Kia will finally add wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to high-end models equipped with satellite navigation, as it rolls out its next-generation infotainment system.

    The shift will start with the all-electric EV9 and facelifted Sorento SUVs.

    Speaking with CarExpert, Kia Australia’s product planning boss Roland Rivero confirmed the brand’s next-generation infotainment system will support wireless smartphone mirroring and over-the-air (OTA) software updates, and will debut with the updated Sorento as well as the all-new EV9 electric SUV before the end of the year.

    “Our rollout of the sixth-generation Connected Car Navigation Cockpit (ccNc) will commence with the EV9 later this year, followed by the updated Sorento and Carnival,” Mr Rivero said.

    “This next-generation infotainment system will have the hardware to facilitate OTA updates and wireless smartphone mirroring for models with built-in satellite navigation.”

    Mr Rivero noted that backwards compatibility with existing vehicles will not be possible, as the fifth-generation infotainment system fitted to the current range lacks the hardware for both confirmed new features.

    Historically the official line from Hyundai and Kia has centred around an ongoing dispute between the Korean carmakers and tech suppliers around priority mapping, given both embedded navigation and app-based online routing from Apple Maps and/or Google Maps are on the table.

    Kia does offer wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on its base infotainment systems without native satellite navigation – usually entry-level grades or its lower-end nameplates like the Picanto and Rio.

    Both the EV9 and updated Sorento ranges are due to launch in Australia during the fourth quarter of 2023. The mid-life refresh of the Sorento will also mark the debut of Kia Connect online services for the popular nameplate, too.

    The updated Carnival people mover, meanwhile, is expected to be revealed later this year ahead of a 2024 Australian release. In addition to the infotainment upgrades, the new Carnival should pick up missing features from the global catalogue that Australian models have missed out on since this current generation’s release.

    Already launched in the Niro and Seltos, Kia Connect is a net-based telematics system that brings online functions and remote services to the infotainment system and is also accessible via a smartphone app.

    Kia Connect highlights:

    • Remote engine start
    • Remote climate control
    • Remote door lock, unlock
    • Remote seat heating, ventilation control
    • Check vehicle status
    • Valet Parking Mode
    • Kia Connect Live Services
    • Emergency call
    • Vehicle tracking
    • Stolen Vehicle Ignition Control
    • Send Destination 2 Car (via smartphone)
    • Local Search
    • Voice Control
    • Personal calendar integration
    • EV charging station locator (EV)

    It’s understood Hyundai is planning to roll out similar updates across its line-up, starting with the new-generation Kona from the fourth quarter of 2023 – likely coinciding with the new Kona Electric and Kona Hybrid models.

    The petrol versions of the Kona are launching this month, and will be in line for a software upgrade to add wireless smartphone mirroring in line with electrified versions in the latter stages of this year. Also expect the new Sonata to be included in this rollout, as it also scores the latest-generation infotainment system.

    Mr Rivero’s comments indicate the bulk of the wider Hyundai range will likewise not offer backwards compatibility with these updates due to the lack of OTA functionality, though the electric Ioniq 6 was the first Hyundai to offer OTA software updates in Australia and will likely be the sole existing model compatible with the upgrade.

    Stay tuned to CarExpert for all the latest, and leave your thoughts and questions in the comments below.

    MORE: Everything Kia Carnival | EV9 | Sorento

    James Wong

    James Wong is the Production Editor at CarExpert based in Melbourne, Australia. With experience on both media and manufacturer sides of the industry, James has a specialty for product knowledge which stems from a life-long obsession with cars. James is a Monash University journalism graduate, an avid tennis player, and the proud charity ambassador for Drive Against Depression – an organisation that supports mental wellness through the freedom of driving and the love of cars. He's also the proud father of Freddy, a 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI .

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