Ford's SYNC Connect lets you start your car with a phone app

Better late than never

Ford Sync Connect

Ford debuted SYNC Connect, its in-car telematics technology, at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week. The technology – enabled through the eponymous app – enables owners of supported vehicles to remotely lock, unlock and start their cars.

Those living in extreme climates, whether cold or hot, can schedule remote starts with the app to get the car warmed up or cooled down before hopping in the car and driving off – just don't remote start the car when its parked in a garage, though.

If you too often forget where you've parked your car, you can easily locate it via the SYNC Connect smartphone app. (It can happen to the best of us on rough days or in unfamiliar places.) SYNC Connect can also report on your car's health, including fuel levels, oil life, battery and tire pressure.

SYNC Connect Mobile App

Let's say Ford is 'fashionably late'

While the telematics features are new to Ford vehicles, the company is late to the telematics party. General Motors offered remote door unlocking via phone call with its OnStar system in the late 1990s, while more recent vehicles have a smartphone app, too.

Hyundai debuted similar functionality with Blue Link a couple years ago, and it even has a companion app for Android Wear and the Apple Watch, too.

Unlike OnStar and Blue Link, SYNC Connect does not offer call-center based services, such as emergency crash notification, turn-by-turn directions or stolen vehicle slow-down services.

SYNC Connect takes advantage of AT&T's LTE network in the US, like GM's OnStar, while Hyundai Blue Link operates on Verizon. The LTE modem employed in vehicles with SYNC Connect technology ensures Ford can easily take advantage of LTE networks around the world.

Ford includes five years of complimentary service to SYNC Connect with a new car purchase, a nice bonus over GM OnStar and Blue Link's one year of complimentary subscription. Ford has not revealed the potential subscription costs after five years yet.

2017 Ford Escape

The 2017 Ford Escape crossover, also known as the Ford Kuga in Europe, will be the first car to feature SYNC Connect technology when it arrives at dealerships next spring. The firm has yet to release its roll-out plan for other models.

Ford revealed the refreshed 2017 Escape this week with revised styling, new driver assist technologies – such as adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning with brake support and a lane-keep assist system – new 1.5-liter and 2.0-liter Ecoboost turbo motors with auto start/stop technology, and the latest SYNC 3 infotainment system.

Article continues below