So I got a new (very tech-y) car

Dh promised years ago to get me a new car when he retired… and last week, somewhat impulsively, he came through. I absolutely adore my new car, even though it’s much bigger than I was shooting for.

Also, it’s got a lot of bells and whistles that I’m not sure I’ll use. So I’m trying to figure out what features I should continue and which ones I’ll let lapse. For example, do I still need Onstar when I have Roadside Assistance thru my insurance? Do I need Sirius XM when I have Apple CarPlay? Do I need wifi when I can put apps on the “Infotainment” screen?

I’m not a big music while driving person, but I do like being able to tell my car to send or read texts. I also like the navigation on the big screen in front of me instead of on my phone.

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For OnStar on GM vehicles, Compare Plans & Prices for OnStar and Connected Services shows the price and features of each plan.

During the trial period, you can see if you actually use any of the extra cost features and find it to be worth paying for. If you find none of the extra cost features to be worth paying for, just let the trial period expire.

Looks like SiriusXM would be separate subscription if you wanted it.

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So what do I need wifi for?

You probably do not. The only cases that I can see wanting car wifi is if you regularly have passengers using wifi-only devices, or mobile phones on metered plans that would be more expensive than the car wifi for the amount of use in the car, or mobile phones on plans where you commonly drive into coverage gaps that are covered by the car wifi’s embedded mobile phone service (which is from AT&T). Those do not seem to be common use cases.

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All you need is apple car play - the rest is not worth the money.

Funny you should bring this up. We just got a new car and my husband has been enjoying figuring out all the tech things (have had it a few months and he is still learning stuff). He loves using apple car play and it seems to do everything you could possibly want.

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Curious if you bought or leased? I like all the new safety features of the newer cars, but so much tech in even standard packages concerns me. Too much to go wrong, and expensive to repair after the typical 3 year warranty expires. Our next new car will probably be leased, or possibly exchanged after 3 years which we never do.

I don’t think anyone other than us will be in the car very often, and we have unlimited data on our cells. So you may be right. With Apple CarPlay, I still have to plug the phone into the car in order to see it on the screen though, correct?

Some cars require plugging the phone in, while others support wireless CarPlay (or AndroidAuto).

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I’ve leased before and I wasn’t thrilled w/ it. Having to watch my mileage, worrying over every little scratch, etc. So we bought. It’s a '20, not a '21 and it was a great deal.
My Must Have features were:

  • leather, heated seats
  • back up camera w/ cross traffic warning
  • power hands free lift gate
  • blind spot warning
    Everything else was great if it had it, but wasn’t a deal breaker. Most important was that it had enough leg and head room in both the front and the back for my DH (6 ft 5 in) and my sons (both 13 yr old and 20 yr old are 5 ft 10 in), without compromising cargo space.
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Preferences differ, but this is one I would happily pay for. Onstar and similar systems on other makes does more than just give you someone to call for a tow. It is integrated into crash sensors in the car and will call for help in the event of a crash exceeding a certain threshold. Even if you can’t make the call. Plus with GPS it knows exactly where to send help. See Automatic Crash Response Service Information | OnStar

I’ve had a similar system on our cars the past 10 years or so and I’ve fortunately never needed it, but it gives me peace of mind. I paid for it for a couple of years on a car after the 4-year subscription that came with that car ran out (until I sold the car).


I have Sirius and apple car play on one of my cars. The other doesn’t have that option. We listen to both, where I live the cell phone coverage can be spotty so streaming on my phone isn’t a great option.

But I will only pay for the Sirius when it’s cheap. If they send me a cheap offer, I figure why not.

I have a Subaru so no onstar but I decided not to extend the emergency service system. Don’t remember why.

@ChaosParent23 what kind of vehicle did you purchase? Curious?

I have a Subaru Outback which I like but don’t love. Would like to “upgrade”. I find my Outback noisy. And I’d really like to get the lane assist, adapted cruise control and apple car play. Very privileged of me lol!

I ended up w/ a Buick Enclave. It’s ginormous!!! LOL
I also looked at the Toyota Highlander and the Nissan Pathfinder. LOVED the Highlander but my DH just barely fit. Any little bump in the road and his head would hit the ceiling. The Pathfinder was very nice, very roomy, and a great price for all that comes w/ it, but I was just “eh” about it. My last car was a Nissan Rogue and I really liked it, but it definitely doesn’t drive as smoothly as the Buick. I can go over the massive speed bump at my local grocery and barely feel anything in my Buick!

You can get special offers by calling and asking. My car came with a 6 mos trial and before it arrived I searched on the web to see what deals people are able to get. In January I got a 1 year contract for $72 total with all taxes and fees. I just mentioned I have a music service on my phone and said I couldn’t extend Sirius unless the cost was reasonable, and I ended up with $6/mos.

One gotcha is they sign you up for the auto-renewal plan at “the then current rates” so its important to make a calendar reminder 2 weeks or so before your deal expires and call. I did this on my last car. I explained I would have to cancel unless I could keep the discount rate, and so they did that.

For the most part, you probably won’t need On Star. It’s handy if you crash in a rural area and there’s no one around. They can call authorities and transmit your last known coordinates.

Sirius XM…mostly outdated. You probably have a mobile plan with unlimited data, I assume. If you’re a music nut like my teenage daughter, you’d probably die without music on a rural interstate and no cell service. If you’re not, you could probably survive a road trip with an FM radio.

Siri should already have the ability to read and send texts through Apple Car Play. You seriously don’t need a separate wi-fi. All that is is a separate cellular plan. Just plug your phone into the car, and you should have everything you need.

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@ChaosParent23 that’s a nice car! It is big. A friend just got a Cadillac Escalade and that thing practically drives it’s self. But the Enclave is a very nice looking car. Designed by women to be attractive to women.

I got the Sirius thing down pat! They’ve changed so that the stupid pitch is now on line. I’m canceling, ok you want to pay a lot less? Why yes I do! The only people paying full price are those who forget to renegotiate! I’m sure there are plenty of those. I have a sil who has a ton of subscriptions that she forgets to do anything about. I hate to waste money so I don’t have anything I don’t want.

I still like my Sirius. I may be old as dirt but we drive a Volkswagen Passat, which is the ultimate old man car. And I don’t care because that thing is so comfortable to drive!

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@deb922 Thank you!! I do love it, even though I was not expecting to. I told DH it was too big, but he pointed out that we always say we need a bigger car when we’re out as a full family. It drives surprisingly easy for such a big car. I can’t wait to take it on vacation this summer!!

@coolguy40 I do have unlimited, so I’m in agreement w/ you. I’m not a huge fan of music or talk radio while I’m driving anyway. The one thing I can see us doing is streaming live baseball, but even that is on my phone.

One thing I learned today courtesy Sirius… my 13 yr old is a massive U2 fan! I had no idea! They’re my all time favorite band. He and I have clashed so much over the last couple years, I nearly cried.

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