Chrysler Really Connects With 8.4-inch Touch-Screen

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Chrysler's massive 8.4-inch touch-screen available in Dodge, Jeep, Chrysler, Ram and SRT models is one of the few multimedia systems to integrate dozens of tasks without overwhelming users. Tasks including smartphone integration, navigation, Satellite radio and more pair with climate control functions in one easy-to-use 8.4-inch command center versus an unwieldy combination of knobs, buttons and touch-screen complexity.

Testing Chrysler's latest Uconnect 8.4 system in the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee reminded us how seamless Uconnect works and why it's one of our favorites. Below are five aspects of the Uconnect 8.4 system that give it an advantage over not only direct competitors of Chrysler products, but in the grand scheme of all automotive multimedia offerings.

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Equal parts virtual and physical control
Chrysler could have easily made the massive 8.4-inch touch-screen the only way to access climate and tuning controls. Instead, good old redundant physical climate controls are familiar sights below the touch-screen for temperature, fan speed and defroster. In addition, the buttons and knobs aren't the modern, stylish touch-sensitive capacitive buttons so many automakers are adopting. They're just easy to reach, read and touch buttons.
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Responsive virtual buttons

Responsive virtual "buttons" are key to a user-friendly touch-screen where, as a driver, you want to hit the button only once. Uconnect 8.4's speed and responsiveness switching between radio, phone, media and climate controls is impressive. On the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee, Uconnect is the command center for heated and cooled seats plus heated steering wheel — there aren't traditional buttons for these controls. While that poses a problem in other systems that don't respond as quickly as Uconnect, the 8.4 screen makes navigating to the heated seats a breeze.
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Large icons and text

Uconnect's 8.4-inch screen has more real estate than just about any other touch-screen option — Tesla Model S not included. In addition, the display area is configured smartly with large icons and easy-to-read text. For easy access in the Jeep, seven menu icons of radio, media, controls, climate, nav, phone and apps remain fixed at the bottom no matter which screen is displayed. There's no back or home button on the touch-screen, they're not needed. A physical "back" button is provided on the Jeep, though I never used the button.
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Device integration

Uconnect immediately impresses with easy phone pairing for the system's standard Bluetooth and Bluetooth streaming audio. A USB input for music players is standard, and the Jeep's was compatible with my Samsung Galaxy SIII, as well as iPhone4 and other editors' iPhone5s. The Samsung provided audio control and album art when paired with Uconnect, which is rare for that phone as most systems are Apple-specific or have limited compatibility with other devices. Uconnect has a wide variety of compatible phones, searchable here.

It's cheap
If you haven't caught our drift yet, we really like the Uconnect 8.4. It rivals multimedia systems in ultra-expensive luxury cars. What's even better is that it's an accessible high-quality feature in Chrysler's least-expensive cars like the Dodge Dart and most-expensive ones like the SRT Viper. The system doesn't operate significantly different across the whole lineup with the exception of a few features. The touch-screen is $595 without navigation in the Dodge Dart SXT, though it pairs with Satellite radio for $790 total. In the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Uconnect 8.4 is teamed with 18-inch wheels for $1,495 on Laredo E models — a $31,490 Laredo E, including destination, is a base Laredo with power seats, Satellite radio and painted roof rails. The more-expensive Limited ($36,790) has it as $395 without navigation and $795 with navigation. Simply enough, Uconnect 8.4 is a no-brainer option for the money.

Uconnect 8.4 Availability:

  • 2013 Ram 1500, 2500/3500
  • 2013 Dodge Charger
  • 2013 Dodge Dart
  • 2014 Dodge Durango
  • 2013 Dodge Journey
  • 2013 Chrysler 300
  • 2013 SRT Viper
  • 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Related
The Dodge Dart Stereo Is Almost Perfect
2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee: Explaining the Trim Levels
Car Gadget News

*Editor's note: We inadvertently listed the Ram 1500, 2500/3500 as a Dodge model in our original version of this story.

