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2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Refined Just Right; Raw Where It Counts

Chrysler's Uconnect Infotainment System: Better Than Before

Our previous encounters with the Uconnect infotainment system were disappointing, to say the least. Chrysler's 430N (RHB) radio with Uconnect in our base 2011 VW Routan is a poorly thought-out solution when it comes to both navigation and Bluetooth connectivity. But the latest implementation does away with the double-DIN form factor and replaces it with a better-integrated display.

Chrysler eschews the common 16:9 display for a 4:3-ratio, 8.4-inch touchscreen LCD. It's mounted high and center, sporting a resolution of 640x480. That sounds somewhat low, but we didn't notice any text clarity issues. In fact, everything looked great from the driver’s seat. There is just a bit of glare with the sunroof open.

You probably wouldn't think it, but the 4:3 aspect ratio is a remarkable upgrade over typical 16:9 screens. It gives you more intuitive real estate for direct access to the Radio, Media, Controls (seat and steering wheel heat), Climate, Nav, Phone, and App sub-menus.

Although it sports a primarily touch-driven infotainment system tied in with the rest of the SUV's functions, the Grand Cherokee does maintain physical buttons and knobs for climate control and the stereo. As you've probably learned by now, we appreciate mechanical input for a lot of basic functionality. It cuts down on the amount of time we have to spend navigating menus and, over time, we can turn down the air conditioning or crank the volume without taking our eyes off the road. You do need to use the touchscreen for activating the seat heaters, ventilators, or triggering the heated steering wheel, however. On the bright side, the Uconnect Access system facilitates direct access to comfort amenities while the system boots, so you can warm your buns that much more quickly on a cold day.

New to Uconnect Access is integrated cellular connectivity through Sprint’s 3G network. The main reason you'd want this is for telematics services like 911 emergency calling, roadside assistance, vehicle theft assistance, theft alarm, and remote lock/unlock functionality. Cooler still, Uconnect Access also has integrated hot-spot capabilities for in-car mobile device usage. Turning the Jeep into a moving hot-spot will cost you, though. Chrysler thinks it's reasonable to charge $10 a day, $20 a week, or $35 a month for the service. We weren't able to test the in-vehicle hot-spot feature during our week with the Grand Cherokee, but we'd just as soon use the 4G functionality on our cell phones anyway.

The Uconnect Access system lets you adjust driving aids, set remote start options, change the headlight turn-off delay time, and control the auto door lock/unlock, among other settings. We applaud Chrysler for making these settings configurable, rather than forcing you to visit the dealership to alter its default programming.

  • cheesyboy
    I hope the sponsorship money from Jeep helps pay for good stuff elsewhere on the site, because this was a damned boring article.
    Reply
  • sanilmahambre
    other then all those tech-check the actual thing that attracts customers towards Jeep is the front trademark spiral grill.
    I drove it in Far cry 2
    Reply
  • vertexx
    What's up with the miss-fitting front lighting? It looks like they re-designed all the front lighting and didn't bother fitting the front-end cutouts to the new lighting. Looks terrible.
    Reply
  • MU_Engineer
    This has to be the only car review article where the only performance graphs are for how quickly the infotainment system starts up. At the very least time it going 0-60 (it *does* have a Hemi after all), do a slalom test to see how well you can avoid text-addled drivers weaving in and out of their lane at 50 mph on the interstate, and see how many Antec 1200s fit in the back. (shakes head)
    Reply
  • poik
    How do the gauges work with polarized glasses?
    Reply
  • tuanies
    11512660 said:
    This has to be the only car review article where the only performance graphs are for how quickly the infotainment system starts up. At the very least time it going 0-60 (it *does* have a Hemi after all), do a slalom test to see how well you can avoid text-addled drivers weaving in and out of their lane at 50 mph on the interstate, and see how many Antec 1200s fit in the back. (shakes head)

    We do not have a track to test 0-60 on while maintaining consistency, nor do we have accurate equipment to test such feats. Speed limit here is 60 and most people do 70-80 weaving in and out of traffic ;). I deny going those "speeds" but the Jeep is quite competent and that HEMI, every press of the gas pedal makes me shed a tear for the fuel economy while enjoying the thrust. Either way we have a SRT8 booked next month for a quick follow up. Hopefully the Pandora and other apps work by then.

    I don't have enough Antec 1200s to test, but that's a pretty good idea for testing methods :).

    11512907 said:
    How do the gauges work with polarized glasses?

    I do not wear polarized glasses so I can't really tell you - mine are just transitions. I don't see them being a problem though. You could always just turn up the brightness on the LCD. It gets very bright.
    Reply
  • cheesyboy
    11512660 said:
    This has to be the only car review article where the only performance graphs are for how quickly the infotainment system starts up. At the very least time it going 0-60 (it *does* have a Hemi after all), do a slalom test to see how well you can avoid text-addled drivers weaving in and out of their lane at 50 mph on the interstate, and see how many Antec 1200s fit in the back. (shakes head)

    Slalom test, you say? Hope it does better than its predecessor;
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zaYFLb8WMGM
    Reply
  • rezzahd
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.
    Reply
  • tuanies
    11513248 said:
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.

    We have 6 pages dedicated to the tech inside the car that traditional publications just gloss over...
    Reply
  • rezzahd
    11513294 said:
    11513248 said:
    I honestly feel like this article is a waste of time. not on my part for reading it, but on Tom's part for producing an article on a site that attracts people more towards hardware specs. If I wanna read I car review I will go to Car & Driver not Tom's Hardware.

    We have 6 pages dedicated to the tech inside the car that traditional publications just gloss over...

    Okay, sorry got a little ahead of myself. I was just saying when I think car reviews in general I just mean there are other sources I would go to. I tend not to look at the tech in cars. I actually prefer to see how well things like the motor and transmission are built over how fast boot times are for a camera.
    Reply