Is Uconnect’s Subscription Worth the Cost? An In-Depth Review

Is Uconnect's Subscription Worth the Cost

If you’ve recently purchased or leased a new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep or Ram vehicle, you’re likely wondering – is Uconnect worth it? As Chrysler’s in-vehicle infotainment system, Uconnect provides entertainment, navigation, connectivity and convenience features to enhance your driving experience. But with subscription fees after the first year, is Uconnect really worth the cost?

This in-depth guide on Uconnect will walk you through everything you need to know, including an overview of the system, key features, subscription costs, pros and cons, and alternatives. Read on to find out if Uconnect is worth it for you.

What Exactly is Uconnect and How Does it Work?

Uconnect is the infotainment system developed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) and found in most new Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, Fiat and Alfa Romeo vehicles.

The system connects your smartphone to your vehicle’s touchscreen display and integrates apps and services for navigation, entertainment, communication and remote commands. Depending on your vehicle make and model, Uconnect utilizes a 5-, 7-, 8.4- or 10.1-inch touchscreen in the center console.

With Uconnect, you can stream music, make hands-free calls, navigate with GPS maps and more. The system aims to provide an intuitive, user-friendly experience similar to your smartphone. Most features work right out of the box, while some require a paid Uconnect subscription after an initial free trial period.

Key Features and Capabilities of Uconnect

Uconnect offers many ways to entertain, navigate and connect on the go. Here are some of the main features available:

  • Satellite radio – Listen to SiriusXM with over 200 channels
  • Navigation – Built-in Garmin-based navigation with 2D/3D map views
  • Bluetooth – Make hands-free calls and stream music
  • Smartphone integration – Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Bluetooth integration
  • WiFi hotspot – Connect devices to 4G LTE WiFi in your vehicle
  • Uconnect Access app – Remotely lock/unlock doors, start engine, find vehicle location
  • Emergency services – Roadside assistance, stolen vehicle assistance etc.

Higher Uconnect trims addextras like a larger touchscreen, navigation traffic alerts, and a more powerful audio system. The latest models also offer conveniences like wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

What Chrysler Vehicles Have Uconnect and What Are the Trim Levels?

Most model year 2020 and newer Chrysler vehicles come equipped with Uconnect. Available trims include:

  • Chrysler Uconnect 3 – 5-inch display, Bluetooth, USB, 3 microphone system
  • Chrysler Uconnect 4 – 7-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, 2 USB ports
  • Chrysler Uconnect 4C – 8.4-inch display, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, 4G LTE WiFi
  • Chrysler Uconnect 5 – 10.1-inch display, navigation, new Uconnect 5 features

Some popular Chrysler models like the Chrysler Pacifica, 300 and Voyager have Uconnect 4 systems on lower trims, upgrading to Uconnect 4C or 5 on higher trims.

The Dodge Charger, Challenger, Durango and Journey also offer Uconnect 4 and 4C systems. Ram trucks like the 1500, 2500 and 3500 can be equipped with Uconnect 4, 4C or 5 depending on trim.

As for Jeep, the Renegade, Compass, Cherokee, Wrangler, Gladiator and Grand Cherokee all include Uconnect. The 4C is available on higher trims of these models.

The Pros of Choosing Uconnect

There are many benefits to having Uconnect in your Chrysler vehicle. Here are some of the key advantages:

  • Smartphone integration – Uconnect makes it easy to access your iOS or Android device. Control apps with touch or voice.
  • Responsive interface – The touchscreens offer crisp graphics and intuitive controls. Easy to navigate menus.
  • Navigation – Built-in Garmin-based navigation includes lane assist, realistic 3D maps, traffic alerts and other useful features.
  • Voice recognition – The system responds well to natural voice commands for music, calls, navigation and more.
  • Remote access – The Uconnect Access app lets you remotely lock/unlock doors, start the engine, sound the horn and more.
  • OTA updates – Software updates install over-the-air to keep Uconnect current. No need to visit the dealer.
  • Entertainment options – Access all your favorite media and apps seamlessly through Uconnect. Satellite radio provides commercial-free music.

For Chrysler owners, Uconnect delivers an exceptional in-vehicle experience that adds convenience and connectivity to every drive.

