Connectivity and infotainment are on top priorities for car buyers.
Uconnect 5 can be equipped with Alexa “Home to Car” functionality.
New Uconnect 5 will first be available with the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica.
Technology is evolving at a rate that, unless you’re involved in designing it or are a specialist, most mere-mortals cannot keep up with it. When it comes to infotainment, connectivity, and the user experience, there’s nothing short of a race going on. Between manufacturers, the goal is to outdo the other, but FCA had an advantage over many others before they introduced Uconnect 5: Uconnect 4.
For years, Uconnect has proven to be a favorite infotainment system for many media, including all of us at Motor Illustrated. Among mainstream automakers, FCA’s Uconnect has always provided intuitive menus, displays, and relative ease-of-use. We say “relative” now only because we’ve just been given a virtual tour of Uconnect 5 and it’s without a doubt more complete, simpler to navigate, and, most importantly, it has evolved into a tool that is far safer to use than ever.
Safety Is An Important Part Of The User Experience
One of the many goals behind creating Uconnect 5 was limiting distractions and increasing accessibility. This was achieved by creating a customizable home screen that allows quick access to frequently used features with one-touch operation. Essentially, fewer gestures are required in order to access our favorite apps or menus. As well, new larger screens do not mean more menus but more space between displayed functions – a crowded screen requires more concentration.
Voice control, with “Hey Chrysler” prompt, has also been improved for Uconnect 5 thanks to new microphone technology, with upgraded software and placement. Relatedly, Uconnect 5’s displays are far cleaner, more elegant, and modern. On top of the visual improvements, which include touchscreen controls that are more harmonious, menu displays are now set in priority using depth, hierarchy, legibility, and consistent locations on the screen.
In other words, ease-of-use was top-of-mind when Uconnect was redesigned – users now have fewer functions to operate in order to get to the menu they desire. For example, there is no longer a need to change from a currently selected app or display to modify the interior climate settings. In the past, switching screens was necessary, which could be a distraction.
The fact that the top status bar is completely customizable, by clicking and dragging apps to it, is another huge improvement. A detail that users will also notice is that fixed presets in the audio settings can now be from mixed sources. Admittedly, this is an overdue feature but, as they say, better late than never. A further improvement involves the built-in TomTom navigation system which features traffic, EV & connected services.
Feel The Power
Each brand will have its own display design for Uconnect 5. What will be identical for all is the fact that the system will feature an upgraded 50K MIP chip, 6GB of RAM, and up to 64GB of flash memory. These elements will allow the technology to deliver five-times faster-operating speeds than Uconnect 4.
For this round of Uconnect, FCA’s addressed every concern, or so it would seem. The home screen can be customized, Alexa will be an option, a split-screen display will be possible (when you need the SRT display and access to Waze through CarPlay to see if there are cops ahead), and much more. They’ve even looked into limiting finger-smudging by using bonded screens with film over them.
All that remains now is to test it all in real life. The first opportunity will come with the new 2021 Chrysler Pacifica which should be available at the end of this year.