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William Maley

Quick Drive: 2017 Kia Soul Exclaim

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I happen to be a big fan of the Kia Soul. Its daring looks, spacious interior, and overall value make it an interesting option in the compact class. It seems many others would agree as the Soul is one of Kia’s best selling models. To help keep it up there, Kia has introduced a new turbo engine for the top-line Exclaim (!) model along with minor changes for 2017. Let's see how these changes affect the Soul.

  • Aside from the turbo engine, Kia made some design tweaks to the Exclaim to have it stand out from other Soul trims. This includes a new front bumper, red accents, 18-inch alloy wheels, a twin-tip exhaust, and exclusive colors like this copper color seen here. The little changes really make the Soul stand out even further than before.
  • Moving on to the turbo engine, it is a 1.6L four-cylinder packing 201 horsepower and 195 pound-feet of torque. This is only paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission. If you really want a manual with your turbo-four, Kia will gladly sell you a Forte5 SX which features the same engine.
  • There is a brief moment of turbo lag when you step on the accelerator, but the engine comes into its own after this with power building smoothly. There are no issues with getting up to speed when merging or making a pass.
  • The dual-clutch transmission is a bit of a mixed bag. In stop-and-go traffic, the transmission exhibits some jerkiness and lazy shifts. We also noticed the transmission was slow to respond in terms of downshifting, making us think the programming for this transmission was focused on fuel economy. At higher speeds, the transmission is better with rapid and smooth shifts.
  • The turbo engine has the highest fuel economy fuel economy figures in the Soul lineup with an EPA rating of 26 City/31 Highway/28 Combined. We saw an average of 25.3 mpg during our week in mostly city driving, which is slightly disappointing.
  • With the turbo engine and racy looks, you might think that this particular Soul is fun to drive. Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is not the case. Out on a winding road, the Soul is competent with minimal body roll and okay steering. This would be ok if it weren’t for the sporty image that is being portrayed by the exterior. We do wish that Kia had made some changes to the suspension to make it slightly sportier. 
  • The upside to not messing with the Soul’s suspension is it mostly retains the smooth and comfortable ride of other models. Mostly is the keyword as the 18-inch wheels do introduce some harshness to the Soul’s ride.
  • There is a fair amount of wind and road noise, most of this due to the Soul’s boxy shape.
  • The Soul’s interior is still as sharp looking as it first was when the current model was launched in 2013. Little touches such as the uniquely styled air vents and orange accent stitching give the Soul a bit of whimsy. The extensive use of soft-touch materials gives off an aura of quality.
  • Driver and passenger get power seats which make finding a comfortable position very easy. Those sitting in the back will appreciate the large amount of head and legroom, due to the Soul’s boxy shape.
  • Our test Soul came with optional Technology Package that includes an 8-inch touchscreen with Kia’s UVO infotainment system and navigation. It is beginning to show its age in terms of the graphics, but it is still one of the most intuitive systems on sale today. A simple layout and redundant physical buttons make it breeze to use. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration is an added bonus.
  • The Exclaim begins at $22,650 and comes well equipped. Standard features include automatic climate control, 7-inch touchscreen with UVO, Bluetooth, leather and cloth wrapped seats, push-button start with proximity key, and automatic headlights. Opt for the technology to get the 8-inch system, blind spot monitoring with rear-cross traffic alert, heated seats and steering wheel, and power folding mirrors. For only $26,995, you get a nicely equipped vehicle. Our test vehicle is slightly more expensive at $27,620 due to an optional panoramic sunroof which we would skip.

Disclaimer: Kia Provided the Soul, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2017
Make: Kia
Model: Soul
Trim: ! (Exclaim)
Engine: Turbocharged 1.6L GDI Four-Cylinder 
Driveline: Front-Wheel Drive, Seven-Speed Dual-Clutch Automatic
Horsepower @ RPM: 201 @ 6,000
Torque @ RPM: 195 @ 1,500 - 4,500
Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 26/31/28
Curb Weight: 3,232 lbs
Location of Manufacture: Gwangju, South Korea
Base Price: $22,650
As Tested Price: $27,620 (Includes $850.00 Destination Charge)

Options:
Technology Package - $3,000.00
Panoramic Sunroof - $1,000.00
Carpeted Floor Mars - $120.00


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These are awesome actually.  Lots of vertical room.  Plenty of legroom in the rear.  Nice cargo hold.  And a friendly demeanor.

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Drove one from Arizona to NC back in May (when my dad passed away) and I really liked it. Just to illustrate how much, I had to drive a Jeep Compass (previous model, not the new one) back to Arizona and I would set that thing on fire in the middle of the freeway if I could get away with it. The Soul was infinitely better in every regard, from acceleration to looks. Simply no comparison. 