Potential Drawbacks and Limitations of Uconnect

While Uconnect has many strengths, there are some possible downsides to consider:

  • Paid subscription – Some remote features and services require a paid Uconnect subscription after the 1-year free trial.
  • Slower performance – Lower Uconnect trims have smaller screens and older software which can mean laggy response times.
  • Limited touchscreen space – The smaller 5- and 7-inch screens can feel cramped with CarPlay/Android Auto running.
  • App limitations – You may not have access to all smartphone app functions on the Uconnect interface.
  • Connectivity issues – There are some reports of Uconnect dropping Bluetooth, WiFi or CarPlay connections.
  • No wireless CarPlay/Android Auto – Most models still require a USB connection for smartphone projection.

While these limitations are not dealbreakers for everyone, they are worth keeping in mind. Opting for a higher Uconnect trim can help overcome some of these potential shortcomings.

What Does Uconnect Cost? Breaking Down Subscription Fees?

Uconnect includes both free features and optional paid subscriptions. Here’s what to expect:

  • Free features – Out of the box, you get entertainment, Bluetooth, basic navigation, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto on most trims.
  • 1-year free trial – Paid add-ons like the Uconnect Access app, SiriusXM, and navigation traffic alerts are free for the first year of ownership.
  • Uconnect Access – $14.99/month after 1-year free trial. Enables remote commands through the Uconnect Access app.
  • SiriusXM Satellite Radio – Around $8-12/month after trial depending on package.
  • Navigation Map Updates – Around $150 for annual update or $20 for quarterly update.

If you plan to use Uconnect’s remote functions and live traffic navigation, budget for these subscriptions costs after the initial free trial.

Is the Uconnect Subscription Worth the Cost?

Whether Uconnect’s paid subscription is worth it depends on how you plan to use the system. Here are some things to consider:

Pros of the subscription:

  • Remote door lock/unlock, vehicle finder and start engine from anywhere via the Uconnect Access app
  • Live traffic alerts, rerouting and POI search with navigation
  • SiriusXM radio with ad-free music, sports, comedy and talk radio

Potential cons:

  • Monthly fee can add up, especially if you already pay for smartphone apps
  • Some remote features may go unused by certain drivers
  • Free navigation apps like Waze provide traffic alerts

Tips for using the 1-year free trial:

  • Take advantage of remote features to see if you use them enough to warrant the fee
  • Extend your trial for a few months at a time by calling Uconnect customer support
  • Downgrade to basic navigation without live traffic after the trial if you don’t need those features

The Uconnect subscription can be worth it if you get frequent use from the extra services and remote commands. Evaluate your needs during the free trial period.

Alternatives to Paying for Uconnect Features

If you decide Uconnect isn’t worth the subscription cost, there are alternatives for accessing similar features:

  • Use smartphone apps like Google Maps or Waze for free voice-guided navigation
  • Add an aftermarket stereo with CarPlay/Android Auto for under $300-500
  • Stick with the basic Uconnect system without paid add-ons if you can live without them

Most drivers can get by with their smartphone and basic Uconnect, especially if you don’t care about satellite radio. But keeping paid add-ons for a few key features is convenient for those who get value from them.

The Bottom Line – Is Uconnect Worth It for You?

So, is Uconnect ultimately worth paying for? Here are some final recommendations:

  • For frequent remote vehicle access – the Uconnect subscription is worth it
  • For occasional remote use – try getting by with just your smartphone
  • For heavy satellite radio use – keep the SiriusXM subscription
  • For navigation alone – skip the Uconnect fee and use free alternatives
  • For optimal convenience – upgrade to a higher Uconnect trim with premium navigation

Take time to learn Uconnect’s capabilities during the 1-year free trial. This will reveal whether you truly need the paid services long-term. For most drivers, the free features provide enough functionality, making paid add-ons optional. But frequent remote users will find the Uconnect subscription worthwhile.

In summary, Uconnect delivers smartphone connectivity and entertainment with intuitive controls. While the subscription fees add up, you can find ways to minimize costs or look at aftermarket options. Weigh the pros, cons and alternatives to pick the best Uconnect setup for your needs and budget.

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