Lexus will include HD Radio with iTunes Tagging in its 2013 GS 350 model, the first Lexus to have iBiquity’s digital radio technology. The automaker says the luxury sedan will be available in February 2012. (There apparently will be no 2012 model year for the redesigned GS lineup.)
Separately — and in a different part of the economy/luxury spectrum — Kia announced this week that one of its 2012 Soul models will include HD Radio. A mid-cycle “freshened” Soul, starting at $13,900, is coming soon to dealerships; it will be the fourth Kia to include the technology following the Optima, Sorento and Sportage.
In the Lexus G30, HD Radio with iTunes tagging will come standard as part of an eight-inch control display centrally located high up in the instrument panel. GS buyers also get DVD audio and video compatibility, MP3 sound enhancement and 5.1 surround sound. A three-month trial to Sirius XM Satellite Radio also will be included.
An SMS text-to-speech feature allows a driver to be read text messages and send preset responses with a compatible smartphone. The Gracenote Media management system creates dynamic music playlists.
By adding an optional navigation system, GS owners can get a 12.3-inch, split-screen, multi-media display.
GS buyers also will have access to Lexus Enform, which, through a mobile phone connection and associated apps, enables users to use iHeartRadio or Pandora (as well as do things like make restaurant reservations through OpenTable or get movie tickets via MovieTickets.com). That system is upgradeable through over-the-air downloads, so new apps and content can be added later.
The Kia Soul comes in three trims: Soul, Soul+ and Soul! (exclaim). Standard is an AM/FM/CD/MP3 audio system including Sirius XM Satellite Radio and three months of free service if the buyer chooses to activate that. USB and auxiliary input jacks are located in the center console.
The Soul! (exclaim) trim level includes HD Radio as standard along with a 4.3-inch color touch screen, rear camera display and a power sunroof.
The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcement by Toyota that it will include HD Radio as a factory-installed option in certain models of the 2012 Camry, arriving at dealerships in October.