Ram Plummets in JD Power Quality Rankings Because New Uconnect 5 Infotainment Sucks

Ram was first on the list last year, but the 2022 truck’s new and “upgraded” infotainment made things way worse.

byCaleb JacobsJul 5, 2022 12:41 PM
Ram Plummets in JD Power Quality Rankings Because New Uconnect 5 Infotainment Sucks
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The Ram 1500 made a ton of headlines when it was named Cars.com's Luxury Car of the Year in 2020. Not only was its ride comfy and its wood trim pretty spiffy, but the outlet even went as far as calling the truck's 12-inch vertical infotainment system "awe-inspiring." The love continued when Ram nabbed the top spot on J.D. Power's Initial Quality Study the following year. Now, though, the bug-ridden Uconnect 5 infotainment system is plaguing brand new Rams, hurling the brand down to 18th place in J.D. Power's rankings.

That's the largest single-year fall down the list for a manufacturer that once led the IQS. These decisions are made based on problems per 100 vehicles. To be fair, infotainment is the weak spot for many automakers, and related issues accounted for six of J.D. Power's top 10 problem areas. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity was a big gripe in this year's study, as were voice command recognition, unresponsive touchscreens, and inconsistent stereo volume levels.

This is especially troubling for Ram because its infotainment has been a strong suit until now. When The Drive's Managing Editor Jerry Perez reviewed a 2021 Ram 1500 TRX, he heaped praise on the display's seamless operation. But when Ram added Uconnect 5, that's when the problems started.

2022 Ram owners have complained about the system's inability to run smoothly in multiple forum threads. Some say the Uconnect 5 software boots them out of CarPlay abruptly or toggles the climate control on and off without reason. This is all a high price to pay just so you can pair multiple phones to the vehicle's Bluetooth system, along with other minor usability updates. It's intended to run five times faster than the system it replaces, but drivers are saying the experience is nowhere near what it should be.

When Ram topped the charts in 2021, J.D. Power reported 128 problems per 100 vehicles; this year, that number jumped to 186. That meant Ram didn't crack the top three vehicles for initial quality in any truck category, with the Chevy Silverado 1500 and Silverado HD leading the way for the light- and heavy-duty truck categories. As it turns out, GM's big mid-cycle refresh made a recognizable difference.

Industry and consumer opinions on modern infotainment are split, and that's putting it lightly. Some automakers can't toss enough screens in their cars, while others, like Ram, think a large, portrait-oriented display right in the middle is the play. Even then, one of the lead designers at DS—a fellow Stellantis brand—said he wants to "delete all screens" from car interiors. Safety advocates and real-world drivers agree, noting that they're hugely distracting while driving.

It won't be impossible for Ram to bounce back from this, but the cliche stands: if it isn't broke, don't fix it.

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