OnStar, owned by General Motors, has in recent years just been available on GM cars. But in the last year, OnStar has been selling a new product--OnStar FMV, which allows a consumer to put OnStar into any car or truck, though it doesn't have all the services and gee-whiz features of OnStar in a GM vehicle.
The letters FMV stand for "For My Vehicle." Among they services included: Hands-free calling, turn-by-turn navigation, stolen vehicle location assistance and even the Automatic Crash Response system. The one OnStar service that has been popular on GM vehicles, but which is not available on FMV, is the feature that allows an OnStar adviser to unlock your car via satellite. You need a GM car for that to work.
The cost for the device, which is a replacement of your rear-view mirror with the OnStar mirror fitted with OnStar button, is $99 including installation at an approved dealer or store such as Best Buy. After that, you will need to pick a subscription plan, which starts at $18.95 per month or up to $199 for a full year on uninterrupted OnStar FMV service.
AOL Autos drove a Ford F150 pickup truck for a week with OnStar FMV installed, and found that it worked flawlessly for everything we asked it to do--except the automatic crash response. We are only willing to go so far when it comes to testing these products. But the hands free calling worked fine, as did the turn by turn directions when we tested them for accuracy. We also liked the clean installation that looks like it was part of the car when it left the factory.
We have found in talking to OnStar users that the most popular services are the turn-by-turn directions, especially for people flummoxed by their navigation systems. The crash response service is great peace-of-mind for many drivers. It also provides easy hands free calling with your smart phone, and easy contact with an advisor if you have a flat tire, run out of gas, or need to find the nearest gas station, electric car charger, ATM or Chinese restaurant.