Automotive

Review: 2019 Ram 1500 takes infotainment next level with 12-inch Uconnect 4C Nav system

After a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn model, we’ve become very familiar – and enamored – with the new Uconnect 4C Nav 12-inch infotainment system
After a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn model, we’ve become very familiar – and enamored – with the new Uconnect 4C Nav 12-inch infotainment system
View 18 Images
After a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn model, we’ve become very familiar – and enamored – with the new Uconnect 4C Nav 12-inch infotainment system
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After a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn model, we’ve become very familiar – and enamored – with the new Uconnect 4C Nav 12-inch infotainment system
Swiping right-to-left on the main screen (previous image) shows the second screen of menu options
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Swiping right-to-left on the main screen (previous image) shows the second screen of menu options
The Uconnect infotainment's connected services, including SiriusXM Guardian, load onto one neat screen with sub-menus from each of the large buttons
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The Uconnect infotainment's connected services, including SiriusXM Guardian, load onto one neat screen with sub-menus from each of the large buttons
Maps on the 12-inch Ram Truck infotainment screen can be simple and easy to read, as shown here, or in a more 3-dimensional layout (shown later)
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Maps on the 12-inch Ram Truck infotainment screen can be simple and easy to read, as shown here, or in a more 3-dimensional layout (shown later)
Most innovative on the 12-inch Uconnect screen is the split-screen capability with one item up top and another below
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Most innovative on the 12-inch Uconnect screen is the split-screen capability with one item up top and another below
When either an upper or lower item is closed, a selection "card" offers the most common apps that can be selected to fill the empty half of the screen
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When either an upper or lower item is closed, a selection "card" offers the most common apps that can be selected to fill the empty half of the screen
With audio entertainment shown above and navigation below, the 12-inch Uconnect allows easy use of two apps at once. Tapping on either will make it fill the screen
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With audio entertainment shown above and navigation below, the 12-inch Uconnect allows easy use of two apps at once. Tapping on either will make it fill the screen
The button where the author's finger points swaps the screens instantly, putting the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top half
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The button where the author's finger points swaps the screens instantly, putting the top to the bottom and the bottom to the top half
This screen swapping to move items up or down helps when screen glare might get in the way and can make it easier for the driver or front passenger to focus on one item rather than the other
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This screen swapping to move items up or down helps when screen glare might get in the way and can make it easier for the driver or front passenger to focus on one item rather than the other
The 2019 Ram 1500 with upgraded Uconnect also include in-car Wi-Fi as a hotspot for devices, accessed through the Wi-Fi menu which goes to this screen
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The 2019 Ram 1500 with upgraded Uconnect also include in-car Wi-Fi as a hotspot for devices, accessed through the Wi-Fi menu which goes to this screen
The smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen (shown here in the Ram Rebel) is still very feature-packed.
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The smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen (shown here in the Ram Rebel) is still very feature-packed.
Voice routing through the Uconnect system is very well done. Most routing can be accomplished with just one or two voice prompts by asking for navigation and then stating an address or destination name
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Voice routing through the Uconnect system is very well done. Most routing can be accomplished with just one or two voice prompts by asking for navigation and then stating an address or destination name
The driver information display in the 2019 Ram 1500 is a 7-inch color screen that can be custom-configured for the driver, including this simple option for everyday driving needs
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The driver information display in the 2019 Ram 1500 is a 7-inch color screen that can be custom-configured for the driver, including this simple option for everyday driving needs
Pressing the climate or camera screens on the 12-inch Uconnect display shows this screen. The backup camera is geared towards trailering while the climate controls are straightforward and easy to understand
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Pressing the climate or camera screens on the 12-inch Uconnect display shows this screen. The backup camera is geared towards trailering while the climate controls are straightforward and easy to understand
In full-screen mode, the SiriusXM 360L option that comes with the 12-inch Uconnect system offers over 200 more audio stations plus access to pre-recorded content-on-demand
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In full-screen mode, the SiriusXM 360L option that comes with the 12-inch Uconnect system offers over 200 more audio stations plus access to pre-recorded content-on-demand
3-D navigation maps can be shown in half-screen or on the smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen option in the 2019 Ram 1500
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3-D navigation maps can be shown in half-screen or on the smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen option in the 2019 Ram 1500
With 3-D navigation shown in full-screen on the 2019 Ram 1500's 12-inch Uconnect system, maps become easier to read (shown here in "dark" when headlights are active)
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With 3-D navigation shown in full-screen on the 2019 Ram 1500's 12-inch Uconnect system, maps become easier to read (shown here in "dark" when headlights are active)
The voice-activated navigation system is available on the 8.4-inch Uconnect screen as well
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The voice-activated navigation system is available on the 8.4-inch Uconnect screen as well

We've become quite familiar with the 2019 Ram Truck lineup ever since their debut in Detroit early in 2018. We spent some time with them at a launch event in Arizona, driving several models in brief stints to learn their differences. We then spent a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Rebel as well. Now, after a week in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn model, we've also become very familiar – and enamored – with the new Uconnect 4C Nav infotainment system.

This upgrade, available for Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles, moves from the already very well-done 8.4-inch Uconnect-based system to a new 12-inch Uconnect system with tablet-like functionality and an innovative split-screen sensibility.

Most of the expected functions of a good infotainment system, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, Bluetooth connectivity, and integrated voice commands, are present with Uconnect. Also included are some prized Uconnect capabilities like speech-to-text, 4G Wi-Fi hotspot connectivity, and several SiriusXM connected services and real-time traffic options. The useful Uconnect "Do Not Disturb" option that limits phone calls and text messages, the latter with an auto-response text if desired, and SiriusXM Tune Start for starting a song over when switching stations are also included.

