Vehicle manufacturers only recently began offering fancier infotainment systems, and they aren’t available for all makes and models. The factory radio that came with my car did not come with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto capabilities, which is something I wanted, so I was thankful for the chance to review a factory radio upgrade kit provided by Infotainment.com.
They sell several different ones for different model vehicles. I got one for my 2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee. So what I received is called “2014-2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee GPS Navigation 8.4 4C NAV UAQ Radio with Apple CarPlay & Android Auto”
Ease of Installation
Installation is very easy. it took less then 10 minutes. You just pull off the existing trim–which is not held in by any screws/bolts–then you remove the existing head unit which is held in with around 5 screws. You undo those screws, pull out the unit, and unhook the color-coded plugs from back. Then you take the new unit and just connect the color-coded cables. Finally, just screw it in and place the trim back on. It was so easy, I’m pretty sure my 6-year old daughter could have done it.
The original system in my Jeep Grand Cherokee had SiriusXM satellite radio. The review unit includes the Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality, as well as SiriusXM Travel/Traffic Plus. Now there is a new icon on the screen, which–when you tap it–gives you gas prices near your location so you can choose a gas station to go to based on pricing. There are also movie listings, and sports news. You can add your favorite teams and keep up-to-date on sports scores. And then there are weather alerts, and traffic alerts that enable you to see where there are accidents, or construction on the road ahead.
What You Lose
I did also lose some functionality with the switch to the review unit. My car came with what is called UConnect, so you can remote lock or unlock the car, track its location and–on some models–remote start the vehicle to pre-heat it. It also had built-in WiFi. In 2018 and newer models (my vehicle is from 2018) they switched from UConnect to SiriusXM Guardian, but the vehicle does not have all of the other necessary hardware so the SiriusXM Guardian will not work and I can’t use any of the features such as WiFi, remote locking or unlocking, location tracking, etc.
It would be nice if they sold a kit of some sort to re-enable these features.
My take away here is its a great unit and I love it, but you should be aware of the caveats and features you lose so you can make an informed decision based on what’s more important to you. If you want or need Apple CarPlay or Android Auto & SiriusXM Traffic/Travel Plus, or if you prefer to keep the remote unlocking and locking and location tracking.
The unit I received retails for $1,599.95 (USD), but if you have an 8.4-inch head unit they also offer a buy-back program buy your old head unit from you, which lowers the total cost.
I give this a 9 out of 10 stars. I am taking away a star because of the UConnect Features I lost in the process.