Chrysler Introduces Updates to Uconnect Infotainment System [2013 CES]
The big news at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show is apps and connectivity, and automakers are clamoring to bring more of the stuff to consumers. Chrysler is no different, and it is rolling out a host of upgrades for its Uconnect infotainment system at CES. There’s new radio app integration, upgradeable navigation, and new Uconnect Access functionality with built-in Sprint-powered internet access.
Chrysler’s Uconnect touch-screen interface already is one of the best in the business, but for 2013 it enters its second generation with added features and improved optional built-in wireless internet connectivity. The new Uconnect system debuted on the 2013 Ram 1500 pickup, and works in concert with Chrysler’s Uconnect Access features including Onstar-like 911 assist; remote door locking and unlocking, and theft alarm notification via the Uconnect app; and the ability to read text messages aloud or let drivers verbally dictate outgoing messages. Now, Chrysler is introducing internet-radio app integration for Uconnect, which allows customers to operate phone-based apps like Aha, iHeart Radio, Pandora, or Slacker Radio via Uconnect’s in-car controls and touch screen via Uconnect Access.
- First Drive: 2013 Ram 1500
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But the really cool news Chrysler is making at CES has to do with Uconnect’s navigation functionality, or rather, its navigation capability. Chrysler has announced that it is enabling dealers to activate navigation in Uconnect-equipped vehicles that were bought without the feature. Like many other automakers’ built-in navigation systems (Ford’s MyFord Touch or Chevrolet’s MyLink, for example), Uconnect’s is pretty much software-based. Every Uconnect system comes with the hardware to support navigation, but buyers must pony up additional dough up front to “activate” the feature. By introducing dealer-activated navigation, Chrysler is allowing customers who initially didn’t want or couldn’t afford nav to add the feature later, to say nothing of used-car buyers who now can opt for the gear as well.
The only caveat is Chrysler says the post-purchase navigation activation initially will only work on the new Ram 1500, the SRT Viper, and the upcoming 2014 Fiat 500L. The activation ability becomes available this year, and pricing for the upgrade will be announced closer to the rollout date.