FordPass SmartLink turns your older Ford into a connected car

For a monthly fee plus data, you can add smartphone connected-car compatibility to your 2010-2017 Ford vehicle.

Kyle Hyatt Former news and features editor
Kyle Hyatt (he/him/his) hails originally from the Pacific Northwest, but has long called Los Angeles home. He's had a lifelong obsession with cars and motorcycles (both old and new).
Kyle Hyatt
2 min read

Automotive technology moves fast. If you're not financially able to get a new vehicle every couple of years, you're missing out on a lot. Ford understands this. That's why it's offering a way to bring new connected car technology into your older Ford with its new FordPass SmartLink system in partnership with Aptiv and Verizon .

The FordPass SmartLink system is essentially a 4G LTE dongle that plugs into your vehicle's OBD II port and then connects to the FordPass app on your smartphone. This gives you access to your vehicle's lock and unlock functions from a much greater distance than would have been possible with a key fob alone. You also get vehicle health and security alerts and location tracking.

2015 Ford Fiesta Ecoboost
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2015 Ford Fiesta Ecoboost

Yes, even your pedestrian 2015 Fiesta can be a connected car with FordPass SmartLink.

Wayne Cunningham/CNET

"Vehicle connectivity has improved at a rapid rate in recent years," said Frederiek Toney, president of Ford's Global Customer Service Division. "We believe offering an affordable way for our customers to upgrade their older-model vehicles to include more modern technology will improve their ownership experience for years to come."

So, when we say older Ford, what we mean is 2010-2017 Ford vehicles that didn't come factory-equipped with a modem. So don't expect to all of a sudden turn your Bronco II into a W-Fi hotspot. Still, this brings a lot of added, modern functionality to a vehicle that might otherwise be lagging behind the times.

"From security to performance, we've conducted extensive testing and made a number of improvements to ensure FordPass SmartLink enhances the customer experience for our Ford vehicle owners," said Don Butler, Ford's executive director of Connected Vehicle and Services.

FordPass SmartLink will be available through Ford dealers starting in mid-2018. Here's the rub: There's a monthly fee associated with the service. Ford will ask you for $17 per month for 24 months plus installation and data isn't included. Speaking of data, that service comes by way of Verizon, so if you're not already a Verizon customer, that's another thing you need to be thinking of.

FordPass SmartLink is a cool idea that will help bring your sort-of-modern Ford closer to current models. But it's going to cost you more than just couch change.

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Sorry Bronco Bro, no FordPass SmartLink for you!

IFCAR/Wikimedia Commons