— A new package on the Jeep Cherokee will come with a few non-automotive accessories: an Amazon Echo Dot, plus subscriptions to two streaming audio services. Jeep plans to throw in all three if you get a new Tech Connect Package, which enables owners to send voice commands to their Cherokee through the Echo's Alexa virtual assistant.
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Staring in November, Jeep will offer the Tech Connect Package on the Cherokee's base trim, called Latitude. Including destination, a model thus equipped will start at $27,285 with front-wheel drive or $28,785 with all-wheel drive, up $1,795 over the base Latitude. The subscriptions amount to three months of music streaming through Amazon's Music Unlimited Family Plan and audiobook streaming through Amazon subsidiary Audible — some $110 in total value combined with the Echo Dot, which retails for around $50.
The package also adds 18-inch aluminum wheels (versus the standard 17-inch wheels) and darker exterior moldings. Inside, it gets an upgraded stereo with a year of satellite radio, one-touch front windows (compared with driver-side-only on the base Latitude) and an 8.4-inch Uconnect Access display (the standard display is 5 inches). Naturally, Uconnect Access now works with Alexa: Owners can ask the virtual assistant to lock or unlock their Cherokee, send commands to navigation-equipped models, remotely start or stop the Used Engine , and check fuel or tire pressure.
The capability isn't limited to the Cherokee Latitude with the package. Starting Nov. 1, anyone who buys a 2018 Cherokee with the 8.4-inch screen can register with Uconnect Access' connected services, enable Uconnect through Alexa and get the same capabilities. You'll need your own Echo device to work it, however; Jeep told that only the Latitude's Tech Connect Package will come with the Echo Dot and streaming subscriptions.
Alexa integration is multiplying fast among automakers. Last week, Nissan and BMW announced Alexa support for certain cars. Hyundai luxury brand Genesis has had Alexa integration since September 2016; Hyundai added it for its namesake brand two months later.