A Seven-Inch LCD Gauge Cluster
Our previous encounters with LCD-based gauge clusters were not very positive. Usually, the graphics are badly aliased. Or, they try to mimic analog gauges and fail miserably. The Grand Cherokee gets us thinking otherwise, though. Instead of just swapping the conventional gauge cluster for a large display, Jeep features a seven-inch LCD that can convey vehicle information or simply operate as a speedometer. The LCD is accompanied by traditional gauges, creating a cluster that's familiar to the less tech-inclined, while introducing new features, too.
There are two main display templates for the Grand Cherokee’s LCD gauge cluster. One emulates an analog dial speedometer, while the other is a digital readout of your speed. As computer enthusiasts, the faux analog speedometer is pretty disappointing. The graphics are noticeably jaggy, and can use some anti-aliasing. Switching over to the digital readout yields much smooth graphics. That became our preferred display output during our time with the Grand Cherokee.
The LCD cluster can tell you far more than just your speed, though. It's also an excellent off-road driving aid, displaying power distribution to each wheel in any given situation, transmission temperature, engine oil temperature, oil pressure, and 4WD terrain mode. There’s also a very cool mode that shows the wheel articulation angles, which we found useful during our off-road adventure with the Jeep.
When you're on-road, the display conveys music playback information, turn-by-turn directions, and adaptive cruise control status. There’s even a fuel economy readout, which is mildly depressing, given the 5.7 L V8 under the hood. Jeep is to be commended for not going overboard with LCD gauge. It's a nice balance between old-school analog and the usefulness of a configurable digital output.
Once upon a time, programming simple functions like automatic door locks required a trip to the dealership. But through Uconnect Access, Jeep gives you access to driving aid warnings, lights, comfort, and door lock settings from the infotainment touchscreen. Beats the heck out of paying ridiculous dealer labor charges just to program something simple, like locking the doors when the vehicle is in motion.