Here’s something nifty that you can do if you own a Mazda and a smartphone. You can start your car, locate it or lock and unlock it, plus activate the panic alarm even if you’re nowhere near your vehicle – get this, you can even check the status of your car when you’re abroad and get the rear defroster working from Mazda’s Mobile Start app.

It lets you start or stop the engine remotely. Upon starting your car with the app, the climate control activates and it’ll be left to idle for up to 30 minutes at a time upon which the car will automatically shut off. In addition to that, you get a timer which shows you how long your Mazda has been running.

If you’ve forgotten whether you’ve locked your car or not, then just do it from the app. The screen displays a shape of a car key which gives you the option to either lock or unlock your vehicle from any distance, provided you’ve got data – you can even sound the panic alarm if the need arises.

With the Carfinder tool, you can use the camera on your smartphone coupled with the GPS on it, to locate your Mazda in a jiffy, pretty cool as it points out the direction in which your vehicle is situated at and if you need more help though, you can always activate the horn and hazard lights from the app too.

Sadly it is only available in the US, so if you’re a Mazda owner in Malaysia no such luck for you. It’s also free for the first year only, users will need to pay a subsequent subscription fee of $65 (RM246) per annum. Getting the app to function requires initial hardware or kits fitted into Mazda vehicles beforehand. These kits are estimated to retail at $500 (RM1,891). Is it worth the cash?