35A16296-E389-439F-BEFD-3B0F5909AC6D.jpeg

C251263C-0F75-4137-9E40-EB7F81D9FA04.jpeg

Edited by surreal1272
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6 minutes ago, Drew Dowdell said:

Lol that old compass was terrible.

I have a Quick Drive review of the new one coming.

 

That CVT deserves a slow and painful death and if I can help it, will be the last CVT I drive. 

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1 hour ago, surreal1272 said:

That CVT deserves a slow and painful death and if I can help it, will be the last CVT I drive. 

Agreed, while I loved the interior room of my Son's Patriot, both him and I do not miss it or the weird crazy flaky CVT transmission.

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1 hour ago, dfelt said:

Agreed, while I loved the interior room of my Son's Patriot, both him and I do not miss it or the weird crazy flaky CVT transmission.

“Flaky” is putting it mildly. Garbage is more like it. 

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Soul is a neat little vehicle that I personally feel no affection for.

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32 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Soul is a neat little vehicle that I personally feel no affection for.

So you have no Soul?

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sat in a new compass at the dealer this morning while getting oil changed, i know this is a soul thread, but the compass was mentioned.  the new one is really nice and i don't see how most folks would prefer a soul over the new compass.

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13 hours ago, surreal1272 said:

Drove one from Arizona to NC back in May (when my dad passed away) and I really liked it. Just to illustrate how much, I had to drive a Jeep Compass (previous model, not the new one) back to Arizona and I would set that thing on fire in the middle of the freeway if I could get away with it. The Soul was infinitely better in every regard, from acceleration to looks. Simply no comparison. 

35A16296-E389-439F-BEFD-3B0F5909AC6D.jpeg

C251263C-0F75-4137-9E40-EB7F81D9FA04.jpeg

And my wife still wants to get one of these (we had one for a little while when my Cobalt was in for the recall) While the drive was okay, only because it had the 6 speed......

Think she'd be much happier with the Kia....

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Cars with punctuation marks in them are always good.   $27k seems like a lot but I guess not if it is loaded up and it is probably quicker than most small crossovers with that turbo.

This is also the successor to Pontiac Excitement!

Edited by smk4565
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Oh no you dih int compare the much loved, historically rich and venerable Pontiac brand to a Kia Soul.

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12 hours ago, daves87rs said:

And my wife still wants to get one of these (we had one for a little while when my Cobalt was in for the recall) While the drive was okay, only because it had the 6 speed......

Think she'd be much happier with the Kia....

I am sure that the new Compass is much better but initial reviews seem to share similar complaints about the CVT. It will forever be a nonstarter for me. The Soul would be the way to go although an AWD option would be nice. 

Edited by surreal1272
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There is no way to order a new Compass with a CVT.  It is either the nine-speed automatic or the 6 speed manual (like mine has).

100_2315.JPG

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23 hours ago, regfootball said:

sat in a new compass at the dealer this morning while getting oil changed, i know this is a soul thread, but the compass was mentioned.  the new one is really nice and i don't see how most folks would prefer a soul over the new compass.

The absolute effing voice of reason speaking here.

On 10/28/2017 at 4:33 PM, surreal1272 said:

So you have no Soul?

As an atheist and a metaphysical naturalist of course I don't.  As a fat middle aged guy who doesn't want drive around with a paper bag on my head I also do not own a Korean import popularized by rodents either.

Edited by A Horse With No Name
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15 hours ago, ocnblu said:

There is no way to order a new Compass with a CVT.  It is either the nine-speed automatic or the 6 speed manual (like mine has).

100_2315.JPG

This is not a manual.

 

179CE2EF-F765-4D0F-9AAB-D95D5D1C1965.png

Edited by surreal1272

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14 hours ago, A Horse With No Name said:

The absolute effing voice of reason speaking here.

As an atheist and a metaphysical naturalist of course I don't.  As a fat middle aged guy who doesn't want drive around with a paper bag on my head I also do not own a Korean import popularized by rodents either.

How is that the voice of reason? It’s just an opinion and an opinion that is not widely shared. As stated earlier, the only thing the Compass offers over something like the Soul is AWD. Silly commercials aside, it is a great car that doesn’t have the many hassles of the Compass, like a sluggish tranny and sluggish acceleration (both common complaints on the old and new Compass). The new Compass also pushes $34K for a fully loaded model, which is $7K above any loaded Soul. Sorry, but with $34K, I can get a mid size CUV (or something better) for that kind of coin. 

