Kia America has rebranded its long-standing in-car and app-based telematics system from “UVO” to “Kia Connect,” aligning with the automaker’s new future-focused brand direction, centered around electrification. The renaming emphasizes the importance of connectivity as, starting with model year 2022, one or more configurations of each Kia vehicle will have access to Kia Connect. The brand has seen its number of connected cars grow forty-fold from 15,000 in 2018, to an estimated 600,000 by the end of 2021.
Kia Connect builds on the existing catalog of UVO features with new updates and added amenities, including Map Over the Air (OTA) updates, which will first become available on the upcoming all-new 2022 EV6. The advanced technology suite also provides peace of mind for Kia owners with the newly-introduced Stolen Vehicle Recovery feature, which assists law enforcement in the recovery process with location sharing and immobilization capabilities.
Along with the new name, Kia Connect is redefined through a fully refreshed Kia Access App on Apple2 and Android3 devices. The new interface offers newly added compatibility through smartphones and smartwatches to access features including remote climate control and door lock/unlock.4 Aside from increased convenience, the Kia Access App provides customers with a more streamlined and intuitive user experience.
“As Kia shifts to electrification, in-car connectivity is a core pillar of the brand,” said Sean Yoon, president & CEO, Kia North America and Kia America. “To that end, Kia Connect will deliver a world-class customer experience through an array of features that enhance vehicle connectivity, functionality, and user control.”
Aside from upcoming Map OTA updates and new Stolen Vehicle Recovery, and depending on the model and trim, Kia Connect provides the following services and features through advanced embedded connectivity5:
- Wi-Fi Hotspot6 connects up to five devices to 4G LTE based internet
- Connected Routing: Cloud-based system calculates the optimal route using real-time maps and predicted traffic info based on historical information and AI to learn the preferred routes of users
- Last Mile Navigation: Provides walking directions to selected navigation destination from up to one mile away through the Kia Access app on compatible smartphone
- Smart Speaker Integration lets customers use Amazon Alexa7 or Google Assistant8 enabled smart speakers or devices to remotely control some functions (such as remote start)
- Connected Weather: Provides weather information for more than 25,000 cities
- Enhanced voice assist feature allows voice control of the vehicle’s climate, seat and steering-wheel heating9, audio system, and other functions
- 911 Connect and Enhanced Roadside Assistance: Automatically calls 911 via the built-in modem if an airbag deploys.10 For non-emergencies, it can connect with 24/7 roadside assistance and share the vehicle’s location
- On-demand Find My Car with Surround View Monitor: Uses the vehicle cameras to capture images of the vehicle’s surroundings and then displays them in the Kia Access App or Kia Owner’s Portal
- Integrates owner’s personal calendar and shows calendar events in the navigation system
Currently, new connected car features are launched through the Kia Owner’s Portal and app updates. Customers will rely on OTA updates in the future as Kia adds this capability to new vehicles. The 2023 Sportage is the first Kia model to be announced with Kia Connect. However, the 2022 EV6 will be the first model to go on sale with the Kia Connect name.