Fashionably late to the party, Ford is the last of the Detroit three to offer remote start as a factory-installed option. It does have a bit more to offer, though. A heated steering wheel can be part of the package on Lincoln models.
The remote start system is not only for those of us in cold climates. When paired with automatic climate control, the vehicle senses temperatures and automatically adjusts to offer a comfortable entry. On cold days, heated seats, defrost, and temperature all will adjust for weather conditions. For those of you in warmer climates, air-conditioning and cooled seats are activated to make the vehicle as comfortable as possible.
A main concern of environmental groups is that idling vehicles emit larger amounts of harmful gasses when cold. Ford engineers addressed this problem by heating the catalytic converter faster than in normal warmup conditions. "Once the catalyst is warmed up, it will convert up to 99 percent of the engine-out emissions into less harmful gases," said John Shanahan, manager for Ford powertrain feature calibration.
As we receive our first snow of the season in Michigan, we look forward to this option becoming more widely adopted. The factory-installed remote start option will be available across the range on 2011 Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury vehicles. Heated steering wheels will be available on 2011 Lincoln models.