What is UConnect?

Quick notes

– UConnect is an infotainment hub in Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge cars and trucks

– The vehicle’s entertainment and navigation are run through the UConnect hub

– It includes a feature called UConnect Access, which allows the driver to remotely start the car, lock and unlock the vehicle, and provide the location to the police if stolen

UConnect is the infotainment hub in the Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep line of cars. The entertainment, music, and navigation are all controlled through one software system that is controlled through an interface on the vehicle’s dashboard.

What does UConnect do?

The UConnect infotainment hub allows you to choose your radio station and other in-car entertainment settings. These settings are also controllable through the buttons and steering wheel controllers.

UConnect allows your cellular phone to be paired with your car. Once connected, hands-free calls and texts are possible with ease.

Navigation, which is offered at an additional cost, is also accessed through the UConnect hub. It does not allow you to access Navigation while driving, which is a standard safety protocol on Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge navigation systems.

“The vehicle’s entertainment and navigation are run through the UConnect hub.”

As the central command hub of your car, UConnect may let you adjust the seats, control the temperature and lights, and control the WiFi hotspot. If running everything directly through your car’s app seems a bit too futuristic, there’s still AppleCarPlay and AndroidAuto.

UConnect stays current by allowing you to upgrade or expand maps through an update system. It can be updated through a manual update by downloading the updated software and loading it into the infotainment system with a USB stick. Cars located in the U..S. can also receive over-the-air updates through UConnect Access or SiriusXM Guardian.

“The UConnect Access is available by subscription.”

Is there any additional cost for UConnect?

UConnect comes as part of the standard Fiat/Chrysler/Dodge vehicle purchase, which means that it is free to obtain and use when you purchase one. However, it also has a paid feature called UConnect Access.

UConnect Access is a subscription service that charges UConnect users a monthly subscription service fee of $14.99 to provide them access to 24/7 roadside assistance and reports on their vehicle’s health.

“UConnect Access notifies the owner when their car alarm goes off and will provide the address of the car if it’s stolen.”

The app for UConnect Access also allows the driver control over remote starting the engine, locking and unlocking the doors, and sending relevant information, such as the address of the closest bank, directly to your car.

It also loads addresses into the navigation system before you’ve even entered the car. The only thing the UConnect seemingly can’t do is drive to the bank and take care of that errand for you itself! It seems like only a matter of time before this feature is also added.

UConnect offers some slightly different options for different models. For example, some of the models will connect the driver to their car through their home Echo device.

The performance models also have a “performance pages” section, which provides horsepower and torque measurements, along with other performance-related data.

Is it worth it?

 Unsplash / Paul Hermann

UConnect was named the infotainment system of the year 2015 by Digital Trends. It’s considered simple and easy to use with an excellent response and loading time. It comes standard with the Fiat 500, Dodge Challenger Hellcat, Ram 1500, Jeep Wrangler, and the Chrysler Pacifica.

While boasting the same features as above, the performance models get the lift with “performance pages,” while the screen ranges from 5″ up to 12″ (depending on the size of the vehicle). As it’s an included feature, it’s definitely worth the price.

The UConnect Access is also worth a try to see if that extra access to your car and its functions makes part of your life easier.

A deeper dive — Related reading from the 101:

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– Great tips to get the best deal on a rental car | Finance101

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