What Is Uconnect and What Can It Do?
Jeep, Ram, Dodge, and others use this multifaceted infotainment system.
| | |
Most new cars today come with infotainment screens that not only display trip data and navigational guidance but also perform entertainment functions, thus the portmanteau "infotainment." Different automakers use different systems to operate the software behind these screens. Auto brands including Jeep, Ram, Dodge, Chrysler, and Fiat use a platform called Uconnect, which allows for a variety of tech functions — ranging from smartphone connectivity to vehicle-performance data.
The Uconnect system debuted in 2003 and has gained functionality over the years. It now works on screens of various sizes, ranging from the 7.0-inch displays in the Fiat 500X and Jeep Renegade to the 12.3-inch units found in the Jeep Grand Wagoneer and Ram 1500 Limited.
Users can connect their phones to the Uconnect system via Bluetooth to play their device's music through the vehicle's sound system and to make phone calls or send text messages. Uconnect also supports Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, which brings additional smartphone features to the dashboard. Just plug in your device via a USB cable or use the wireless smartphone projection feature if available.
Car Entertainment System
Uconnect allows users to select AM and FM radio stations and supports HD Radio and SiriusXM for those who have subscriptions. Some vehicles with rear-seat entertainment systems also support Amazon Fire TV for Auto so passengers can stream shows and movies.
Wi-Fi and Alexa Connectivity
Uconnect includes several smart connectivity features, including access to Amazon's artificial-intelligence program Alexa. This allows users to have Alexa conduct a variety of tasks, such as play music, podcasts, and audiobooks; add items to their to-do lists; and check news, weather, or traffic. For those who want to work on the go, Uconnect also offers a 4G LTE hotspot feature that allows users to connect to a car's Wi-Fi subscription.
Drivers of Uconnect-equipped vehicles can use a corresponding app to start, lock, or unlock their vehicles. Parents can also set up and monitor boundaries and limits for teenage drivers.
On vehicles equipped with a navigation system, users can see a map of their surroundings or chart a route to a destination through Uconnect. The latest Uconnect systems use map data from TomTom as well as TomTom's traffic and travel services to provide real-time route conditions.
Older systems may also offer navigation, though they might not have the TomTom-specific features. Some data can be included in a head-up display, as well.
Uconnect's voice-recognition system uses natural speech capability, so users don't have to memorize specific commands. Saying something such as "Find a gas station" or "Set the temperature to 70 degrees" will put the system in motion. By pressing the voice-recognition button on the steering wheel and following the prompts, users can also send text messages to their contacts without taking their eyes off the road. The latest versions of Uconnect use a wake-up word or phrase, such as "Hey, Chrysler," so users don't need to press the button to activate the system.
Drivers of high-performance SRT vehicles such as the Dodge Challenger SRT, Dodge Charger SRT, or Dodge Durango SRT get their own set of apps in Uconnect that allow them to adjust various powertrain and suspension settings, initiate launch control for off-the-line starts, display certain gauges, and keep track of performance data such as quarter-mile and zero-to-60-mph times.