If you want new car features like the ability to remote start via an app or have a WiFi hotspot onboard without buying a new car, then Ford’s new SmartLink is one way to add them. Chrysler has offered WiFi and other features as a part of Uconnect since 2008, while GM followed on most vehicles in 2014 but Ford’s Sync platform leaned more on customer’s own devices. Now, owners of 2010 – 2016 model year Ford and Lincoln vehicles without a built-in modem can add a 4G LTE connection that plugs into the car’s OBD-II diagnostic port underneath the steering wheel.
It connects to Verizon’s wireless networks, but we’re not sure how much it has in common with the $15-per month Verizon Vehicle platform that launched a couple of years ago. The SmartLink promises a WiFi hotspot, plus smartphone-based remote start, lock and unlock, vehicle health and security notifications, and location assistance. Third parties like Samsung, Onstar and others also offer various devices, but not all of them have all of these features. There’s no word on the pricing, but it will be available via dealers starting this summer.