Although not highlighted by Chrysler in its press conference, on display in its exhibit area was what appears to be the next generation of the UConnect infotainment system. Sporting a new interface, this system controls Garmin-sourced navigation, audio, and the Bluetooth phone system.
In the Chrysler exhibit area at the 2010 Los Angeles Auto Show, we found this disembodied dashboard, a display seemingly designed to show off the next generation of Chrysler's UConnect infotainment system. In recent Chrysler company cars with UConnect, we've complained about the poorly designed interface. This new version looks like a huge improvement.
In this fingerprint-smudged touch screen set into the display dashboard we immediately recognized Garmin's navigation software, which uses a well-designed interface that is both attractive and intuitive. Also apparent in this new interface was that Chrysler dropped the hard buttons in the bezel, replacing them with a row of onscreen buttons.
The destination screen showed the typical Garmin destination entry options. A Chrysler representative told us that this Garmin software would be a midtier option, and it does not include traffic information.
In current UConnect-equipped vehicles, we've found an advanced Bluetooth phone system that copies a phone's contact list, and lets you use voice command to dial by name. Although we did not have a phone connected to this display unit, we expect it will have the same feature set, and use what looks like a nicer interface.