Since 1969, restaurant, hotel, travel & other witty reviews by a handpicked, worldwide team of discerning professionals—and your views, too.

OnStar by General Motors Review

Star Service — Truly

An OnStar Advisor assisting a subscriber
Personable and reliable phone service

As a car multi-tasker, OnStar is that rare product that can help you find your way in daily life as well as provide a lifeline when in need. The simple-to-use service utilizes satellite and wireless technology to give its users constant phone-like access to, depending on the need, human or virtual OnStar Advisors. These Advisors can provide a driver with something as basic as alternate directions when the interstate is jammed or assist in a more urgent matter by contacting an ambulance in the case of an accident. All of this is achieved through the push of a button. For conscientious drivers opposed to fiddling with gadgets in cars, there’s even a hands-free option.

OnStar's satellite connectivity
Satellite connectivity wherever you are

This unobtrusive three-button device is installed in more than 50 General Motors models as a factory option, and comes in two different packages. The Safe & Sound Plan costs $19 a month and offers safety features, including roadside assistance, emergency services, and even an automatic notification to OnStar of airbag deployment. The Directions & Connections Plan, at $29 a month, includes all OnStar’s safety features as well as driving directions and useful information (such as the nearest gas station or places to eat in the neighborhood). And thanks to a recent partnership with Google, drivers can also search for and identify destinations using Google Maps and then send the information directly to OnStar's Turn-by-Turn Navigation System.

For both packages — starting on 2009 models — OnStar offers a Stolen Vehicle Slowdown service. When a subscriber’s car is stolen, OnStar can help law enforcement safely recover it by locating the vehicle via GPS and then remotely slowing down the engine to idle speed.

Drivers who don't own a GM model vehicle can take advantage of OnStar's numerous services with OnStar FMV (For My Vehicle), an out-of-the-box application that offers the same core features as the factory-installed version, including automatic crash response, navigation, hands-free calling and emergency assistance. Providing readily available service through a specially-designed rearview mirror, OnStar FMV sells for $299.99 plus $75 for installation, and can be purchased at Best Buy or other select retailers. Service plans start at $18.95 a month, or $199 a year.

No matter what the package, OnStar gives you extra assistance on the road, and who doesn’t need that every once in a while?

For more information, go to


Car Products


(Updated: 07/18/11 NW)

The kinds of movies made for foodies, including classics such as Like Water for Chocolate and newer releases like Chef and Ratatouille.

We taste-tested several brands to help you find the best kombuchas on the market and the results are delicious. Bottoms up!