Jeep's latest SUVs – the 2022 Grand Cherokee and the 2022 Wagoneer – have jumped on the interior screen bandwagon in a big way. But rather than going with a full-width display or something else similarly excessive, Jeep decided to give front passengers a small infotainment center of their own. This may seem a bit redundant considering it's mounted no more than a foot from the Big Kahuna, but Jeep managed to bundle quite a bit of functionality into this small piece of real estate and we were curious to see just how well it all works. You too? Well, come along.
Our test model was equipped with both the passenger screen and the rear-seat entertainment package, making it a gadget geek's dream land. But the one we're focused on today is the one up front on the passenger side of the dash. It's the one you can just barely see in the above photo because the glass covering it is polarized, meaning light only travels through it at certain angles. Those angles keep it visible almost exclusively to the passenger. From the driver's seating position, it vanishes entirely. Even at night. Zero glow. Zero glare. Zero distraction. And that's remarkable because there's a lot you can do with that screen.
Jeep's new Uconnect 5 setup is Amazon Alexa-enabled, so passengers can watch movies or TV, or even plug in another device to use it for games or other media via the HDMI port on the dash. And for vehicles like this one equipped with the rear-seat entertainment package, you can even watch different episodes of the same series on all three screens with independent audio and playback controls. Each position gets its own Bluetooth connection, isolating the audio output for each screen to individual headsets.
But what makes the passenger screen special is the fact that it talks directly to the primary Uconnect screen, allowing the front passenger to take over some co-piloting functions from the driver without infringing on their space. For instance, need to make a change to your destination en route? The passenger can propose an entirely different route or destination from the screen in just a few steps. This request then shows up in both the driver's instrument cluster and the infotainment screen, where the driver can then accept or reject the proposed change. Theoretically, this system is also good should you no longer be on speaking terms with your co-pilot, and even then, the passenger controls can be locked out if you really don't want to hear from them. Passive aggressives rejoice.
And the screen is just one component of the new Grand Cherokee's massive connectivity push. Between the dashboard, center cubby and rear console, we counted a whopping seven USB Type-C ports, five USB A ports, two 12V DC plug and a 120V AC plug. The three-row Grand Cherokee L will get additional connectivity and charging points in the rear too, though the passenger screen has not yet been introduced on that model, so for the moment that's a win-some, lose-some situation. We expect that to change for 2023.
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