What is Uconnect 5?

Beverly Braga | May 19, 2020

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) is more than just Fiats and Chryslers. As one of the world’s largest automakers, the company’s U.S. portfolio also includes Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jeep, Maserati, and Ram. While its vehicle prices run the gamut (from economic to exotic), its Uconnect infotainment system is a common thread amongst the non-luxury brands. 

Uconnect 5 Home Screen 2021 Chrysler Pacifica

An umbrella term for the automaker’s full suite of entertainment, connectivity, audio, and security features, the all-new Uconnect 5 infotainment technology arriving on the refreshed 2021 Chrysler Pacifica gives the already robust and award-winning system even more to offer tech-savvy consumers.

A History of Uconnect

In 2003, the former Chrysler Group was the first North American automaker to offer Bluetooth technology, and the building blocks of what would be known as Uconnect made its factory-installed debut in the 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. 

Starting with 2009 models, Uconnect came to represent the automaker’s collection of connectivity technologies. This included phone, navigation, entertainment, and Wi-Fi features. Later on, there was even live TV available where each screen could showcase different programming.

Uconnect Access was a significant platform addition to 2013 models. The cloud-based subscription service offered built-in Wi-Fi technology, improved voice recognition, text message receipt and response, and app-synced controls such as for door locks and remote engine starting. Added safety and security features included single-button emergency response, roadside assistance, and theft alerts. In 2015, vehicle status features like location, health reports, and destination services were added.

Uconnect 4 was officially announced in early 2016 and would finally include Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. First available on the 2017 Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger, and Dodge Charger, the smartphone compatibility was offered with 8.4-inch touchscreens. The new system also featured more processing power, faster start-up times, improved touchscreen response, and higher screen resolutions.

What Does Uconnect 5 Include?

Based on an all-new platform and featuring an Android-based operating system, Uconnect 5 will eventually be used globally in more than 150 countries. This means Alfa Romeo and Maserati, which currently utilize separate systems, will also implement Uconnect 5 into their vehicles.

This fifth-generation version of Uconnect is indeed five times more powerful than the previous version. Already one of the most intuitive infotainment systems on the market, faster processing speeds and quicker response times only add to the user-friendly experience. And with crisper graphics, the overall design of how information is presented also is cleaner, simpler, and easy on the eyes. 

Uconnect 5 was developed so that many functions are accessible within a single touch. Fully customizable, the system can store up to five user profiles, each with specific home menus, vehicle settings, and other preferences. Features are set as cards, which can be moved around the screen much like how one would organize apps on a smart device. Within each card, information and functions can be had within two screen taps. And switching between users? Yup, just one tap. Dual-phone connectivity also becomes standard and allows two Bluetooth-enabled phones to be simultaneously connected with the ability to prioritize one over the other for certain functions, like calls or navigation. 

Power comes from the new Atlantis architecture which replaces the long-standing Powernet platform. The onboard computer is available with up to 6GB of RAM, 64GB of flash memory, and a 50K MIPS chip. With the ability to handle more information and project in 15 million pixels, there is more flexibility in the number of screens utilized and layouts. Up to four displays are available in standard, portrait, or landscape ratios, from sizes varying from 7 to 12.3 inches, and showing the same or separate content.

Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now go wireless with Uconnect 5. Alexa capability is expanded to include a built-in virtual assistant, giving the feature home-to-car and car-to-home functionality as well as allowing every occupant to interact with the system. 

Previously Garmin-based, the new TomTom navigation offers traffic, EV, and connected services, over-the-air (OTA) updates, and will continue to operate seamlessly offline should connectivity be lost. And as the system learns driver habits, features like Destination Prediction can provide time-to-depart alerts for saved locations. Dynamic Range Mapping offers plug-in and electric vehicle owners data regarding range to a destination. If the location exceeds the mapped range, refueling/recharging stations as well as cost comparisons will be suggested along the route.

Uconnect 5 isn’t only about the fun stuff either. Using up-to-date vehicle health reports, maintenance and service is managed via an in-vehicle messaging service with some updates being as simple as an OTA download. And in terms of future proofing, a Telematics Box Module (i.e., a black box for a vehicle) is added to assist with planning for autonomous driving products and capabilities.

Because Uconnect 5 is completely new, current FCA vehicles with Uconnect 4 cannot be retrofitted. The fifth-generation system will be available in two versions: Uconnect 5 and Uconnect 5 Plus. Both will offer OTA updates, dual-phone connectivity, multiple user profiles, a 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, and Android Auto/Apple CarPlay wireless connection. Uconnect 5 will be available with a single display in up to a 10.1-inch screen size; Uconnect 5 Plus will have up to four screens and gets the new 12.3-inch touchscreen. Plus also receives the faster processor, Ultra HD resolution, rear seat entertainment, and TomTom navigation. 

Uconnect 5 and Uconnect 5 Plus will debut in the 2021 Chrysler Pacifica, which is due later this year. With a system architecture now scalable across the entire FCA lineup, Uconnect 5 will be available on future vehicles as quickly as they are significantly refreshed or redesigned to accommodate the technology.

The information in this article is from Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. It was accurate as of May 18, 2020 but changes may have occurred since that date.

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