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Lexus Remote Start: The Full Rundown

in Ownership
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Lexus RX 450h F Sport by M 93 — CC BY-SA 3.0 DE

If you’ve ever had a remote car starter before, the convenience of this accessory is obvious. From warming up the car in the winter to getting the cabin cool on a hot summer day, a remote vehicle starter is essential as a television remote control.  

Even if a remote start is something new to you, it’s easy to imagine how starting your car from a distance could be helpful.  With this in mind, let’s look at one of America’s favorite brands of luxury vehicles, Lexus, and the Lexus remote start. 

A Brief History of Remote Car Starters

Before we drill down into the specifics of a Lexus remote start, let’s look at the origins of this feature.  Remote vehicle starter systems can trace their beginnings to the 1980s with bulky and expensive units available through third-party companies.  These early systems required a separate keyfob and were not compatible with every car.  

The more integrated systems began with the debut of the 2004 Chevrolet Malibu, the first car with a manufacturer-installed remote start.  In addition, the Malibu’s remote starter button was integrated into the keyfob; no separate apparatus was needed.  From there, remote starters gradually made their way into other cars.  

However, it would take about a decade for Lexus to embrace remote starting fully.  In 2015, the company’s vehicles were equipped with Lexus remote start as standard equipment. So, keep in mind that any information we talk about here refers to Lexus cars and SUVs since that time (and this kicks with 2018 and newer models of the Lexus GX).


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How Lexus Remote Start Works

Given Lexus likes to tout its technological skills, the company’s remote start system goes way beyond a simple button press on the keyfob.  While it does offer that feature, Lexus remote start on current models is accessed in various ways.

  • Keyfob:  While it may seem old-fashioned, a Lexus can be remotely started using the car’s keyfob.
  • Smartphone:  Download the Lexus app onto a compatible smartphone, and the app-based Lexus Enform Remote lets you start the engine from just about anywhere.  The app also enables you to lock and unlock doors, locate the car, and check vehicle status.
  • Smartwatch:  An Apple Watch with WatchOS 3.0 or higher or a smartwatch running Android Wear OS 1.5 or higher can also be used for remotely starting a Lexus. Setup the interface between your phone, watch, and Lexus vehicle and enjoy remote start and other functionality.
  • Amazon Alexa/Google Assistant:  Sync your Amazon Alexa or Google Account to the Enform system, and starting your car only requires a few spoken words.  Even if you’re not a gadget geek, simply saying “Alexa, start my Lexus” is pretty cool.

While Lexus Enform Remote tech sounds exciting and valuable, there’s a BIG catch.  You have to have an active Enform subscription.  Read on for the details.

What’s The Deal With Lexus Enform Remote?

To take advantage of Lexus’s high-tech remote starting options, you have to subscribe to the Enform service.  Purchasers of new Lexus vehicles receive a free three-year Enform subscription.  After this time, or if you’ve purchased a used Lexus without service, you have to pay for different levels of Enform.  An Enform Remote subscription will run you $80-$160 per year, depending on the Lexus you drive.  

Keep in mind that even the keyfob remote requires an active Enform remote subscription. You are locked into paying Lexus if you want remote start after the free subscription period.  


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What Else Should I Know About Lexus Remote Start?

Regardless of what technology you use to start a Lexus remotely, the company requires specific conditions to be in place.

Enform Subscription: As we mentioned, an active Enform Remote subscription is needed.

Vehicle Settings:  The Lexus will remotely start only if the following conditions apply

  • The car is in park
  • All doors are closed and locked
  • The moonroof, trunk, and hood are closed
  • The fuel tank is at least one-quarter full
  • There are no keyfobs inside or near the car
  • The security alarm is not in alter mode

While we’re talking Lexus, let’s look at a brief overview of the company’s lineup.  This information covers vehicles still in production or recently discontinued.  

Lexus SUV Models

  • UX: Lexus’s entry-level SUV is also available in a hybrid setup and offers the complete Lexus Enform platform, including remote start.
  • NX: A notch up from the smaller UX, the Lexus NX and NX hybrid include all Enform features.
  • RX: The mid-size RX is consistently the company’s best-selling vehicle and arguably the model that helped Lexus become a favorite for luxury SUV shoppers. Lexus Enform is available in all trim levels of the RX, including the hybrid version.
  • GX: The full-size, three-row GX SUV includes a host of family-friendly features like the Enform system.  Interestingly, the GX comes standard with something increasingly rare in today’s automotive marketplace, an eight-cylinder engine (its sole powerplant).
  • LX: V-8 power is also the only engine setup for the massive Lexus LX and its three rows of luxury.  Of course, befitting a vehicle that can cost six figures (when new) is a long list of standard equipment, including remote start via Lexus Enform.  


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Lexus Sedan Models

  • IS:  For Lexus, the starter IS sedan offers compact proportions with sporty performance.  Standard onboard goodies include the Lexus remote start (via the Enform system), and soon you’ll be able to order the IS with a crazy eight-cylinder engine.
  • ES: Like with the RX SUV, the Lexus ES helped establish the brand as an active player in the luxury car game.  Regardless of the ES trim level, including all-wheel-drive or hybrid, Enform is standard equipment.
  • GS: The mid-size GS was discontinued after 2020 but remains a solid choice for luxury used car shoppers.  Remember that all GS models since 2015 are equipped with Enform.
  • LS:  The full-size LS is the company’s flagship sedan and comes equipped or can be optioned with just about every conceivable automotive nicety, including a hybrid power.  At least, you won’t pay any extra for Lexus Enform (for the first three years).


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Lexus Coupe Models

  • RC: Lexus is one of the few manufacturers still offering two-door cars in the U.S.  This effort begins with the sporty RC coupe that comes well-equipped (including Enform) even at the base trim level.
  • LC: Every luxury carmaker is entitled to at least one over-the-top vehicle, which easily describes the LC coupe.  Whether in hardtop, hybrid, or convertible form, the two-door LC represents the pinnacle of Lexus design and engineering.  Of course, the Enform system is one of the LC’s long list of standard features.

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