When it comes to connectivity, you can trust that South Korean brands will be among the first to explore and implement the latest tech. While Kia may not be top of mind in Europe for car manufacturers, this latest development may very well push it up further. Starting this Q3 2016 and over the next 18 months, its entire European model range will have Android Auto functionality in all their cars. This means that drivers (and even passengers) can enjoy accessing their smartphone apps without taking their eyes off the road.
The first Kia model that will have the Android Auto connectivity is the Niro hybrid crossover, set to be released in Europe this Q3 of 2016. The operating system will be built into a 7-8” touchscreen infotainment system at the center of the dashboard. Drivers will then be able to access apps like voice-guided Google Maps navigation, call and text your colleagues or loved ones without having to actually lift your phone, playing music through Google Play Music, and accessing apps through voice recognition.
After the Niro has received Android Auto, all other European cars to be released in the next 18 months will also have it, starting with the new Kia Optima Plug-In Hybrid, launching by Q4 2016 and the Optima Sportswagon, which will launch later this year as well. By the end of 2017, Kia is looking at every model in its range to actually have the integrated smartphone operating system, which also includes Apple CarPlay.
Android Auto works with Android smartphones running Android 5.0 Lollipop and higher. So if you have an older device, you might also want to upgrade if you want to use Android Auto on your future Kia European model car.