Car Life Nation

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

When Driving is about Lifestyle, Car Life Nation is the Answer

A blue 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is driving through a city during the day.

Volkswagen’s Car-Net Operating System: Is it Worth the Price?

Volkswagen is on the cutting edge of technology, both with its lineup of dynamic cars and SUVs, including some exciting upcoming all-electric models, and the operating systems that help support their functionality. Vehicles like the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan offer Volkswagen Car-Net, an app-based remote access and monitoring system that further blurs the line between your car and your smartphone.

Volkswagen Car-Net is one example of a larger landscape of similar operating systems designed by automakers to help drivers not only stay connected to their smartphones while on the road, but to achieve a level of convenience that actually improves their quality of life. With Car-Net, VW is working with consumer smartphone reliance, not against it. This allows you to operate your vehicle like any other smart device, bringing your driving life into the 21st century.

Crediting an automotive-oriented app with improving quality of life sounds like a stretch, especially given the ubiquitous convenience-saving devices and systems that permeate our lives now (e.g., Amazon Alexa and, well, everything Apple). But when we dive deeper into some of the features that comprise these systems – features specifically designed to interface with automobiles – it’s clear they’re intuitively solving the pesky inconveniences that negatively affect our everyday lives.

The best technology makes the journey from nice-to-have to can’t-live-without-it at breakneck speed, and Volkswagen has done exactly that with Car-Net. If we look more closely at Volkswagen Car-Net, we’ll see that it’s another tech tool that’s intelligently designed to make itself indispensable and cause us to wonder how we ever lived without it. Yet it’s so simple in concept that we also wonder why someone didn’t think of it sooner. What are our favorite features of Car-Net? Read on for our in-depth review.

Remote Access When You Need It Most

Everyone locks their keys in the car at least once, and when you realize you have, it’s like a virtual kick in the stomach: you feel a wave of disgust, followed by anxiousness, and ultimately a realization that you’ve created a massive, potentially expensive, and completely avoidable inconvenience. With Car-Net, locking your keys in your car is nothing more than a 10-second delay in going about your day.

That is because Volkswagen Car-Net transforms your smartphone into a remote key fob. With it, you may actually decide to leave your key in the center console because unlocking your car is a simple function of opening the app and pushing the unlock button. In addition, Car-Net lets you remote start your car (a great option on cold mornings) and perform other functions, like honking the horn or flashing the lights.

This is the kind of technology we normalize quickly and wonder how we ever lived without. Not having to rely on a physical key and instead being able to use a tool that we always have with us is a revolutionary concept that’s brilliant in its simplicity, and drivers like us are adapting quickly to its time and hassle-saving benefits.

The interior of a 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan shows the steering wheel and infotainment screen.

Capabilities That Save Time and Money

Volkswagen Car-Net is a connectivity tool that merges smartphones and vehicles, making each more functional as a result. The connected characteristics of the Car-Net app allow for constant improvement and over-the-air updates to help drivers access the most updated version in real-time. It also acts as a gateway to other related apps.

One such app is Parkopedia. Volkswagen Car-Net offers compatible interfacing with Parkopedia, giving drivers access to the app’s features from within Car-Net, so drivers don’t have to toggle between one app and the other. Described on their website as “the largest and most accurate parking services provider on the planet,” Parkopedia lets drivers search for available parking spots anywhere in the world, along with a link to directions, information on pricing, and even whether a spot offers electric car charging.

Another game-changing feature is DriveView. Volkswagen has partnered with CCC Information Services Inc. to develop its DriveView technology. DriveView is a subscription-based feature that stores data on your driving characteristics and uses it to calculate a driving score. That driving score could potentially save customers money on auto insurance because it helps insurance underwriters calculate risk. In addition to interfacing with insurance companies, the data is designed to help drivers understand their driving characteristics and how they affect overall safety.

Enhanced Safety Features

Volkswagen Car-Net offers a paid feature called Safe & Secure. The subscription buys owners 24/7 access to a team of trained Car-Net agents that can offer everything from directions to lifesaving 911 emergency intervention services. Think of Safe & Secure like a wired home alarm system for your vehicle.

Safe & Secure is set up to ping the owner with a push notification when the vehicle’s theft alarm is triggered, an invaluable head’s up that could mean the difference between catching a would-be thief or dealing with the unfortunate aftermath. The alarm notification works even if you’re thousands of miles away from your vehicle, so you know immediately when something’s wrong.

Safe & Secure is also equipped to notify Car-Net agents if your vehicle is involved in a crash. Called Automatic Crash Notification, the system triggers agents to attempt to make contact with the vehicle’s occupants. If agents receive no response, emergency services and the owner’s emergency contact are notified.

Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance, also included with Safe & Secure, can track the vehicle if it’s stolen and help law enforcement locate and recover it faster. A newer, GPS-enabled version of the original third-party tracking systems, Stolen Vehicle Location Assistance is proven to help return the vehicle to its owner faster and more successfully.

A blue 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is shown driving down a dirt road past a lake.

Even More Valuable Features

Car-Net is also a handy tool for keeping tabs on your younger drivers. Via a web portal for owners, the car’s location history is viewable. Here you can also set speed alerts and curfew alerts, keeping an eye on your wayward teen like never before. The Geofence feature even lets the owner establish boundaries and alert you whenever the vehicle travels beyond them.

We especially like the app’s data function, which displays critical vehicle data along with an easy-to-understand status for each data point. These include: Do not drive, Repair or adjustment needed, Service and maintenance needed, and No faults detected. You can even set push notifications to alert you when just about anything happens, including when the doors are unlocked, the windows or moonroof are open (and the weather forecast, so you can close them if necessary).

Car-Net Makes Car Ownership Convenient

Car-Net is next-level technology that exists to perform one function: make life easier. While it may seem like another gimmick that you will never use after the salesman explains it, Car-Net will quickly become an invaluable tool. Once you experience the functionality, especially the handy reminders, you will wonder how you ever got by driving a car without such a feature.

Manufacturers like Volkswagen are investing millions of dollars developing software systems to accompany – and even help owners operate – their new vehicles. A connected future most assuredly involves integrating the car you drive to a larger network, making your vehicle another smart device to accompany your phone, computer, and household electronics. The big win is convenience, with a side of added safety, transforming the car-owning experience.

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