It’s not just expensive premium cars that offer smartphone apps, allowing you to remotely check on the vehicle’s status (and locate it when you lose it in a car park). All new VW Ups and Polos now come with the Volkswagen Connect connectivity system – for free.
The UK’s second-largest car brand is giving away its DataPlug connected car plug-in gadget on all Up city cars and Polo superminis. It enables owners to download the free Volkswagen Connect app and access a wealth of information about their cars.
It works in a similar way to the pricey built-in Car-Net system found on high-end examples of the Golf, Tiguan and Arteon. Owners (or their dealers) plug a dongle into the car’s OBD socket, then pair it to the app on their smartphone via Bluetooth.
They then have seven new tools, which they can use to interact with the car even when they’re not inside it:
- Trips – data about every trip, including miles driven
- Fuel Monitor – blends fuel consumption and fuel cost to work out the cost of every journey
- Driving Style – how smooth is your driving? It’ll give you tips if it thinks you could be smoother
- My Volkswagen – check fuel level, distance to next service and so on
- Service Partner – alerts drivers when a service is due, and can book it in if you add a preferred dealer. If a warning light illuminates, you can set it so the dealer calls you to explain it
- Assistance Call – direct access to Volkswagen Customer Service or breakdown recovery
- Parking Space – the location of the car is precisely recorded at the end of every journey: never lose your car again!
It’s not just Up and Polo owners that are getting a free DataPlug, either. If you buy any approved used car from Volkswagen via the Das WeltAuto scheme, they’ll get one too – as will anyone taking their car in for routine servicing.
Indeed, anyone who owns a Volkswagen built since 2008 can head over to their local retailer and get a free DataPlug. That’s how keen Volkswagen is to get its vehicle fleet connected up.
The firm expects customers to be similarly keen: 300,000 DataPlugs are expected to be handed out this year alone.
See more of what Volkswagen Connect can do here. Really though, unless you’re worried about being tracked via an app (it’s your data, says VW, and it’s fully secure so nobody can hack it), it’s surely a matter of ‘what are you waiting for’?