2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited: Lights Out
March 3, 2015
Most modern cars offer navigation and entertainment displays that range from 8 to 12 inches wide, some in widescreen aspect ratio, many with touch-sensitive surfaces. Pretty impressive technology that seems to keep in step (or at least a step behind) the latest tablet technology.
But what most of them lack is a simple, clearly marked, accessible button to turn the lights out. You don't always need the map running and refreshing and you don't always need to know the artist singing the song on the radio.
Most of the time while driving at night, I just want to tone down the light pollution. Many systems offer the feature, but bury it deep within menu structures, usually somewhere in "settings," and at the least most offer some form of brightness control. You can light a small library study group from the brightness of a Tesla Model S center stack, and although I'm sure I'm wrong, I don't remember an easy way to dim that whole assembly.
Our 2014 Jeep Cherokee Limited offers a button to turn the screen dark, there in the lower left of the photo. When you want it back, you tap the touchscreen. Simple. Sure, it's one more button demanding space on the center console, and the Jeep's isn't particularly elegant. Other cars have a tiny button either onscreen or around the display's trim plate with an icon of the moon, for example, that's less obtrusive. Regardless, I appreciate that Jeep/Chrysler offer this simple control.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 13,200 miles