TechnologyTell

Darting Around. Admiring the 8.4″ UConnect System

Sections: Car Audio, Infotainment, Installations, Navigation, Telematics

2
Print Friendly

 

2013 Dodge Dart GT dash

2013 Dodge Dart GT dash

Although Lyndon has been showered with some Chrysler products of late, this is my first experience with the 8.4″ UConnect infotainment system.  And color me impressed.  I was jaded from the experience in my father’s 2012 Chrysler Town & Country minivan that it was going to be lackluster.  I’ll call Chrysler out on that old product and remark the voice recognition on that vehicle is ten years behind the time.  It is like using Dragon speech recognition on a 486 and having the digital voice recite back “Let’s have a blast nation!” when you ask “Where is the gas station?”

But now, Ohmigod!  The voice recognition works well.  You can actually tell the navigation street addresses on the fly, and it can figure them out.  My acid test for a nav system voice recognition is to give it addresses in Queens that are hyphenated.  For example, Queens borough has 84th Street, 84th Avenue, and 84th Row (for a multitude of street numbers) and the house numbers do not correspond with the street prefix (or anything for that matter- Exam

2013 Dodge Dart GT dash

2013 Dodge Dart GT dash

ple, 91-98 84th Street).  If you a nav system to struggle, try some obscure Queens house addresses.

Not only did the UConnect system get most of the addresses right from the get go, but the nav would drop a pushpin on the intended address and ask you if you would like to navigate there now (say ‘Yes’ to enter the current destination!).

So, the Dodge Dart getting really close to the industry standard of in-dash technology and integration.  Ford SYNC with MyFordTouch.  Although my MyFordTouch has its naysayers, I say its high learning curve puts off a lot of people.  But if given the chance to master, it can be the most rewarding in-car infotainment experience this side of a Tesla.  The UConnect comes even closer to the experience while being easier to use.  Slight gripe?  Can I have the seat heater controls as hard buttons somewhere?   I like to be able to toggle them on and off as needed.  Right now they take three presses to activate and remove the activation window GUI.  Sometimes simple is best.

Butt heat and steering wheel heat buttons notwithstanding, the UConnect system paired with my iPhone instantly and Bluetooth streaming music through MOG worked flawlessly.  If MyFordTouch is the iPhone 5S, perhaps UConnect is the Galaxy S4.  Both are good.  Both have their fans.  Both will give a great experience if you RTFM.  But you might not have to sift though extra pages with UConnect’s intuitiveness.

2
Print Friendly

2 Comments

  1. You picked up on something of which I’m not too fond in the Uconnect system, as well: The insistence on placing seat and steering wheel heat controls in the screen only. They did this on the Chrysler 300 SRT8 I tested earlier in the year, too, and it was equally a bad idea in that car. I know it makes for cleaner dash and console design to nix the hard buttons, but honestly, I’d rather have the eyesore and the usability than make it more difficult to control seat heating and cooling in the name of vanity.

    Lyndon Johnson
    • Dodge Dart- I get it. Save a few bucks on some switchgear. 300? Give me some hard buttons. But at least the UConnect screen was smart enough to offer me to turn the heaters on upon firing up the ignition.

      Brett Solomon