Forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking are slowly reaching ubiquity in new cars without having to opt for four-figure equipment packages. Like anything else involving software, however, there always exists the possibility that a bug might cause unintended behavior, which is the reason for Kia's latest recall.
Kia has issued a recall for 11,423 examples of the 2019 Kia Optima sedan. The vehicles included in the recall carry build dates between May 21, 2018 and May 29, 2019, and there is no specific VIN sequence tied to the defect. Some of the vehicles are equipped with Kia's 1.6-liter turbo I4, while others use the 2.0-liter turbo I4.
The issue comes from Kia's forward collision warning system, which includes automatic emergency braking. According to the automaker, a software error might cause the vehicle to ignore a stationary vehicle instead of warning the driver and, if necessary, engaging the car's brakes.
Here's how Kia discovered the issue. On May 20, Kia's supplier identified a software error that might have been installed on Kia's 2019 Optimas. Kia spent the next 10 days investigating and analyzing the error, and after two more weeks of duplication testing to confirm the error, Kia decided to conduct a recall. The automaker has no record of complaints, warranty claims or accidents related to the problem.
The remedy is pretty straightforward, given that the defect is entirely software-based. Dealers will accept the recalled vehicles and apply a software patch to the vehicle to ensure proper functionality of the autobrake system. The software patch has been applied to 2019 Optimas at the factory since May 30. Owners should expect to receive recall notifications in the mail starting in late August.