This post brought to you by Kia Rio. All opinions are 100% mine.
I love any opportunity to try new things. A lot of companies are thinking outside the box these days to reach consumers in new and interesting ways. In the case of Kia, they're involving Hollywood celebrities, landmarks, and a fun scavenger hunt with two teams to help showcase the tech-friendly features of their new 2012 Kia Rio 5-door. Each team, made up of a pair of best friends, started out at the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round and ended up at the historic Roosevelt Hotel. Throughout their journey, the teams made use of the USB jack for audio instruction, the 4.3-inch color LCD touchscreen display for clues, and integrated Bluetooth and voice control for hands-free dialing.
The Tools For The Challenge
● Touchscreen LCD – This is almost a necessity in any car whose in-dash system is more computer than stereo. Navigation becomes more organized across multiple screens which also allows for bigger, easier buttons. In my own car, this adds to the usability and it's worth a few geek points, too.
● Voice Control – Not only cool, voice control is a huge safety bonus, keeping your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. This is probably my favorite tech feature in a car right now.
● USB Jack and Digital Jukebox – Also similar to my own car, this is a great way to have all your music in a kind of in-dash MP3 player and the USB makes it easy to transfer the music to your car.
● Bluetooth Integration – Beyond just phone calls, Bluetooth merges the Rio's entertainment system with your phone, even allowing you to stream your phone's playlists through the car's system.
● Rear View Camera – Having used one before, I loved that I could easily see what's behind me when backing up. In my own car, I'm left to the flexibility of my neck and a little guess-work.
This scavenger hunt involved a little of everything, eventually leading both teams to find Christina Milian (American Pie, etc.). Beginning with a bit of L.A. trivia, the teams raced to the cars to find their first clue displayed in the rear view camera by putting the cars in reverse. The clue sent them to Amoeba records, where they had to find a CD. Back in the car, inserting a thumb drive into the Rio's USB port played their next task over the speakers, directing the teams to Rodeo Drive for some palm tree counting. After using the voice dialing to hear the next set of instructions, the teams navigated to Pink's Hot Dogs, where they had to finish their dogs in order to see and scan a QR code under the plate. That scan revealed a tweet by Christina Milian to look in the trunk, and there was a note from her for them to meet her at the Roosevelt Hotel penthouse. Most of the tasks seemed like you could control your outcome a bit with some speed, but the trivia looked like it would be the toughest challenge out of all of them. I don't know that much about L.A. trivia, so it would get me for sure. Watch the video for yourself to see how it all went down and comment with your own thoughts on it.
As I mentioned, I love stuff like this and would have loved to do it myself. Kia did a great job of keeping it fun and interesting while giving the teams a chance to experience each of the techie features of the 2012 Rio and the UVO Technology seemed to prove itself. You can find out more about the car and its features at the Rio Explorer Page. If Kia were to send me on of these things, I'd love to find and hang out with Aziz Ansari, and I think I'd pick L.A., too.