Start your Mazda with your smartphone

2016 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Smartphone app allows owners to unlock doors, blare horn remotely

How much would you pay to be able to start your car from your smartphone? Turns out there is now an app for that, and Mazda is betting that you’ll pony up $500 for the privilege, plus $65 annually to keep using it after everything is installed.

Mazda Mobile Start permits owners to start and stop their engines from “virtually anywhere,” which does come in handy in temperature extremes when the owner may want to cool off the interior or to warm up the car. The app will also allow the owners to lock and unlock the car’s doors and activate the panic alarm. It includes the Carfinder feature, which will let you locate your car with a map displayed on your smartphone.

“Mazda Mobile Start comes with more than just the features and functions of the app; it also comes with peace of mind,” said Trisha Quezada, manager of accessories, sales and marketing at Mazda North America. “Mazda Mobile Start was created with convenience and safety in mind to enhance the overall driving experience that matters so much to our customers.”

Mazda remote starter app

Since the app will work from anywhere you can get a cell signal, we expect it will let you start your car or blare its horn while bored at a rooftop bar in Hong Kong while the car itself is in the long-term parking lot at LAX. Which sounds pretty cool until you consider the fact that the ability to start your car, activate its panic alarm or unlock the doors from half a world away without the app making you reconfirm commands several times — like Uber does to make sure you’re mostly sober while agreeing to surge pricing — can be a bit tempting.

It remains to be seen how Mazda owners will take to the annual $65 fee to keep using the app once everything is installed.

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