What is Kia Drive Wise?

Christian Wardlaw | Oct 26, 2020

Kia Drive Wise is the automaker's name to describe the advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) it offers in its range of cars and SUVs. The package contents vary depending on the model, from nothing more than optional forward collision warning and low-speed automatic emergency braking for the Kia Rio sedan to no fewer than 11 different technologies that are standard for the Kia Telluride SUV

2021 Kia Telluride SX Green Side View

Because Kia Drive Wise is not a set collection of features similar to Toyota Safety Sense 2.0, it is crucial to understand which features are standard, optional, and unavailable for a given Kia on your shopping list. For this article's purposes, we're using the popular Kia Telluride to illustrate the highlights of Kia Drive Wise.

This midsize 7-passenger SUV includes adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability, forward collision warning with cyclist and pedestrian detection, automatic forward emergency braking, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning with automatic reverse braking. Lane-departure warning, lane-keeping assistance, and lane-centering assistance are also standard on every Telluride, while the backup camera provides dynamic parking guidance lines on the display. A driver monitoring system warns when it detects a drowsy or distracted person behind the steering wheel.

Those are the features included with Telluride LX and S trim levels. Move up to the Telluride EX, and the SUV adds Highway Driving Assist (HDA). This technology pairs the adaptive cruise control with the lane-centering technology to provide fatigue-reducing assistance during long highway drives. 

In our experience testing Kias equipped with HDA, the technology proves to be accurate, reliable, and sophisticated. It also allows for more extended periods of hands-free driving than many competitive technologies, but this is NOT a hands-free ADAS similar to Cadillac Super Cruise. It cannot bring a Kia to a safe stop if the driver fails to respond, either, because it doesn't include an automatic emergency stop assistance system.

Automatic high-beam headlights are an option for the Telluride EX and standard for the Telluride SX. Additionally, the SX trim equips the SUV with forward parking sensors, a surround-view camera system, and a Blind-Spot View Monitor. This feature is a camera-based technology that shows a camera view of what's on either side of the Telluride when the driver uses the turn signal. The view shows within the SUV's instrumentation and is an enhancement to rather than a replacement for the standard radar-based blind-spot warning system. Kia also offers a head-up display for the Telluride, but only as an option for SX trim.

Newer Kias such as the 2021 K5 sedan offer additional Drive Wise enhancements. For example, the forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking systems gain a Junction Turning Detection system that senses if the car's driver will turn left across traffic when it is unsafe to do so. In such situations, it automatically applies the brakes. This feature is also available for the redesigned 2021 Kia Sorento.

Both the Kia Sorento and the Kia K5 offer camera- and navigation data-based adaptive cruise control functions, as well as a Leading Vehicle Departure Alert system perfect for people who like to check e-mail or social media while waiting at traffic lights. It senses when the car ahead has started moving, and it sounds a reminder for the driver to pay attention.

All of these features fall under the Kia Drive Wise umbrella. Remember, though, that the contents of Kia Drive Wise change with the model and the model year. The newer and more expensive the vehicle, the more comprehensive and sophisticated the list of technologies. Before buying a new Kia, make sure you understand what's included and what's not.

Kia is the source of information in this article. It was accurate on October 26, but it may have changed since that date.

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