A new drag-and-drop menu bar setup is featured on the new Uconnect interface. It's nicely done and is available on the 8.4-inch display as well as the new 12-inch one. This allows the user to customize the menus or the quick-access app options to have those most-used things right up front on the menu system. This both personalizes the system and makes it faster to use over time. From there, swiping to one side quickly moves from a main menu item to its sub-menus.

The smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen (shown here in the Ram Rebel) is still very feature-packed.
The smaller 8.4-inch touchscreen (shown here in the Ram Rebel) is still very feature-packed.

On the 12-inch display, that drag-and-drop feature also includes a split-swap feature wherein with a button press, apps can be split to the lower or upper half of the screen and the display can be swapped with the lower app moving to the upper half and the upper to the lower. We found this very useful when screen glare (inevitable with such a large display) would affect a portion of the screen.

New for the Uconnect 4C Nav is SiriusXM's new 360L listening experience with on-demand content and an enhanced content recommendation system – this adds over 200 SiriusXM channels, including several that were previously only available online. It also adds thousands of pre-recorded, on-demand programs from those channels that are now available in-car.

Content recommendations, including favorite sport teams, artists, and more, are derived from user-selected favorites (available while playing) and derived from listening habits over time. Several other enhancements come with 360L as well, including phone-to-vehicle near-seamless play of content and user profiles for customized content among multiple drivers or passengers. Voice search is now also integrated into 360L for SiriusXM channel and content searching. That latter point made all of the other content upgrades worthwhile as it was very easy to find what was wanted without a lot of hunt and peck.

With Uconnect 4C is navigation that displays three-dimensional landmarks, city models, and digital terrain on the 8.4-inch and the large 12-inch screen. On the larger screen, this works primarily in full-screen mode, though many aspects are seen in half-screen mode as well. Navigating on the go is a new feature that we found highly useful. By speaking an intended destination (including just an address), navigation can bring up the most likely location or locations and prompt the driver to OK that. Once given the okay, the system will begin the navigation from the truck's current location – all without stopping. Very well done.

The expanded Uconnect system also brings five USB ports to the 2019 Ram 1500 – three of those are up front, and two are in the rear. Four ports are Type C USB ports for extremely fast charging and better information connectivity, while three of the ports (two Type C, one standard USB) are fully functioning for communications.

Voice routing through the Uconnect system is very well done. Most routing can be accomplished with just one or two voice prompts by asking for navigation and then stating an address or destination name
Voice routing through the Uconnect system is very well done. Most routing can be accomplished with just one or two voice prompts by asking for navigation and then stating an address or destination name

Those USB ports are in addition to the wireless charging pad located with the device holder integrated into the front console. This extremely well-done holder is rubberized to "grip" two or three phones or one small tablet in an upright position, or that same tablet (most anything smaller than 10-inches) or a couple of phones in a landscape position. Wireless charging is located in the point closest to the driver.

Part of the new Uconnect system in the 2019 Ram 1500 is a new 7-inch driver information display located between the gauges on the instrument cluster. This full-color display offers 3-D animation capabilities and configurable functions for personalization of information shown. The information displayed to the driver can be made quickly digestible through graphics and text.

We used this for on-road and off-road information displays that include vehicle dynamics information, highway drive efficiency output, and more. At its most basic, a set of useful status gauges across the top and a large digital speedometer are most useful for normal daily driving, while extended displays of pitch-yaw, 4WD traction information, or short- and long-term fuel economy are excellent for more specific driving situations. The driver information display can also show information pulled from the infotainment screen, such as navigation prompts, radio tuning, media track information, etc.

With audio entertainment shown above and navigation below, the 12-inch Uconnect allows easy use of two apps at once. Tapping on either will make it fill the screen
With audio entertainment shown above and navigation below, the 12-inch Uconnect allows easy use of two apps at once. Tapping on either will make it fill the screen

The final entry into the 2019 Ram 1500's new Uconnect system is the availability of SiriusXM Guardian for in-vehicle safety connectivity. The system works as an SOS in the event of an accident or medical emergency, and is activated by the red SOS button on the rearview mirror. From the Uconnect interface, it can also be activated for roadside assistance needs, automatically pinpointing the vehicle's location for responders. Using the Uconnect mobile app, the vehicle can be remote started, and most climate settings can be changed or set from the app as well. The app also allows the user to find locations and send them remotely to the truck for navigation.

The 2019 Ram 1500 and its new Uconnect system, especially with the 12-inch display, is phenomenally well done. Few others in the industry have gone to screens this large, especially in a dashboard-integrated upright design. Most split-screen capabilities that we've tried, including those large screens from Lexus, Tesla and others, or dual screens from Infiniti, are not nearly as well-integrated as is this new display from Ram Truck. There is some room for improvements in terms of capability, perhaps, but for user friendliness and design, this offering from Ram is top shelf.

Product Page: 2019 Ram 1500

3 comments
HighlanderJuan
Interesting. I'm wondering why dashcams are not standard equipment on new cars and trucks. Any ideas why not?
Mark K.
Why can't they make these displays able to tilt and pivot so as to reduce the glare on the screen?
grtblu
Once upon a time long long ago, automotive engineers tried to keep driver distraction to a minimum with simple gauges and controls. The trend to make vehicles have aircraft cockpit like controls and displays is likely to cause a lot of inter-vehicle RAMS. Aircraft can get away with it as the skies are relatively empty and where they are not, there is this little thing called Air Traffic Control and rigid procedures. No such thing for the wild west of driving. Multiple RAMS will be good for lawyers, morticians, and junkyards, not so good for the distracted and damaged drivers and passengers.