Control your car from your phone: Ford Ranger, Everest And Transit lead new connected car push as FordPass Connect arrives in Australia

Ford’s first modem-equipped connected cars are arriving in Australia now as the brand rolls out its FordPass Connect across its Ranger, Everest and Transit products.

Those three models are just the beginning, too, with Ford promising every car in its line-up will be equipped with the technology as each vehicle line is updated.

The technology, which already exists in the USA and other markets, equips your Ford with a modem, allowing you to connect to your car via your mobile phone. At its most basic, it allows you to unlock or lock your car, start or stop your vehicle remotely, report your vital fluid levels (including the status of your fuel tank) and locate your car, all via a free-to-download application.

But the logical next step will be to provide over-the-air updates for you car, as well as allow Ford to sell new, premium features to existing customers.

“This is a new eco-system for Australian Ford customers,” says Ford’s Christine Wagner. “The FordPass app works in conjunction with the modem fitted to the car, and the two then work together to provide these connected services.

“These services are available on all cars that we make, the only exception is remote start, which is only available with an automatic – the function isn’t compatible with a manual gearbox – but other than that, all the services we have are available to all of our customers.

“It comes with our idea of fitting a modem to every single vehicle as part of our new model release strategy.”

One of the highlight features of fitting a SIM-equipped modem to your vehicle is the fact that the SIM roams the available networks, selecting the provider (be it Telstra, Optus or Vodafone) with the strongest signal.

That means that when using navigation with live traffic (another feature unlocked by FordPass), the on-board sat-nav will continue to function even if your mobile phone drops out of range, just as long as one of Australia’s three major mobile providers has signal.

Perhaps more important, most of the services are free (at least initially) with Ford including the feature in the sticker price of the vehicle, and covering the modem for the duration of the manufacturer warranty.

Even the live traffic function will be offered gratis for a period of three years, with customers asked to subscribe from that point, with that cost still being determined.

If you have an older car not equipped with a modem, a more basic version of the Ford app will be offered, allowing you to check your service schedule, locate a dealership and book a service.

The service will appear on Ranger, Everest and Transit product now, and will be rolled out across the rest of the Ford line-up as each vehicle is updated.