Vehicle diagnostics, remote vehicle start and setting geographical restrictions for your sneaky children are just a small selection of the features found in Hyundai's BlueLink infotainment option.

Joining the ranks of other automakers such as Nissan with CarWings and Ford's troubled SYNC technology, BlueLink will debut in the 2012 Hyundai Sonata later this month or early July and will offer drivers a huge range of features to make their motoring lives a little easier.

BlueLink will then follow in the 2012 Hyundai Veloster coupe later this Summer, before rolling out across the Hyundai range. BlueLink comes in three different packages, each costing more than the last and offering more features for your cash.

BlueLink Assurance

Starting with a $79 per year subscription rate, consumers will get the basic Assurance package that features automatic collision notification with 911 dialling and roadside assistance using GPS positioning. The basic package also supplies a monthly vehicle report on the BlueLink website or via email. One possible benefit of this is to provide to your insurance company, who may offer good-driving discounts.

BlueLink Essentials

After a free three month trial period, BlueLink Essentials will cost you $179 per year and offers several features in addition to Assurance.

Recall information, automated diagnostics, stolen vehicle recovery, slowdown and immobilization are just some of the safety features of Essentials, but there's plenty to entertain, too.

Syncing your cell phone with BlueLink Essentials will enable voice text-messaging, sure to cut down on dangerous texting and driving. Essentials also has the option of location-sharing with social-networking sites, a mobile app for iPhone, Blackberry and Android smartphones, plus remote door unlock and engine start. If you feel like scaring passers-by (or re-enacting Volkswagen's Darth Vader advert) you can even operate the horn and lights.

Last but not least, Essentials allows you to set up a "Geo-Fence". This invisible geographic boundary ensures you receive a text message warning should your son or daughter be driving the car and they go somewhere you'd prefer they didn't, and if they pass a preset speed you'll be alerted too. The system is protected by PIN so you can be sure it can't be disabled.

BlueLink Guidance

Another $100 a year gets you the premium package, Guidance. This adds turn-by-turn navigation that even works without a navigation system, with audible alerts. Traffic congestion avoidance, places of interest and voice recognition are also included.

Naturally, you get all the features from Essentials and Assurance in the Guidance package. Guidance also benefits from a free three-month trial period.

All the information used by BlueLink is stored in the cloud, meaning Hyundai can constantly update it for the best user experience. If you don't feel like paying on a year-by-year basis, two and three year contracts are also available, from $139 for two years of the basic package up to $699 for three years of Guidance.

With all those features, you might never need to leave your Hyundai again. And even if you do, at least you can keep an eye on the kids...

[Ward's Auto]