Chrysler's big boy Uconnect system has been a favorite of 's since its introduction, and in the 2017 Pacifica, the 8.4-inch screen is the main hub for a laundry list of connectivity and convenience features included in the top-end system with navigation (called 8.4 NAV/RA4). We dug into 's long-term Pacifica test car to pull out some of the multimedia system's most interesting and useful features.
Remote Start Smartphone Application
One of the ways the Pacifica leverages the powerful computer in your pocket (your smartphone) is with the Uconnect Access Remote Services application. The app lets you engage remote start, door locks and the panic alarm even if the Pacifica is around the corner or across town. The remote services app also tracks the vehicle's location (Did your teen really go to the math tutor, or is he or she hunting Toyota 86s?), and you can send navigation directions from the app directly to the 8.4-inch touchscreen.
Remote Start Auto Climate Settings
Remote start is great, but the Pacifica steps it up with automatic climate settings. When enabled in the Uconnect options menu, "Auto-On Comfort & Remote Start" turns on the heated seat and steering wheel when temps are below 40 degrees, and the driver's ventilated seat turns on when remote start is activated above 80 degrees. Welcome to the 21st century.
Surround-View Camera System
Perhaps the biggest advantage of the Uconnect's gargantuan 8.4-inch touchscreen is the size at which the backup camera's image is displayed. Pacifica vans like ours with the Advanced SafetyTec package ($1,995) include a surround-view camera system that shows a top-down view of the minivan by stitching together the images of four cameras placed around the vehicle in the grille, liftgate and side mirrors.
The advanced camera system lets you get precise about parking in tight spots and gives a good view around the entire car before moving. Within the interface, you can change from narrow- to wide-angle views of the front and rear cameras (which disables the surround view) to give a wider perspective that lets you see cars coming from the left or right when backing out of a parking space.
Wireless Hot Spot
A subscription-based 3G plan pipes in a cellular connection that's broadcast in and around the vehicle, turning it into a Wi-Fi hot spot. If 3G sounds dated, well, it is, and other automakers such as Chevrolet offer faster 4G connections better suited for streaming. Still, 3G is plenty good for checking email on the go. A subscription, accessible through the Uconnect Store in one of the touchscreen's menus, is $9.99 for a day, $19.99 for a week and $49.99 a month. A Uconnect Access subscription is required first at $14.99 a month or $149.99 for 12 months after the free trial expires.
Yelp is built into our Pacifica's Uconnect system and will help you find restaurants and more using voice commands or the on-screen app menu, then navigate to a chosen restaurant. It's not dependent on a phone, so the app is usable even without one. First, fire off a voice command to launch Yelp via the steering wheel button, then search for nearby establishments like an Italian restaurant, coffee shop or even by cuisine (like hamburgers). The list is then sortable through ratings, distance or best match just like the site. Having Yelp at your fingertips is another way the Pacifica ups its game as a road trip champion.