If you saw my post a couple weeks ago you know my uConnect 8.4 VP4 NA from my 2014 TH bricked during a software update. Time to replace it. As posted many times on this board there’s basically four options:
I could replace my uConnect 8.4 VP4 NA with an identical used unit (probably from eBay) and all I would need is to buy the anti-theft code so the replacement uConnect registers itself to the VIN of my car. This would have cost me about $300 for a used uConnect 8.4 VP4 NA and $10 for a code. This would have gotten me back to where I was before.
I could upgrade to one of the newer uConnect system with Car Play/Android Auto (2019+?) but as noted in many posts, you can’t just swap-up as in Option #1. Apparently there’s a company that will do it but it costs over $2k. That’s way too expensive for basically, the same unit just a little better.
I could get an iDatalink-compatible radio and iDatalink Maestro box which would allow me to keep all the car’s features AND get Android Auto/Car Play. However, it seems like all the iDatalink-compatible radios are name brand (e.g. Sony, Pioneer, Kenwood etc. ) and the modest-priced ones would be only 7 or 8 inch screens, smaller than what I have now. To go to a 9 or 10 inch screen PLUS the Maestro hardware, harness etc. puts me between $1200-1500. Still too much.
Go with an aftermarket Android unit with CANBUS decoder to keep most of my car functions. The unit every seems to have the most success with is the T’EYES CC3. So for about $350 I could get a 10.2 inch screen, Android Auto/Car Play and most of my car’s features would still work.
So in the end I decided on Option 4. Actually, there’s an upgraded version that just came out with an optional 2K Quad HD screen so I got that version in the 64Gb version.
So I’m posting this review to talk about the PROS and CONS I’ve found since replacing my uConnect with the T’EYES CC3 2K as well as fill in the gaps based on some of the videos out there that mention “All the features except the heated steering work
” but in the videos, they never actually show
it or any of the screens for the Cherokee-specific features. I hope this helps for anyone looking at upgrading to the CC3.
It’s pretty well documented you will lose your heated steering wheel so if you MUST have a heated wheel, the CC3 is not for you. You don’t (thankfully) lose your heated seats which to me, is more important. As some have posted, if your Cherokee is equipped with the Remote Start package where your heated seats come on when remote starting and it’s <40 degrees outside you can lose that. Some have reported the remote start heated seat feature works after upgrading and others report it doesn’t work. My heated seats stopped working in the remote start mode but do fully work as normal in manual mode including at the two levels, High and Low.
As I mentioned above, there are videos out there that claim “all the features just work
” however it wasn't clear if the posters actually checked “all features
”. I found a better statement is "most features work
". Perhaps the largest missing feature outside the heated steering wheel is the “Retract Parking Brake for Service” option which is required to change your rear brake pads, something every Cherokee owner will need to do at some point. There’s a “Brake” menu under Car Settings but there are no options under it. Without it, you have no way to retract the parking brake to do a rear brake pad/rotor change. If you have AlfaOBD I have found a way around it.
I was able to manually enter/exit Maintenance Mode from the EPB module and put the car into Maintenance Mode however if you don’t have AlfaOBD you would need to either (a) have a shop/dealer with OBD II access to the extended FCA functions do your brake job or (b) temporarily put your old radio back to do it. Again, for me I have the AlfaOBD so it’s not an issue but something to be aware of if/when you replace your rear pads.
- It takes some time to really understand everything even just how to navigate the interface. There’s literally hundreds of settings and the only instructions are videos on the T’EYES website. I’ve spent about 4-5 hours with it so far and only now starting to get things down comfortably.
- The unit is from China and apparently the primary customers are in Russia because out of the box, it’s setup for Cyrillic. It took 10 minutes just to figure out how to switch it to English! Some deep menus with seldom/never used settings are still in their original Russian. It’s a little rough around the edges but luckily, everything you need, will use or is car/user-facing is in the language you choose (for me, English)
- Non-standard icons. Half of the initial learning curve is trying to figure out what some of the unique icons on the CC3 interface do. For example, the Bluetooth icon/symbol is pretty much universal today. Not so on the CC3 though. It’s some never-seen-before icon. It makes it frustrating because you’re looking all over for just how to pair the Bluetooth only to find it’s under an icon you never would have expected it to be. A little frustrating.
sound quality. As mentioned in almost every posting or video, out of the box the unit sounds like CRAP. And that’s no exaggeration. In all honesty, I actually liked the sound of my Cherokee’s uConnect. It was loud and full ranged. To me, the Cherokee speakers are the weak point and many of us have changed those thanks to the abundance of good posts from forum members on the different speaker upgrade options available. The CC3 sound was so bad at first I seriously thought I had made a mistake and should pull the unit. Luckily I took a deep breath and started to adjust the equalizer (EQ) settings as the CC3 videos point out. Once you do it’s a HUGE difference; night and day. There are also a lot more options for Surround Sound, Subwoofer, High-Pass/Low-Pass filtering, Sound Field. Also, the T’EYES wiring harness has RCA outs for those of us who don’t have the 9-speaker (“Alpine”) system and want to add an amplifier to our 6-speaker base system. It’s just amazing how terrible the CC3 sounds out of the box until you EQ it and then it becomes great. It becomes a completely different unit after that.
Awesome 10.2” glass screen. The 2K model has a gorgeous 2000x1200 resolution and the included custom bezel perfectly matches the Cherokee interior. They really did a great job at making it look like it was a factory option, you would never know it’s not OEM. It’s like having a Tesla-style screen built right into the center of your dashboard. Definite “wow” factor when someone gets into your car.
