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

Music Features And Rear Seat Amenities

Uconnect Access enables fairly standard music features. You get playback through USB flash drives and iOS devices, auxiliary input, SiriusXM, and HD Radio. Jeep exposes an SD memory card slot in the cluster of connectors as well.

Knowing that the slot was available, it worked out really well to load music onto a dedicated SD card during our week with the Grand Cherokee. The card doesn't stick out as far as a flash drive, and it kept the USB port open for my phone charger. Regardless of whether you go the USB drive or SD card route, navigating attached storage is easy. Simply browse by folder, artist, or album, and select the track you want to listen to. If album art is available, that gets displayed.

SiriusXM is also easy to move around and through, thanks to direct station tuning and category displays. Uconnect Access also supports radio time-shifting, so you can replay your favorite Nickelback song to your heart’s content. HD Radio is even simpler by virtue of standard radio controls and support for sub-stations. There is no iTunes tagging with Uconnect Access’ HD Radio feature, but this isn't something we really miss anyway. Rarely, if ever, have we wanted to tag a song and then go home to buy it.

Each music playback mode gives you the option of displaying the navigation map without switching completely over to the navigation menu. It’s a small touch, but we do appreciate the freedom to look over at the map and our radio presets at the same time.

If for some reason you still enjoy buying CDs, jumping in the car, and throwing them into a disc changer, you're going to be disappointed to find out that the Grand Cherokee doesn't have a CD or DVD player. You'll need to go home and rip your music onto a USB flash drive or SD card first. Not a big deal, as far as we're concerned. Still, it's interesting to see compact discs going the way of the cassette tape.

Fans of Internet radio have to wait for proper integration. Again, Chrysler is claiming support for Pandora, iHeartRadio, Aha, and Slacker, but they're still coming soon. Once they're ready, each app will connect through your mobile device, and not the integrated Sprint connection.

Rear Seat Amenities

Rear passengers are presented with two USB ports, a 115 V outlet, and heated seats. No, you can't hijack the sound system by plugging your own flash drive into one of the USB ports; they're for charging only. Still, that's a nice addition if your guests find their phones or tablets running low on charge. Jeep even adds lighting to the ports, making them easier to see at night. The integrated inverter delivers up to 150 W, which is plenty for even the heaviest-duty notebooks.