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13 minutes ago, Frisky Dingo said:

The Soul is a neat little ride. It's really the spiritual successor to the original xB.

Yes, but I prefer the original xB, having owned one.

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29 minutes ago, surreal1272 said:

This is not a manual.

 

179CE2EF-F765-4D0F-9AAB-D95D5D1C1965.png

Interesting as I discovered playing with the configurator. If you are FWD on the Compass  you get their so called 6 speed CVT transmission. If you go 4x4, you get the choice of a manual or 9 speed transmission.

Weird Part is their 9 speed appears to be the same picture as the 6 speed cvt.

2018JeepCompass4x4.jpg

Their web site does not seem to really state that the 9 spd is a true gear transmission, but it could be with the new tech in packaging. Have to dig into this more as I always thought the 9 spd was a true gear transmission.

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Update, found more info, seems they are almost identical but the 9 spd is a true gear transmission as the builder offers these pics.

ZF (spd Transmission

928TE-486x550.jpg

zf-9hp-9-speed-automatic-cutaway.jpg

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21 minutes ago, A Horse With No Name said:

Yes, but I prefer the original xB, having owned one.

The Cube seemed more like the xB than the Soul...and had a cool name and funky styling. 

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      Next-Generation Soul Strikes Back With Forward Design, Modern Tech, and More Diverse Model Lineup Iconic shape and profile evolve on top of all-new platform Technologically advanced cockpit designed to provide visceral musical experience   New 2.0-liter engine and available IVT transmission combination Available 10.25-inch wide display2 and available Head-Up Display2  play up Soul’s high-tech image New “GT-Line” models and “X-Line” adds more visual and performance excitement to Soul family LOS ANGELES, Nov. 28, 2018 – At the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show today, Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced a better way to roll with the world debut of the all-new 2020 Soul, a completely new yet familiar version of Kia’s beloved and award-winning urban runabout. Taking everything that helped popularize the quirky, unconventionally styled subcompact, Kia Motors poured more of its soul into nearly every inch of the vehicle, resulting in a third-generation that continues to transcend unmatched style, peppy performance, thrilling technology, and urban practicality.
      “The Soul has been a massive success since its introduction to the U.S. market, blowing its (now defunct) rivals out of the water and establishing itself as an automotive icon with its fun-loving character and eccentric style,” said Orth Hedrick, executive director of Car Planning and Telematics. “Even with an entirely new generation of competitors now crowding the marketplace, we are confident the all-new Soul will once again prove to be a tough contender given its unparalleled style and impressive level of invigorating technology and customization options.”
      Proving the point that “there is a Soul for everyone,” the normally aspirated and optionally turbocharged Soul is available in six trim levels – LX, S, X-Line, GT-Line, EX, “EX Designer Collection” – plus the all-new Soul EV (outlined in a separate press release). Pricing will be available closer to expected on-sale date in the first half of next year.
      Design Beyond the Box
      While the Soul stays true to its design heritage with its boxy silhouette and confident stance, its newly sculpted lines, cutting-edge details, and technical lighting elements present the most futuristic, youthful and innovative Soul yet.
      New exterior design highlights include:
      High-tech front headlight configuration with connecting trim piece accentuates width Slim-design daytime running lights and turn signal indicators Larger front grille with unique two-tone treatment Front fenders add volume to clean and smooth surfaces Roof rack mounting points Three-dimensional wraparound boomerang-shaped taillights C-pillars designed to resemble airplane wings Signature vertical rear window and “Island” stay true to Soul design heritage Distinctive C-pillar garnish features new “Soul” graphic Music has been an overarching theme for Soul since its inception, and it’s no different this round.. For the third generation, designers and engineers turned up the volume on the interior. Drawing inspiration from the “emotional visualization of sound,” the Soul’s interior space is adorned with shapes and textures that reflect acoustic inspired elements to create a full sensory experience.
      Interior design highlights include:
      Available sound mood lighting emits soft light from the center door panels and a unique 3D pattern surface on the upper door panels, with the ability to synchronize to the beat of the music playing through the Soul’s audio system Sound mood lighting features a rainbow of customizable colors Available wireless charging1 Available dual auto climate control Soul’s signature tweeter speakers HIGHLIGHT – SOUL’S MOOD LIGHTING SYSTEM
      Since the Kia Soul first arrived on the scene in 2009, it has established a very real and remarkable connection with music. This continues to be a core attribute of the Soul's persona and the volume has been turned up to 11 with a new mood lighting system that tailors the interior ambiance according to a variety of selectable “moods”:
      Hey! Yo! Party Time Traveling Romance Midnight City Cafe Smart Packaging and Stronger Structure
      Despite its compact footprint, the Soul’s boxy dimensions continue to offer up a surprising amount of cargo and passenger space. Slightly longer than before, the 2020 Soul also features more smartly designed packaging in an effort to make accessibility even easier.
      Exterior Dimensions:
      Length: 165.2 in. [+2.2 in.] Width: 70.9 in. [unchanged] Height: 63.0 in. [unchanged] Wheelbase: 102.4 in. [+1.2 in.] Interior Dimensions:
      Legroom (front / rear): 41.1 in./ 38.8 in. [+0.2 in./ - 0.3 in.] Headroom without sunroof (front / rear): 39.4 in. / 39.5 in. [-0.2 in./ unchanged] Shoulder room (front /rear): 55.5 in. /54.7 in. [unchanged] Cargo capacity: 23.8 cu.-ft. [+ 5.0 cu. ft.] Packaging highlights:
