscription to the OnStar service is £79 (at the time of writing).
Bear in mind that the wi-fi hotspot require a 4G signal and this is an extra cost you’ll need to factor in too (the exact cost depends on the exact data plan you go for).
How does OnStar work?
As well as providing concierge service, OnStar is like a cross between smartphone integration and black box recorders which you can get fitted to cars. Information on a Vauxhall customer’s car which is using OnStar is sent to Vauxhall’s command centre in Luton.
So, if for instance you use the OnStar service for technical enquiries or for an emergency call, your call will be answered in person and the call handler should already be aware of where you are and model of car you’re in using the info OnStar provides to them. The black box-like aspect of OnStar also allows Vauxhall’s command centre to keep up to date on any technical issues a customer’s car may be experiencing.
The wi-fi hotspot OnStar provides allows up to seven people in a Vauxhall with OnStar to connect their phone, laptop or tablet to the internet at once.
In summer 2016, Vauxhall OnStar was updated with some extra features including the ability to programme your next journey into the car’s sat-nav remotely and the ability to add comments or a photo to the GPS Vehicle Location function, making it even easier to remember where you parked if necessary. Nowadays, the app also has a timer function that can remind you when a parking ticket is about to expire.
What cars have OnStar?
The OnStar service has been rolled out to virtually all of the cars found in Vauxhall’s current range. At the time of writing, the VXR8 performance saloon is a rare exception. The Antara SUV was another exception but this car ceased production roughly round about the same time OnStar was coming into play for Vauxhall.
If you buy a nearly new Vauxhall from a dealership, there is a possibility that it may not come with OnStar onboard and it’s unfortunately not something which can be retrofitted.