Skip to main content

Kia UVO: Mainstream Infotainment In The 2012 Soul

Talking And Texting Through UVO

UVO supports typical Bluetooth hands-free profiles with phone book download for phone connectivity. We were able to quickly connect our Galaxy Nexus to the UVO system. Simply press the phone button; UVO displays a notification stating that no phone is connected. Then, it asks if you'd like to add a phone. UVO is put into discovery mode to begin the pairing process. 

A main screen for all phone functions grants access to a dial pad, contacts, and recent calls. All of those features worked as we expected in our testing. UVO supports reading text messages aloud and sending text messages with predefined responses. But, to take advantage of the SMS feature, your phone needs to support the Bluetooth MAP (Message Access Profile) specification. Unfortunately, a lot of phones, including Apple’s iPhone and some Android devices, do not yet support the MAP profile properly.

We were able to enable Bluetooth MAP profile support on our Galaxy Nexus using a newer build of the AOKP ROM. But a quick glance around xda-developers.com and rootzwiki.com reveals that the implementation is temperamental with UVO and rarely works properly. Select phones from RIM, HTC, and Motorola do support Bluetooth MAP, though the feature is typically exposed with the addition of manufacturer bloat, such as HTC Sense and Moto Blur.

This is very unfortunate because it would be a nice feature to have on all phones. We can't fault Kia for the profile's slow adoption, though.

You’ll most likely use UVO for hands-free calling, and we’re happy to report that call quality is quite good. Voices come through clearly, without any popping, hissing, or echoing (so long as the sunroof is closed; the microphone is mounted above the sun visor in the headliner).

We didn’t experience any Bluetooth connectivity issues. Certain Kenwood aftermarket units have a habit of losing their Bluetooth connection after hanging up calls, for instance, and UVO didn't have any problems like that. Kia's solution proved stable and worked flawlessly every time.

  • 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