      Wider and lower rear liftgate opening improves ease of loading and unloading Easy grip handle on liftgate Dual level cargo board offers flexibility with the ability to accommodate taller items using the lower level setting Larger front door openings as a result of sculpted front door panels The 2020 Soul’s stronger structure benefits from an increased use of Advanced High Strength Steel (AHSS), hot stamped components, and structural adhesive. With stronger bones, the 2020 Soul is expected to achieve the highest safety ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and National Traffic Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).
      Next-Gen Infotainment and Kia Drive Wise Technologies
      Recognizing that one’s car is an integral part of their social life, the 2020 Soul continues to surprise and delight with next-gen infotainment and technology.
      Available 10.25-inch HD color touchscreen2 with split screen function (standard on EX, GT-Line with turbo engine) and rear view monitor3 and parking guidance Android Auto4 and Apple Car Play5 Bluetooth®6 Multi-Connection - two Bluetooth devices can be connected at the same time Available 8-inch Head-Up Display2 Available 640-watt Harman Kardon7 audio system – twice the wattage of current Soul – with an amplifier and 10 speakers including tuned center speaker and subwoofer Like other newly designed Kia models, the all-new Soul offers a suite of available Kia Drive Wise features8 including:
      Forward Collision Avoidance (FCA) / FCA Pedestrian type Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) Lane Changing Assist (LCA) Driver Attention Warning (DAW)9 Blind-spot Collision Warning (BCW) Rear Cross Collision Warning (RCW) Smart Cruise Control (SCC) High Beam Assist (HBA) What Drives You?
      Soul enhances its fun-to-drive personality and versatility with different drivetrain combinations. From the all-new 2019 Forte, Kia’s Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) is now available on the 2020 Soul for those who require efficiency with their zip. Designed and built in-house, the IVT is Kia’s unique version of a continuously variable transmission that provides an engaging driving experience.
      2.0-liter Nu four-cylinder engine + 6-speed manual transmission or Intelligent Variable Transmission (IVT) 147 horsepower, 132 lb-ft. of torque For those that require even more zip, a turbocharged option is also available: 
      1.6-liter twin-scroll turbocharged I-4 GDI engine + 7-speed dual-clutch transmission 201 horsepower, 195 lb. ft of torque With the Soul’s all-new platform comes a more refined experience behind the wheel and on the road. Engineers designed suspension geometry to help quell noise, vibration and harshness while also improving handling and comfort in a variety of conditions.
      A Soul for Everyone
      The 2020 Soul can be outfitted to convey one’s unique sense of style through a variety of customizable options. Aside from the all-new Soul EV that debuts alongside its gasoline counterpart, the Soul offers even more flexibility according to different lifestyles.
      GT-Line
      Sporty front and rear fascia 18-inch alloy wheels P235/45 R18 tires Unique side sills and front fascia with red accents Integrated fog lights on front grille Gloss black side mirrors “GT-Line” badging Leather-wrapped D-shaped steering wheel and gearshift knob Available 201-HP turbocharged engine Chrome tip center exhaust Larger disc brakes Sport-tuned suspension X-Line  
      Rugged body kit Body cladding Overfenders for chunkier look Offroad-inspired accents Unique 18-inch alloy wheels Roof rail inspired accents Optional two-tone paint Fog lights EX Designer Collection
      18-inch alloy wheels with black spokes LED headlights and fog lights Two-tone roof treatment P235/45 R18 tires ALL-NEW 2020 KIA SOUL EV COMBINES SOUL-FUL VIBE WITH ALL-ELECTRIC BUZZ
      Super Cool and Electric Too Next-generation uber-popular urban runabout again available with battery-only power Powered by a state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64 kWh battery Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge is standard equipment1 201-horsepower electric motor with 291 lb.-ft. of torque LOS ANGELES, November 28, 2018 – Today Kia Motors America (KMA) introduced the 2020 Soul, a completely new version of Kia’s beloved, award-winning and unconventional compact utility vehicle. In conjunction with that world-debut, the all-electric, battery-powered Soul EV was also unveiled. Just as quirky, fun-loving and crowd-pleasing, the Soul EV provides the opportunity for lovers of the Soul to drive without ever stopping for gas.
      A Much Better Battery
      The new Soul EV has a new state-of-the-art liquid-cooled lithium ion polymer 64 kWh battery which is expected to mean much less need for daily charging, and with Combined Charging System (CCS) DC fast-charge2 as standard equipment, battery refills should be brief so road trip fun can happily continue after only a short break.
      The new battery is currently being tested to ascertain precise EPA-estimated range. Results are expected early in 2019 and will be announced at a later date.
      Driving Dynamics – The Soul EV is More Fun Than Ever
      The Soul EV has always provided a bit of a magic carpet ride, whisking along silently with seemingly effortless pull. Now, with 201 horsepower and 291 lb.-ft. of torque (way up from 210 lb.-ft. in the outgoing model), drivers will feel like a virtual Aladdin. Handling and driving dynamics are also much improved, thanks to the addition of independent rear suspension. The new Soul EV also provides plenty of tools for drivers to customize their driving experience and their battery usage, including:
      Four drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Sport and Eco+ – that automatically adjust power output to the traction motor, regenerative braking, air conditioning and heating settings, and set speed limits to help manage operating efficiency3 depending on driving conditions Smart regenerative braking operated via paddle shifters provides drivers the ability to slow the car and capture kinetic energy, adding extra range. Drivers can choose from four regen braking levels (0 to 3) depending on desired driving smoothness, enjoyment and efficiency Brake and Hold System feature allows regen paddle shifter to bring the car to a full stop4 Smart Regen System adjusts the regenerative braking level based on a vehicle being detected in front of the Soul EV and creates smoother coast-down driving, especially when descending a steep road5 Smart Eco Pedal Guide display on the instrument cluster keeps the driver aware of real-time battery usage based on accelerator pedal input      
      HIGHLIGHT –SOUL AND SOUL EV– WHAT’S THE DIFF?