Another reason I got the 2K model was that they also upgraded the microphone. Many people reported in the videos/reviews out there that with the original CC3 model when making calls, people had difficulty hearing them with the internal microphone and that it was quiet or wasn’t clear. The CC3 does support adding an external microphone however they advertise they fixed the internal microphone issue in the 2K model. Everyone I’ve called has said it sounded nice and clear and no issue with volume.
Google Maps!!! (or Waze or whatever navigation app you prefer). The uConnect navigation was probably good when it came out back in 2014 but not today. The low resolution screen means you could never see more than a few streets around your current location, the scrolling was jerky and once they shut down 3G a couple years ago, unless you had one of the newer 4G units, you were screwed. The CC3 2K on the other hand fully supports any of the dozens of navigation/gps apps in high res. and the scrolling/updating is 100% smooth and lightning fast due to the 8-core processor. Night and day difference when compared to the uConnect.
Sound quality! Now, you may be saying, "Wait???, this was on the list of "CONs??" Well that is BEFORE using the equalizer. Once you EQ the sound to your liking, the CC3 is a whole different head unit and it sounds awesome. It's plenty loud and the 28-band EQ allows you to get the sound just the way you like it. You like lots of bass?? No problem, the T'EYES CC3 has you covered? You like midrange or crystal clear highs? No problem, the EQ has you covered there as well.
With the exception of the heated steering wheel and remote-auto heated seats/wheel option, all the HVAC controls work. This is probably the most critical function as the Cherokee lacks physical buttons for many of the HVAC controls. So bottom line, the only thing HVAC it appears you lose are the heated steering (any mode – manual or remote start) and heated seats in the remote start mode. Everything else, temperature, blower, all the vent louvers, recirculate/pass through, front and rear defogger/defroster, etc. all work. While I don’t have the vented seat option in my TH, the option is there on the CC3’s screen and I don’t have any reason to believe it wouldn’t work since they are controlled by the Comfort Seat Module where the seat heat elements are plugged into. It was noted in some of the posts, the temperature is displayed in Celsius instead of Fahrenheit. This is true. The actual temperature is correct, it’s just the units of display (‘C’ instead of ‘F’) is wrong.
Fully supports adding a 4G SIM card (there are two discrete SIM card slots) for mobile data if you’re inclined to buy one and not use your phone as a hotspot. Also, it supports both 2.4 and 5 Ghz WiFi. Note, you will see references to “5G” in the instructions and on the connectors. This is NOT 5G wireless but 5Ghz WiFi. It’s just bad labeling.
Android Auto & Car Play! I’m an Android user. My kids all have iPhones. Everyone’s happy.
Support for the OEM external amp for 9 speaker “Alpine” sound systems. The interface includes an “AMP” on/off button and CANBUS settings if you have the uConnect external amp (the one behind the glove box).
Plenty of memory to store music, videos etc. so I don’t need to stream from my BT-connected phone. Also, I can load up a USB flash drive and use that for more movies for road trips if I wanted. The CC3 comes with 3 additional USB connectors so you can run them into the glove compartment or by the kick panels so they’re not dangling out in the open if you want while still leaving the Media Hub and USB in the center armrest available. The additional USB’s also can charge phones so you could charge up to 5 devices simultaneously (the media hub, the center console and the three CC3 USB connectors).
Customizing. This really is just more a feature of the Android o/s than the CC3 itself but you can add a background logo, customize the screen look and feel, etc.
Plug and Play. The CC3 comes with a Cherokee-compatible wiring harness. The only thing extra to purchase (and I’d recommend it) is a $8 cable on Amazon to convert your factory GPS cable over to the screw-type found on the back of the unit. They do include a GPS receiver and you could snake the wire through your dash, up the pillar and to the windshield but to me, to save $8 bucks it’s not worth it. Just get the cable adapter and you can use your existing GPS receiver at the top of your windshield. (GPS adapter for Cherokee/T’EYES CC3: Amazon.com
The backup camera, fully works, but there is a downside. With the high-resolution screen the camera image is poor. You’ll be able to see clearly enough for its purpose but I may this summer run a new rear backup camera so I get a nice, wide clear view but that’s just me. I’m an upgrade junkie
Lastly, the unit is advertised as years 2015-2018. I’m not sure about 2019+ but I can say it fully works in my 2014. Perhaps they didn’t have a way to test it in a 2014 but it works fine on a 2014 KL.
- CC3 Head unit (in box)
- OEM-quality bezel (you can choose silver or gold). Matches my Cherokee perfectly. looks factory installed.
- Cherokee-compatible plus & play wiring harness – no cutting or splicing.
- GPS antenna. Suggest getting the adapter on Amazon to use the Cherokee’s GPS antenna if you had Sirius/NAV in your build already.
- 4G antenna (if you use a SIM card for mobile internet)
- 5Ghz-band Wifi antenna (note, this is mislabeled as “5G”. It is not 5G mobile internet.)
- AM/FM amplified antenna. Connect blue wire to “Ant” blue wire on wiring harness (#3)
- USB connector. Keeps the USB in your Media Hub!
- CANBUS box allows radio to work with CANBUS controls like HVAC and Comfort Seat module.
- Cable for external mic, 2nd SIM card and other things (I didn’t use)
- Cable for line-level amp, subwoofer etc. (I didn’t use)
- Cable to connect your Cherokee built-in rear camera. Connect this to yellow “camera” cable on wiring harness (#3)
- Optional external USB connector (1 end)
- Optional external USB connector (2 ends) You can route this to your glove box if you want for extra charging outlets etc.
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