Spotlight On: Kia UVO eServices
We recently sampled the system on a 2014 Kia Forte EX sedan, but the system works essentially the same on any so-equipped vehicle.
Although not as comprehensive as the General Motors OnStar telematics system, UVO eServices offers a number of features designed to keep drivers connected to their cars for both day-to-day use and in the event of an emergency.
Notably, UVO eServices does not require a monthly charge like most rival systems – as long as the system is paired to a Bluetooth-enabled phone, it’s ready to work.
Two screens are offered – a 4.3-inch unit without navigation and a larger 8-inch unit with the navigation. Our Forte came with navigation.
Kia also offers an app for Android and iPhone devices to allow users a certain degree of connection when they’re not with their cars.
Further, owners can log onto MyUVO.com, register their vehicle and gain basic diagnostics information. They can also book services and locate a nearby dealer if they’re on the go.
Hidden behind the scenes is automatic 911 assistance. If the airbags deploy, eServices will automatically dial 911 as long as a phone is paired to the system.
Oh, and what do the names mean? UVO is Kia’s name for its infotainment software, which operates the audio system, the backup camera and, when equipped, the navigation system. eServices is Kia’s name for its connectivity suite.
Using UVO eServices
We didn’t have the opportunity to try out the MyUVO.com or the app with our test Forte since the car isn’t ours, but Kia has demonstrated them to us on separate occasions.
Both are simple to use. The real benefit to the website is the ability to check whether your registered Kia is up to date on its servicing. For owners, this will help them ensure that they don’t miss maintenance. And for Kia, it results in better maintained vehicles, a boon for lease return vehicles and for long-term reliability scores. After all, many negative reports are due to negligent service histories.
The app includes a convenient Parking Minder. From the vehicle’s touchscreen display, users can tell the app to remember the GPS coordinates of their vehicle. Later, owners can fire up the app and locate their car.
The app doesn’t allow the same degree of communication with the vehicle as some other units – drivers can’t unlock or start their vehicles remotely, for example.
From inside the car, drivers can tap an eServices button from the home screen that directs them to a page filled with icons for each function:
Roadside assist. Press this and the system will use a paired phone to dial Kia’s roadside assistance in the event of a breakdown or flat tire.
Vehicle diagnostics. The system will report any needed servicing. If there is a critical issue, the system will prompt users and offer them the choice of either scheduling a service with a nearby dealer or calling roadside assistance.
Parking minder. As we said before, tap this and the vehicle’s location will be sent to your smartphone. This feature is offered on both navigation and non-navigation units.
My POIs. Drivers can store specific points of interest for easy recall – home, office, Grandma’s house, favorite restaurants, etc. This feature is only on navigation-equipped Kias.
eServices Guide. Tap this icon and an automated service will walk users through some of eServices’ functions.
GPS info. The screen can display detailed GPS coordinates.
In practice, eServices is a cinch to use. Our only real complaint is that the icons are monochromatic, which makes them a little difficult to find at a quick glance.
Leftlane’s bottom line
UVO eServices is nowhere near as comprehensive as systems like GM’s OnStar or Lexus’ Enform, but it’s hard to argue with the high level of value here.
With no monthly fee, the system provides a number of handy convenience features designed to give owners a certain peace of mind for their safety and for their car’s health. We think the biggest boon here is the automatic 911 dialing, but the system’s maintenance and diagnostics features will also ensure that owners complete recommended services.
Leftlane’s Spotlight On series aims to provide new car shoppers with an in-depth look and critical evaluation of new technologies and features. Since high-tech items tend to evolve quickly, it is important to note that the information presented here is accurate as of the publish date above.
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