Subaru Gives 3-Year SiriusXM Services, Nav Updates for 2016

Posted by

Tired of paying extra for SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link on new cars only to get the service for three to six months before you’re prompted to buy a subscription? What about paying extra for navigation only to have your maps totally out of date within a year thanks to road construction? Subaru is doing things differently for 2016.

Photo: Subaru

A press release from Subaru said the automaker is offering a complimentary three-year subscription to SiriusXM Traffic and Travel Link to buyers of 2016 model Subarus. That’s a bonus in more ways than one, if you ask me — because not only do you get those services for free for three years after purchasing your new Scoob, you also get to avoid those annoying sales calls from SiriusXM for three years. Seriously, those folks have annoyed my parents to the point of madness the last couple of times they bought new cars.

Actually, you probably will still get those annoying sales calls because the rest of the SiriusXM package has a measly four-month free trial period, according to Subaru. So, uh…sorry about that, in advance, if you’re buying a SiriusXM-equipped Subaru. Expect several “Subscribe now to keep your service!” cheery-voiced calls, mostly at supper or bedtime.

But at least the Traffic and Travel Link services will be usable for three whole years, no subscription needed. For some, the services probably prove useful. Subaru said SiriusXM Traffic provides drivers with real time traffic speed and flow information and detailed accident information to avoid congestion, while SiriusXM Travel Link keeps drivers connected from coast to coast by providing detailed information such as weather, fuel prices, sports scores, and stocks.

The other half of this news is more relevant to me, as I’ve used SirousXM’s Traffic service maybe once — ever — while I use navigation almost weekly. As long as Subaru makes sure nav updates come frequently and are comprehensive in scope, it’ll be a great thing.

While the press release said 2016 Subaru owners will receive a reminder from Subaru Map Updates Program via map services provider HERE once a year, I think it would be really cool if owners were able to update their navigation systems each time they take their cars in for routine maintenance. Why? Because I can’t begin to tell you just how many factory nav units are outdated in the brand-new cars I test drive.

I’m not talking a little outdated, like not knowing a business in the POI list closed a couple weeks ago. It’s more ridiculous than that. Many of the OEM navigation systems I test are convinced my little hometown of 3,000 residents still has both a Wendy’s and a Domino’s — restaurants that have been not just shuttered for years, but redeveloped into other businesses since their closing. In the case of that Domino’s, it’s not even a restaurant anymore, but a cell phone retailer.

In fact, a couple of automakers’ nav units I tested in 2015 failed to show a new section of five-lane highway that opened in my town nearly two years ago. I would turn onto the new road, and the navigation map would make it appear I should be driving through a field or something. Heaven help me if I had a destination set in those outdated nav systems and used that road instead of the former, two-lane route — the navigation system’s map mistress would go bonkers.

With that said, the 2016 Subaru Forester I tested a couple of weeks ago had a much more up-to-date nav system. Looks like the automaker is already off to  good start.

Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson

Lyndon Johnson is a husband and father of two who has now spent more of his life as a journalist than as a non-journalist. He serves as assistant editor at his hometown weekly paper in rural Tennessee and freelances in the automotive journalism world.