Toyota Drops Entune App Platform Subscription Fees

Dave Zatz —  September 11, 2013


Toyota’s Entune is another mediocre product I never found the motivation to review. Available in a variety of vehicles the last few years, Entune rounds out Toyota’s Navigation and Bluetooth capabilities with a few apps… that receive their data via your cellphone’s connection. It’s not that it’s horrible, but the experience is quite limited compared to any modern smartphone and held back by a resistive touch screen that is occasionally blown out by the sun (in my 2012 Prius). Not to mention, in my usage, iPhone and Android owners have very different experiences and I don’t trust the weather app as it’s often one day off (photographed today, above).

Toyota’s original plan had been to provide Entune apps free for the first three years and then hit motivated customers with a $5/month subscription or TBD annual fee. However, for presumably competitive reasons, Toyota has just decided to waive any further payments. Via the email blast:

We hope you are enjoying your Toyota and your Toyota Entune® App Suite service. Entune App Suite was designed to make your driving experience more enjoyable by providing in-vehicle access to popular mobile applications like BingTM, Pandora® and iHeartRadio.

We are pleased that so many of our valued customers are enjoying Entune App Suite. As a result, Toyota is proud to announce that Entune App Suite service is now included with your vehicle, at no additional or annual charge, compliments of Toyota. Please note that expiration dates identified on some websites and printed materials have yet to be updated. Be assured, your service will not be affected.

14 responses to Toyota Drops Entune App Platform Subscription Fees

  1. Yeah, Entune in my 2013 Prius is pretty cumbersome, unreliable & pointless. It seems like more marketing fluff then helpful tech. If you have a smartphone, why not just use it to get your info? Correct me if I’m wrong but the Entune touch interface won’t work if the car is in motion, so even a front passenger would not be able to pull up directions, traffic or weather using it? A good idea in theory, but poorly executed in reality and not even worth using at free.

  2. Some things are locked down while in motion. The weather app, for example, is not but entering an address into the Nav/GPS is — and you got it exactly right, we were out of town last weekend and my wife couldn’t enter the next stop on our itinerary while I was driving. At every stop light we added one more element – like street number or city. Was ridic. :) But other than that, the nav isn’t bad and I sometimes just keep the map up as I’m driving for context. Voice dialing, via iPhone linkage versus Android, was pretty decent as has been streaming Slacker from smartphone-to-car.

  3. So my Galaxy S4 does “Screen Mirroring”. Are there any car makers out there considering a feature like this? Just let me mirror my cell phone onto a bigger screen. I don’t need a $1500 GPS with software that’s outdated in two years and map upgrades that cost $100 a year. I much rather use Waze on my cellphone displayed on a nice 7″-10″ display. I guess the profit margin would be much lower but the usability would be great and always updated.

  4. We just got a 2013 camry hybrid and the way entune handles traffic on the map is totally illogical and really breaks the whole experience. I guess the premium audio gets xm traffic? If they are going to make me use my phone for traffic data, then I might as well just use it for nav too since google maps can do both.

  5. Is it a coincidence that they are dropping subscription fees just as the are announcing raising the cost of all their vehicles by $100? Seems like the subscription just became mandatory. Whether you use Entune or not.

  6. Hm, hadn’t heard vehicle prices were going up. On the other hand, folks who have already purchased their cars aren’t impacted… Then again, I’m anxiously awaiting the redesigned 2015 Prius assuming it beats the Tesla X to market and at a significantly lower sticker price.

  7. on my 2013 Lexus GS the entune app only works half the time any way. my traffic and weather are provided by sirius however and are awesome. Entune is only for Pandora, Iheart radio, open table, bing and movie tickets.

  8. A British newspaper did a thing a few years ago on the Prius. Over it’s lifetime, the Prius is worse for the environment than a Range Rover. You have to drive an average small car 70,000 miles to catch up with the negative impact on the environment that a Prius does before it goes off the lot.

  9. Well, someone will drive this car that far (although it won’t be me) – but the energy conversation is a different topic for a different day and perhaps even a different blog. :)

  10. The thing that sucks about car stereo’s / nav units is that it’s like having a cable box for an interface. Sure, it may have prettier icons than your cable box but it’s still clunky and expensive. You can install an aftermarket stereo and get a slightly less clunky experience but it seems silly that they all suck so much.

    With either they want you to spend ridiculous amounts to update the maps. On factory units it’s something like $300. On aftermarket unit’s it’s closer to $100. This is per year if you want the latest. Then there are the features which sound good and almost work.

    Here’s what I want: An in-dash iOS or Android based unit (not something you have to piece together from a ‘carputer’ website, that just works. Let it have the option of either having it’s own LTE connection or use my phone’s WiFi sharing. It seems like this would be a no-brainer. The interface is exactly what you need for an automotive environment.

    Also, don’t lock out the controls when the car is moving. Allow me to be responsible for my own actions.

    I know.. You could modify the dash and put an iPad mini or a similar Android device in there. I really just want a double-din unit that’ll slide in and fit correctly, plus I want it to have an AM/FM/HD Radio (may as well) tuner built-in along with an SiriusXM tuner if I decide to got that route.

    So far the only thing sort of like this is the Pioneer App Radio which looks kludgy. It’s pretty but looks functionally worse than an aftermarket stereo.

  11. @Dean-I

    Are you referring to that old Daily Mail piece, or Top Gear’s poorly-researched presentation that was two degrees removed from the Daily Mail’s work? Either way, that article was retracted outright, because the environmental impact described existed and was cleaned up before the Prius ever existed. In other words, the Prius wasn’t responsible for any of it.

    The idea that the Prius is worse for the environment is not, and was not, ever true. That little piece of contrarian folklore was slapped down six years ago:

    In fact, if you refer to properly-conducted lifecycle analyses, like the Argonne National Laboratory’s GREET model referenced in the Pacific Institute’s paper, it’s clear that hybrids are much better for the environment than normal cars. If you want a specific breakeven point on hybrid cars, the UCLA also did a lifecycle analysis which indicates the carbon and energy breakeven point of a Prius vs a normal car is about 10,000 miles:

    In short, stop spreading misinformation. This is crap that should have died six years ago!

  12. Not impressed with Entune. I have an Apple 3Gs, and after many attempts by me as well as the dealer, my complete contacts list will not transfer (only get about 50 of 88). The dealer’s suggested solution? Upgrade my phone :(

  13. Wish I had read the review before I bought my Rav4 last October. The display is totally washed out unless it’s completely overcast and the route choices are bizarre. Going back to our standalone GPS.

  14. Bought a 2014 Prius V and was shown the ‘fantastic’ radio with Entune…Pandora, Open Table, iHeart, Traffic…you know, all of the apps that DON’T work because it only works with certain cellphones. Gee…and they forgot to mention that BEFORE I bought the car. Then all the mechanics looked at each other and said “I never heard of this NOT working with someone’s cellphone, did you??” Am I stupid? Toyota/Entune has a LONG list of compatible (or should I say “INCOMPATIBLE”) phones that work with it. I paid $30,000 for a new car, Toyota can pay $500 and buy me a new cellphone that works with it!