OnStar Coming to More Cars

By David Thomas  on January 5, 2011

https://www.cstatic-images.com/stock/765x765/6/-827363019-1425510177106. General Motors has considered OnStar a strategic advantage for its cars versus the competition; you can get the service pairing live operators with an onboard device only in a new GM car or truck. Its most well-known feature is the much-advertised emergency response, where a stranded motorist talks with an operator until help arrives.
 
Now for $299, virtually any car will be able to get a stand-alone rearview mirror with OnStar built in. They’ll be sold at Best Buy this spring with installation costing between $75 and $100.

Of course, just like with OnStar in GM vehicles, the device is just one part of the equation. Buyers will have to pay for the service either monthly for $18.95 or annually for $199. Right now, only 20 of the most popular-selling cars are certified to work with the mirror, but GM will certify more models before the mirror goes on sale.


Even though the stand-alone OnStar system isn’t tied into your car’s electronic system for crash response, an accelerometer in the mirror will trigger a crash response if the car comes to a sudden stop similar to that of a front, rear or side collision. This likely won’t be as accurate as the system equipped in GM vehicles, but there is a red cross-emblazoned button on the mirror that drivers can press to call the service.
 
The blue OnStar button is there, too, to dial up turn-by-turn navigation, roadside assistance and hands-free calling. You can buy minutes from OnStar and use the mirror as your phone, assisted by an operator. Or you can use the mirror’s built-in Bluetooth to pair with your cell phone; a microphone and a speaker are in the mirror.
 
We wonder if competing manufacturers or their dealers will start offering the mirror as a dealer-installed option. Let us know what you think. Would you be more interested in the OnStar service if it were available in any car?

Car Gadgets General Motors


Managing Editor David Thomas has a thing for wagons and owns a 2010 Subaru Outback and a 2005 Volkswagen Passat wagon.  Email David