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Kia UVO: Mainstream Infotainment In The 2012 Soul

UVO's 4.3-Inch Display

Kia UVO is only available with a 4.3-inch display. That may seem tiny compared to the 8-inch units used by other automakers. But considering the functionality it exposes and the price point it targets, we think the screen is apropos. We aren't given a resolution specification, however, our guess would be that it's a 480x272 screen. Nearly all 4.3-inch LCD panels share that resolution, and we don’t expect Kia to reinvent the wheel. Naturally, then, the display isn’t as sharp as some of the denser screens we've seen. But it is on par with most displays used for automotive applications. 

The user interface for UVO is pretty basic, lacking a home screen. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though. Kia employs more physical buttons around the LCD, rather than relying on the touchscreen so much. In fact, the entire head unit is covered in buttons to access each audio function and the phone. Moreover, two knobs control volume, radio tuning, and file selection. We welcome this more traditional approach to user input, especially since touchscreens aren’t as effective when your fingers are covered in burger grease.

Kia employs a typical resistive touch display for UVO. We found it to be very responsive, never missing a single touch point in our testing. The screen's input is fairly limited, though. The only available commands are reserved for the source currently displayed, including typical music and phone controls.

The UVO interface employs graphics typically found on entry-level aftermarket radios. There aren’t any fancy transitions or detailed tiles. Rather, you'll find standard icons with a mirror reflection, rectangular buttons, and fade-to-black transitions. The graphical simplicity is most likely a consequence of the fact that Freescale's i.MX355 SoC lacks a graphics processor. Nevertheless, Kia does achieve quick system transitions and responsiveness.

Credit goes to Kia for its aesthetic design. The user interface's color combination blends perfectly with the red and white interior lighting, and it's neither distracting nor blinding.

  • sp0nger
    This seems super basic to me..

    I see what you did there kia, but as a reader of toms i would be much more interested in you inspecting the tech around more advanced systems in higher end cars
    Reply
  • sp0nger
    On second thought i would love to see your break down of the new GTR those systems are insane, thats worthy of a 10 page read
    Reply
  • tuanies
    Thanks for the input. We're working on bringing coverage of higher end vehicles and have a 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track and Audi Q5 with NVIDIA Tegra and QNX in the pipeline.
    Reply
  • ivyanev
    Isn't it strange that a smartphone can do all theese things(except for multichanel music maybe)
    Reply
  • palladin9479
    9535232 said:
    Thanks for the input. We're working on bringing coverage of higher end vehicles and have a 2013 Hyundai Genesis Coupe 3.8 Track and Audi Q5 with NVIDIA Tegra and QNX in the pipeline.


    Genesis Coupe's are nice.

    Come on ya'll should do a Morning or Matiz. Or heck review a tricked out Daewoo Damas, just for kicks.
    Reply
  • ZakTheEvil
    So the backup camera is there to compensate for the poor "style over function" body design that limits the rear view?
    Reply
  • Parrdacc
    Amazing that car companies like Ford and KIA and others are just now doing this. Meanwhile all us car enthusiasts have had most of these capabilities for years now. I have had hondas with head units like JVC and Alpine that do the same thing. The current JVC I got four years back is running strong with Bluetooth connection to my phone with voice, GPS, Voice navigation and recognition, usb mp3 playback, ipod connection, which I do not use as I find just plugging in a usb to the front of the player just easier than the running a cable to the ipod.

    Well, welcome to the party Ford and KIA.
    Reply
  • Parrdacc
    Oh, on more thing. A 4.3inch display. Really. I got a 7" display thats touchscreen and that was without any custom work done. The KIA appears to have a double din which should be more than capable of using a 7" inch touchscreen, or at least one that is larger than 4.3 inches, so why they went this route I do not know. A buddy of mine has got a Nissan with a factory radio and his display is about 6".
    Reply
  • willard
    Ugh, Kia. I owned a Kia once. Took $5k in engine repairs over three years to keep it on the road. Blew two head gaskets, three thermostats went out, radiator failed once. The front end CV joints are bad about going out on most of their older cars as well (I went through three), and good luck if you need to replace a wheel bearing (which also like to go out on the front end). Need a special Kia service tool to do it, which they don't sell and no mechanic has except Kia dealerships. Enjoy your $400 repairs you could have done yourself for $50 if they just used standard tools.

    Kia costs less up front, but WAY more in maintenance. Buy a Hyundai if you're looking for a quality car on the cheap. They don't fall apart on you like Kias do.
    Reply
  • CaedenV
    Picked up a Hyundai for my wife a few years ago and love it (well... for the price anyways... it is no VW). I am now looking for a commuter car for myself and am looking at KIA (which is the cheaper Hyundai brand). I had been wondering about their UVO system because I am thinking about a Rio5 which also has this as an option. It dosn't seem that great, but it is good to know that what is there works solid (other than the texting issues), so perhaps I will spring for it when the time comes to jump on it.

    Can you select a playlist instead of an individual song? or is it too basic for that?
    Reply