Comments 

Neil Davison

Hey, its no longer a Dodge Ram for Model Year 2013. Please edit this to make it a RAM and not a "Dodge Ram"

WTF

Management says you are not permitted to endorse a touchscreen no matter what. Touchscreen - BAD
Buttons - GOOD

Jody Hudson

How is using this while driving any different than texting while driving? Oh, I know. When you are texting, you are able to hold the phone up in your line of sight while looking at the road. When you are using a Uconnect, you are required to look far away from directly ahead. "No-brainer" indeed.

theresa oakman

gee, seems like this could be as dangerous as texting while driving...I see one of the pics shows the passenger using it...hmmm....trying for good PR?

Abe M

I have UConnect 8.4 in 2 vehicles and I absolutely love it! Chrysler has done an amazing job designing the system with a huge screen, very well organized, and the physical buttons that are available. Companies like Ford MyTouch and and Cadillac CUE really need to admit their mistakes and copy Chrysler. My UConnect has never crashed / restarted / frozen. It responds instantaneously / pairs with devices quickly. I give it rave reviews. Now only if Chrysler can improve the exterior designs of their cars. Need I mention Jeep Cherokee?

Felip

I waited months for the 2014 Jeep GC to come out...only to get the new Nav. And now that I'm a proud owner of an awesome 2014 Jeep GC limited with 20 inch wheels and the new NAV, I love it.

This navigation is the best I've found. Satellite radio, texting (at least incoming when driving), Bluetooth...everything is really well designed. Congrats Chrysler!

Eugene

This is also good.
The software works well, Ammyy Admin doesn't require installation or specific config, works behind gateways NAT as well as within one LAN.

jj

I have a new 2013 Ram1500 with the 8.4" U-connect radio wich worked great until I took my truck in for an ABS recall. The dealer ship said they ran a software upgrade that had to be performed for the new radios when ever a vehicle is brought in for a recall. Now my radio volume only has half the power and is nowhere near as loud as it use to be.Dealer told me there is nothing they can do to fix the problem that I will just have to deal with it. Now I don't even want the truck.Time for a FORD

p38chasmo

New 2014 grand cherokee. Have had it for six months and the sat/nav cuts in and out.The dealer did the radio update with no cure. Was told chrysler is working on new antenna

fred rickard

have two temp bars on screen only left works shows hi on left sometimes dealer states not a thing wrong if it is on the screen it should work 812 4641160

Chris

UConnect is the worst thing out there. MAPS not updated. Constant incorrect directions. Voice recognition works occasionally. I would not buy a vehicle with this system in it.

Terri

Make sure you check a cell phone compatibility list BEFORE you purchase a vehicle with Uconnect. This is our third Jeep Grand Cherokee and we never dreamed that the 2014 does not support all cell phones currently on the market. Just because they sell it now, does not mean Uconnect supports it - or ever will. You can go contact them for support, but you won't get a definitive answer. Thumbs down.

ba

I have a busted screen, 8.4 uconnect in 2014 grand cherokee, where do get a replacement screen or do I have to buy the whole console?

rick

Great radio until it stops working and you have to deal with Chrysler service. My media hasn't worked in 2 months. After dealing with dealership then I finally got a case # through Chrysler. The are telling me "maybe" in 2.5 months there will be a release update. I'm pursuing the lemon law now over a radio!

They should call it UNconnect. Very unhappy customer.

Bob Schilling

The map software in UConnect for my 2013 RAM 3500 is some of the worst I've ever used. It hasn't had a single update since I bought the vehicle in June 2013. It makes constant errors, suddenly displays unknown road on major highways, forgets to mention a turn until you're going past it, changes its mind about which way to turn after you've made the turn and more. Totally sucks, and the site is always promising an update "soon". I'd love to replace that package, which I believe is made by Navteq with something from Garmin or Tm-Tom, but there's no way I can find to do this. The worst part... I'm often towing a 39' 5th wheel so it's not easy to fix the software's errors. Potential buyers be forewarned. I ended up buying a separate Rand-McNally GPS to avoid using the built-in software I paid for.

Jay

Does ram need a touch screen protector or will it alter the sensitivity.

Does the RAM 1500 need a touch screen protector, or will it alter the sensitivity of it

Will a screen protector on a Ram 1500 touch screen alter the screen sensitivity in any way. Is it recommended.

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