Today's Rant: Mic quality on the 2014 Kia Forte

Today's Rant: Mic quality on the 2014 Kia Forte

I was having a phone call with my boss in the 2014 Kia Forte, and in the first minute of the call, he asked: "Are you in a tunnel?" Nope. I wasn't. "Well, you sound really far away," he said.

Because I needed to hear and be heard, I switched to using headphones, to which he responded: "Much better."

I should note that I could hear him just fine through the Kia audio speakers. So, I assumed it was because of an awkwardly placed mic. Kia has done that in the past. But, I'm not sure that was it. The speaker was toward the center, rather than off to the left side. Then, I thought perhaps it was the Sprint "dead zones" that seem to keep popping up all over Chicago. But I had conversations later with my parents and friends at different Chicago locations, and they all reported the same thing: "You sound really far away."

It could have been my far-forward seating position. Or it could just be bad mic quality. But regardless, I had to use headphones to make calls while driving for the entire test week, and that kind of defeats the purpose of Bluetooth hands-free calling.

So, my new recommendation to anyone who's buying a car with this feature: Make a test call first. To have a car for a week and need to use headphones is no big deal. But to have a car for 5 to 10 years and need to use headphones when you thought you'd be able to call through the car is something quite different.

As an aside, during the whole "far away" incidents, I kept having Sesame Street flashbacks of Grover doing his "Near, Far" skit. The person on the other end of the line sounded near through the car's speakers. But I, apparently, sounded far away on the other side of the call. So, of course, I had to look and see if I could find the skit on YouTube. And, of course, I did. So I thought I'd share ...

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