A large number of 2010-2018 Lexus vehicles have lost all convenience and safety features tied to the Lexus Inform service now that 3G is being phased out in the U.S. by major mobile networks. This is bad news for owners of certain — and relatively new — Lexus models that relied on the old wireless standard for features such as remote lock/unlock, remote start, and stolen vehicle tracking.
The Lexus support site says that there are no plans to retrofit modern cellular radios that operate on newer mobile networks (such as LTE or 5G) in the affected models. The only component not being affected is the navigation system, but almost the entire gamut of Lexus Enform services equipped on certain Lexus models was tied to 3G, which major telecomm companies began sunsetting earlier this year.
The gradual 3G wind-down process has now become a hard cutoff for owners of all Lexus models from 2010-2017, and the 2018 Lexus GX. There are a handful of exceptions here and there, but those mostly have to do with cars that lacked wireless connectivity in the first place.
The services going offline are Lexus Enform Safety Connect, Lexus Enform Destination Assist, Lexus Enform Remote and Lexus Enform Service Connect.
Safety Connect included automatic collision notifications, an emergency assistance button, enhanced roadside assistance and a stolen vehicle locator; Destination Assist enabled a 24-hour live response line to help if you got lost; Remote included, uh, remote vehicle start/stop, lock/unlock, vehicle finder, guest driver monitor, Alexa or Google Assistant and, worst of all, key fob start; finally, Service Connect included vehicle health reports and maintenance alerts.
The services are officially terminated as of October 31, and Lexus will give prorated refunds to customers who had active subscriptions. Some features are being migrated to the Lexus App Suiteincluding Alexa and Destination Search, but this doesn’t seem as fully-featured as the outgoing Lexus Enform systems.
It’s not like the 3G shutdown was covered up or unexpected, but it’s still going to be a rude awakening for owners. Many of whom have come to expect these features and amenities, which wireless connectivity enabled in their luxury cars — features that they paid for.
Of course, the caveat here is these features were available when owners bought their cars from 2010-2018, and there’s no explicit guarantee that anything reliant on tech or telecomm will last forever, but this stings a bit. Especially when it comes to services that don’t have to piggyback off mobile networks to work — like anything having to do with a key fob, which can use shortwave or line-of-sight comms.
It’s hard to fault Lexus or Toyota — some Toyota models are also losing features tied to 3G — for something that’s out of their control, but it still seems like an oversight. When reached for comment to confirm whether there were any plans for a retrofit in the future, Lexus said there are no plans to offer or sell updated hardware to restore connectivity.
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