Although it’s not quite “all-new”—even by the standard of the U.S. auto industry—the 2014 Kia Sorento will arrive in dealerships early this year with a nicely refreshed design and some significant feature upgrades, including the next generation of the brand’s UVO telematics system. And that feature, in turn, is upgraded as well, and now will integrate Google Maps and Google Places into its wide range of functionalities.
Of course, combining the power of Google with UVO’s natural voice recognition capabilities does more than just allow drivers to gain hands-free access to accurate driving directions and point-of-interest information while they’re in their vehicles. Owners of the 2014 Kia Sorento also will be able to use the UVO smartphone app to gather all that data remotely, then stream it to the Sorento using Send2Car technology.
"The newest iteration of the UVO platform is a breakthrough as one of the industry’s first mobile pure app-based telematics systems, and now with the Google solutions and APIs, we take the platform to yet another level of enhancement for the Kia customer,” said Henry Bzeih, head of the connected car program and chief technology strategist for Kia Motor America. “Due to the popularity and ease-of-use of Google Maps, owners can remain confident in the technology and information being delivered to them.”
After debuting in the 2014 Kia Sorento, the automaker’s enhanced UVO system will migrate throughout the Kia family, with the all-new 2014 Kia Forte due to receive the technology next. (Naturally, Kia’s corporate sibling, Hyundai, also will implement the new Google features in its Blue Link-branded telematics system.)
2014 Kia Sorento: Let’s Talk Telematics
When added to the 2014 Kia Sorento, the company’s next-gen UVO system provides two basic types of functionality. First off, it lets folks use natural voice commands to manage music resources, navigation features and hands-free calling via a paired cellphone, assisted by an eight-inch touchscreen (that also offers a rearview camera). Then, in addition, owners can leverage the latest suite of UVO eServices, which includes:
- 911 Connect—Capable of automatically connecting with 911 if the 2014 Kia Sorento’s airbags deploy, this feature allows for communication between vehicle occupants and 911 operators, while also automatically providing the vehicle’s location.
- Car Care Web—Available via mobile device or home computer, the Car Care Web portal provides information about vehicle diagnostics, maintenance schedules and driving behavior, and also can be used to schedule dealership appointments.
- Parking Minder—This app can help guide drivers back to the 2014 Kia Sorento, using maps and owner-taken photos of the vehicle’s surroundings, if they can’t remember where they’ve parked it.
- Vehicle Diagnostics—This feature can automatically identify many common vehicle issues and alert the driver, as well as Kia’s 24/7 customer call center, and also facilitate a dealership appointment.
And remember, all this is on top of the new Google functionality, as well as an automated eServices Guide that explains the UVO setup and its features to provide a helping hand to users.