The year 2022 really did a number on me.
Apart from several life events — including moving to temporary housing and trying to buy a house in a different city, which ended up failing — there were also many work-related mishaps. One is that I had tx o stop testing and reviewing cars for a while (you guessed it — because of the temporary housing) and missed out on a few milestones and innovations.
One of the innovations I discovered recently is in the 2023 Grand Cherokee Trailhawk. I am trying to catch up with all of the changes, but this one really impressed me.
It’s known as the Front Passenger Interactive Display, and it debuted in the 2022 model. I wish I kept better records of my car testing, because I vividly remember seeing a similar feature in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle once (if you know the model, feel free to mention it on our social media channels and tag Gearadical). I rely on the fact that most of my reviews are online, but even then, I can’t seem to find my own review if it even exists.
Suffice it to say, it was an amazing idea then and it is an amazing idea now. The Front Passenger Interactive Display allows the passenger to choose audio to play, input directions to a destination, and even control the cameras. I had several people try it out, and we even connected a portable DVD player that uses HDMI. The port for that is tucked under the center touchscreen, but the passenger can control the playback.
I was impressed with the quality, even though as the driver I couldn’t see anything. (I had to test it while parked in the driveaway.) What it means is that the passenger can be the one focused on the radio channel you want, controlling any video playback, and configuring the navigation.
I see this as the future of all cars, by the way. Screens for rear passengers have been around for many years, but I expect to see far more screens in cars and even hoping for more of a home theater experience. I imagine a screen lowering down from the top of the car somehow for a true widescreen display and then taking long trips with the kids. That technology has not quite advanced yet, since it would have to be a flexible display that rolls down from the roof of the car. I’m guessing it will appear within the next few years, though.
And, we’ll see screens in far more places. I’m also reviewing the Lincoln Navigator, and that full-size SUV has a rear touchscreen for controlling audio, climate settings, and other options. It’s about the size of a phone display, but there could be other screens on the passenger doors, rear seating, center console — you name it. The tech is there and the costs for these screens have come down. Plus, with Wi-Fi in the vehicle, the screens can also be connected to each other. I’ve always thought a car is a great place for entertainment with high-end speakers, surround sound, displays for each person in the vehicle, and the most critical factor of all — that driving takes a lot of time.
The Front Passenger Interactive Display is a smart new technology and helps avoid distracted driving. It’s also fun for the passenger. I just wish I had tested it sooner.