2016 Kia Optima: What You Get With Kia UVO eServices
by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on June 9, 2016
One of the main function buttons on our 2016 Kia Optima dashboard is for "UVO." Unidentified Vehicle Object, maybe? No, it's just Kia's umbrella name for various infotainment features. There are different versions of UVO based on what year and model of Kia you own, but our Optima has the latest UVO eServices with navigation. Since Kia gives you a dedicated button for it, it's surely important, right? Well, let's find out.
If you check out Kia's UVO website, you can get the basic idea. Beyond the standard audio/entertainment stuff, the main functions of UVO are: 1) Vehicle diagnostics and maintenance notifications; 2) Emergency assistance; 3) Custom points of interest; 4) vehicle locating; 5) Alert notifications for various driving scenarios.
To use these features, though, you have to register for a UVO account and download the UVO app for your smartphone. (Note: I covered this topic for our long-term Kia K900 more than a year ago, but it seemed worthwhile to explain again.)
Registration is pretty easy as long as you have your vehicle's VIN ready. But you have to do this first before you can use the smartphone app. Once you've done that, you connect your phone to your car (I used a USB cable) and UVO should be up and running.
You can use most of these UVO functions either in the vehicle or on the smartphone app. On my iPhone, I ran the diagnostic report for our Optima. All the report told me was "no diagnostic issues found." No news is good news, then. The maintenance report indicated that we had yet to have service, which is true. So far, so good.
The POI function is trickier to use, but if you have saved locations or POIs in Google Maps (either the website or the app, I believe), you can forward those locations to the car and then use the car's navigation system to get you there.
Then there are the "Parking Minder" and "My Car Zone" functions. Parking Minder helps you locate your Optima via a map. The idea here is that you parked it somewhere and now you can't remember where. Presumably, Kia is thinking you parked at a giant airport parking lot, though conceivably it could also be a situation where you partied super hard on Friday night and now it's Saturday morning and you have no idea where you left your car.
My Car Zone could be useful if you have teenage drivers. It allows you to create custom alerts for time, speed and location. If your young driver is out borrowing your Optima, you can get notifications if he/she stays out late, exceeds a set speed, or ventures outside of a predetermined radius you set up.
I planned on reporting on how well My Car Zone worked in this update but I encountered difficulty getting the alerts set up. I'll just cover them in a subsequent update once I've got more experience with it.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 6,032 miles