What Is Kia Connect, and How Does It Work?

Despite the inroads that third parties like Amazon, Android, and Apple have made, automakers still steer consumers toward proprietary infotainment systems. Some, such as Kia Connect, are branded and marketed as selling points because they perform functions beyond helping drivers answer the phone. So, what is Kia Connect, and how does it work?

Kia Connect is more than an infotainment management system

What is Kia Connect?
Kia Connect | Kia

Formerly Kia UVO Link, Kia Connect is more than an infotainment management system. It combines infotainment with telematics, giving drivers plentiful information about and control over the vehicle. It’s what’s referred to as an OEM service. “OEM” stands for “original equipment manufacturer.” In this context, referring to Kia Connect as an OEM service means it was developed by Kia Motors rather than by a third party.

And if you’re unfamiliar with telematics, this term refers to an interdisciplinary field that combines automotive technology with wireless telecommunications to manage the flow of wireless communication to and from a vehicle. Vehicle telematics is most commonly associated with GPS navigation systems, such as those you can access on your car’s smartphone or built-in dashboard to help you get from point A to point B. But telematics is broader than that, encompassing remote-controlled vehicle functions, advanced safety features, mobile data management, and other areas.

As a combined infotainment and telematics system, Kia Connect lets drivers of newer models control a host of vehicle functions from the car’s touchscreen, through voice commands, or by an app on their smartphone or another mobile device.

What are some Kia Connect features?

Kia Connect not only powers compatible touchscreens but also provides many features that a driver can access outside of the car. Notable features include Find My Car, Remote Climate Control, Remote Door Lock & Unlock, and Rear Occupant Alert.

Find My Car lets you track where you parked your car on the Kia Connect app on your mobile device. Remote Climate Control and Remote Door Lock & Unlock, as their names suggest, allow you to control your Kia’s temperature settings and lock and unlock your vehicle doors remotely. And Rear Occupant Alert sends a notification if you accidentally leave a passenger in the back seat.

Inside the car, Kia Connect also allows drivers to access its many features through voice commands, allowing them to keep their eyes on the road rather than the touchscreen. It also manages the vehicle’s wireless charging capabilities, helping owners charge their devices while driving. And depending on the car model, Kia Connect powers the navigation system, which, according to the automaker, offers more real-time traffic data than previous versions offered through UVO Link.

Those are only a few of Kia Connect’s many features, which also include advanced safety functions. Of course, the service isn’t always free. Many new models come with a free introductory version for five years. It provides basic trip info, 911 Connect for emergencies, and charging notifications. But three other packages are available, each with more features and a higher price than the last. The Ultimate Package costs $200 yearly and includes all the navigation, safety, security, and remote control options Kia offers.

Troubleshooting connection problems

As with many vehicle systems, Kia Connect’s rollout hasn’t been flawless. In early 2022, the automaker disabled the service in Massachusetts to comply with a local regulation concerning data collection. The law, colloquially known as “Right to Repair,” requires Kia to provide consumers with diagnostic data so that mechanics can troubleshoot issues without paying a premium for Kia diagnostic tools or services.

Kia Connect remains disabled in that state for model years 2022 and later and might remain so for some time, Car Scoops reports. Moreover, consumers in states pursuing similar laws could find their Kia Connect disabled shortly after purchase. So it’s important to know about any regulations in your state when shopping for a new car.

But beyond that issue, users might encounter more benign issues, such as an inability to access Kia Connect features remotely or in the car. Sometimes, the problem is merely the result of poor Wi-Fi connectivity. However, sometimes, the issue is more complicated. The automaker offers a list of common solutions for those problems on the Kia website.

Fortunately for Kia vehicle owners, Kia Connect hasn’t experienced severe problems resulting in a recall. In fact, many owners enjoy the service’s functionality. From offering better control over vehicle metrics and diagnostics to the hands-free operation of basic features, Kia Connect is a solid reason for considering purchasing a Kia.

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