Playing With The UConnect System In The 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee

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Sitting down behind the wheel of an unfamiliar car can be as overwhelming as taking a seat in the cockpit of a spaceship. There are buttons and knobs and likely a screen and it’s never the same from car to car and it takes ten minutes just to figure out how to pair your phone. I spent some time in the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee playing with the UConnect System to see just how long it took to feel at home behind the wheel.

I’m a bit of a gadget girl and I like the myriad number of things that technology can do more quickly than I can do myself, but I hate having to pull out a manual. I want everything to be intuitive enough that I can leave that book in the glovebox, unless I want to change a fuse because, damn, you need a map and a maybe personal guide to figure that out.

There’s a lot on the dash of the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee, but I found something I loved right away in the UConnect Sytem touchscreen. I didn’t have to jab my fingers at it like an irate monkey to get a response and the icons were large enough and spaced evenly enough that I hit what I wanted on the first try.

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It was also easy to figure out the UConnect with a clean, uncluttered screen with icons that make sense, as do the buttons along the side of the screen, so you’re not left wondering what exactly a squiggle with a triangle inside of a circle is supposed to mean. These buttons have actual words, aside from Voice Recognition which has a profile of a face with little lines to show it’s talking and couldn’t be more obvious.

Drilling down through UConnect menus, the simplicity is maintained with clear options that make sense and lead you through whatever process it is you’re trying to accomplish. I had my phone paired within just a few minutes, manual still happily stowed, and was making calls using the voice recognition system, too.

I am also a big fan of the steering wheel audio controls that are part of the UConnect system. You don’t see them at first, because they’re actually on the back of the steering wheel. It sounds odd, but when you consider that it’s exactly where your fingers are when you’re driving, then it makes perfect sense.

Any minute now they’re coming to pick up the 2013 Jeep Grand Cherokee that’s parked in my driveway. I’ve already unpaired my phone and have her ready to go, but with a system as easy and intuitive as the UConnect, I’m really hoping they forget about me and let me keep it for a few more days.

Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. When not drooling over cars, Nicole writes for Wired’s GeekMom.