      The 2020 Soul is all-new with a refreshed exterior that stays true to its boxy origins – a distinctive look beloved by legions of fans. The new Soul EV is built with the same architecture, but imbued with unique styling that provides the car a flair of its own:
      Restyled front and rear bumper fascias Solid front grille insert with charging door conveniently located on driver’s side LED headlamps strikingly integrated into upper cross-car brow Unique fog lamps Exclusive EV five-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels  Technology Befitting a Thoroughly Modern Vehicle
      The Soul EV comes equipped with a long list of state-of-the-art features to help enhance safety, improve the driving experience and provide ease of operation and ownership. Kia engineers and designers have thought of everything. Every Soul EV includes a suite of “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems, and a long list of standard and optional equipment, highlights of which are listed below.
      High-tech rotary shifter (shift-by-wire) 10.25-inch color touchscreen6 with rear view monitor7 and parking guidance 6-speaker audio system (AM/FM/SiriusXM)8 with USB input Steering wheel-mounted audio controls Apple CarPlay9 and Android Auto10 Bluetooth11 wireless connectivity with voice recognition 7 airbags12 (dual front advanced air bags, dual front seat-mounted side air bags, side curtain air bags with rollover sensor, driver's side knee air bag) Vehicle Safety Systems13 Antilock braking Traction control Electronic stability control Hill-start assist control Tire pressure monitoring system Pedestrian warning system “Kia Drive Wise” Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS)14 Forward Collision Warning (FCW) Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA) Lane Departure Warning (LDW) Lane Keeping Assist (LKA) Driver Attention Warning (DAW)15 Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go Blind Spot Collision Warning (BSW) (available) Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Warning (available) Parking Distance Warning – Reverse only (available) New for Soul EV is a revamped UVO telematics system that allows owners to monitor and control a long list of vehicle operations, including:
      Notifications of battery and charging status Real-time charging station update Scheduled charging Panic notifications – the vehicle will send a notification to the server if the panic alarm is triggered and the system dials 911 emergency services, provides the car position via GPS, and opens a live microphone so that emergency workers can communicate with the vehicle occupants “Send2Car” points of interest (POI) and waypoints — owners will be able to plan a road trip with waypoints and send it to the vehicles’ navigation system
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