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That'll be $20: Chrysler's Uconnect and the fee-based future of your connected car


Dec 3, 2013

Chrysler’s Uconnect service bets that mainstream drivers will love connected cars—and the apps and services they deliver—enough to pay for the data plans they require. Uconnect debuted in the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica as a basic, hands-free Bluetooth connection, and it has been a mainstay in subsequent Dodge minivans and Chrysler sedans. The recently launched revamp of Uconnect is a digital hub that vastly improves on prior generations.

But it costs $20 per month after a free one-year trial. A Wi-Fi hotspot option costs $10 per day, $20 per week, or $35 per month. This is how it works for all automakers offering connected cars—mostly luxury brands—except Tesla, which offers free 3G in the Model S.

Is it worth it? We spent a week with Uconnect in a 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee to find out. We used the built-in Yelp service to search for pizza joints. We tapped into a live weather map. We even downloaded an entire Hollywood movie. Some Uconnect services handled tasks better—or offered more features—than corresponding smartphone services do. We could get used to this kind of service. But it does cost money.

On the road with Uconnect

Uconnect’s interface runs on an impressively responsive, 8.4-inch touchscreen. Along the bottom of the screen, you’ll find buttons for radio, navigation, and the Uconnect apps. For now, the only apps are Yelp and Travel Link. Chrysler says more will become available in the coming months, including Pandora, Slacker Radio, Aha, and iHeartRadio.


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Why not just plug your phone into the radio and save some bucks? :confused:

:cool:
 
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