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
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.