OnStar isn’t anything new to the market by any means, they GM has been offering it in a lot of its vehicles for years now. In fact it was introduced back in 1995. In all of that time I actually haven’t had the chance to play around with it so I was excited to do that with the Trax. Onstar is an interesting service you have three buttons under your rear view mirror and in the case of the Trax it also integrates a little with the touch screen monitor. They have also recently introduced an app for your phone but because there it so much to that I’m actually going to talk about that in my next section.
Basically OnStar provides you a few emergency, security, navigation, and diagnostic services. In addition they have a few things like their new OnStar AtYourService and the RemoteLink mobile app. I think a lot of you know about their emergency services. Basically if you are ever in an accident the car will automatically know and you will be connected right with a OnStar rep that will help talk you through situations and get you help. This is especially nice because they have your location via the GPS so they can get someone to you quickly. You can also just push the button and call for help as well. This even extends all the way to dealing with bad weather if for example you need an escape route or if something happens they can even contact family for you. The other cool emergency feature is their roadside assistance, you can call them if you get locked out of your car and they will unlock it for you for example. The service also will get you a free tow, flat tire change, jump start, or even a little gas if you run out. Being a new car we didn’t really need to use this at all but looking back on the drive I did run into a situation where I should have used this service. We drove by a large RV sitting in the fast lane going down a mountain on 75, as you can imagine that is not a very safe place to be, the semi-truck in front of us barely missed it. I could have and should have used the SOS button to call for help for them to at least get a cop out to direct traffic around.
If for some reason your car is stolen a call to OnStar can turn off the ignition or slow the car down to help the police stop them. They can also use the GPS to pinpoint where the car is as well for recovery.
The navigation part of OnStar I put to use for a good portion of our trip. You can get turn by turn directions over your radio by calling an advisor and telling them where you are looking to go or by using the RemoteLink app. Using the adviser is especially interesting because they can go as far as booking a hotel for you using their partnership with Priceline and then send the directions to your car to get you there. That concierge like service is what they call OnStar AtYourService. For someone tech focused like me I’m perfectly fine looking up where I want to go, but I imagine this is much easier for people who prefer to talk to someone. It’s basically like having an assistant for a little while.
OnStar also includes some hands free calling minutes with its service and if you need it you can actually add more. I gave this a try during my testing. Trying to input the number handsfree was a little bit of a pain but the call was clear and easy. I was even able to get a call back on the same number and it rang inside the car showing the number calling on the radio touchscreen. Much like some of the other features it is a little redundant with nearly everyone carrying a cell phone, but when included with everything else it was still a nice feature. Especially if you ever lose or break your cell phone when out and about or traveling.