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Kia Launches UVO eServices at L.A. Auto Show

Sections: Infotainment, Navigation, Telematics

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Kia's next-generation UVO interface on the dashboard of the 2014 Sorento crossover

Kia said it will make the next generation of its UVO infotainment and telematics system available starting with the 2014 Sorento crossover utility vehicle. Most notable among the changes to UVO is its ability to sync up with smartphones and other mobile devices with an app called eServices that works much like GM’s OnStar without the monthly charge. (Photo courtesy Kia Motors America.)

Kia Motors announced it would launch the next generation of its UVO infotainment system with the 2014 Sorento crossover unveiled at the L.A. Auto Show.

According to a Kia press release, the updates to UVO center around smartphone connectivity. An eServices smartphone app will provide connected car telematics information, the ability to locate your parked vehicle in a large lot, a suite of new safety and security features including a service Kia calls 911 Connect, and the ability to upload map and point-of-interest (POI) info from the web or a mobile device to the UVO system.

Kia said the eServices app will not come with a monthly fee like GM’s similar Onstar service. UVO, short for “Your Voice,” will continue to offer drivers the ability to manage their mobile phones and music playlists hands-free. The eServices app will further expand that voice-controlled ability to the navigation system, the company said.

Much like MyFordTouch, which received a number of bad reviews after its recent updates and even got Ford dinged in Consumer Reports and J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Survey, UVO is Microsoft-powered. So far, Kia’s UVO is getting better reviews than MyFordTouch– we’d estimate that’s because it has kept buttons and knobs as part of the equation instead of trying to go touchscreen-only as MFT and some others have. We look forward to the opportunity to try the next-gen UVO with the eServices app when the 2014 Sorento bows next year.

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