Winners, announced last week at the Chicago Auto Show, included the Dodge Dart for connectivity. In total, there were six winners in these categories: trucks, small, midsize, luxury, ultra-luxury and green vehicles.

Peggy Smedly, Connected World’s editorial director, said judges looked not just at how well the system worked, but how it kept drivers safe.  “I’m really big about safety,” she said, “where consumers can focus more on the road ahead.”

All the finalists’ systems attempted to provide a safe way to operate the entertainment systems while driving.  While advanced entrainment consoles are standard in more expensive cars, the small category recognized the Dodge Dart, which includes the Uconnect entertainment system in a $1,395 package.

“The Uconnect was an impressive inclusion for the price of the Dart,” Smedly said. “The Uconnect infotainment system is the centerpiece to the in-vehicle experience.”

The Uconnect system includes voice control, a rear-view backup camera, blind-spot monitoring and navigation, but the Dodge Dart can also create a Wi-Fi hotspot with 3G signal, allowing passengers to connect laptops and other devices to the internet while on the road. Smedly said the technology package is impressive for the compact car, which Dodge introduced in 2012 as its first compact in seven years.

“The Connected Car of the Year Award is confirmation from a third-party source that the Dodge Dart is at the forefront of technology in its class,” Tim Kuniskis, president and CEO of the Dodge brand, said in a press release.

Get online on-the-go
Uconnect® with available WiFi+ by Mopar®, enables your passengers to be simultaneously connected to the Web. Any WiFi-enabled device — such as a laptop or other portable WiFi enabled multimedia — can connect over your private mobile network. And no cell cards or software is required.

USB port
The USB port allows you to connect your compatible media device and play all your favorite music+. You can also operate your device in multiple ways with controls on your radio or steering wheel.

Audio input jack
Passengers can plug in an iPhone® mobile device or another fully compatible device and share their favorite music through the surround-sound system.

Bluetooth® Streaming Audio
Stream music wirelessly from your compatible media device or Internet radio app with this available feature.

Uconnect® Voice Command with Bluetooth®
Uconnect® Phone is integrated with your navigation, entertainment and voice command systems to provide a beautifully seamless experience. Music drops for driving directions and incoming calls, then returns on cue. And Voice Command allows you to easily “call Judy” or “redial” without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.

Bluetooth® pairing
You can pair up to seven different Bluetooth®-enabled phones on the system so multiple drivers and passengers can send and receive calls. Only one device will work at a time, so you can also prioritize devices. Visit uconnectphone.com for a complete list of compatible devices.

Contact syncing
Sync your contacts from a compatible phone to the Uconnect® System.

Hands-free calling and texting
Make calls, listen to and respond to text messages without taking your hands off the wheel or eyes off the road. (iPhone® mobile devices are not compatible with this feature.) For phone compatibility and pairing information, please visit Uconnect® System mobile device support.

Voice your selections
Access your favorite playlist on your MP3 player or USB drive with simple voice commands. Switch between music sources. Ask for directions to a certain address. Change the cabin temperature. Or make a call. Uconnect® Voice Command helps you keep your hands on the wheel and eyes on the road while you keep moving

Steering wheel controls
Find a song on your playlist or a channel on your Uconnect® System and turn up the volume – all without taking your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road.

8.4-inch touchscreen display
Control your entertainment, climate and phone all from one place. View album art+, artist information and weather

More details on the Dart’s Uconnect system