Head Up Displays - The 2019 Guide
What you need to know
Another year goes by and the head-up display battlefield is as quiet as a somber moment of silence. Whether they're a nuisance or a novelty, head-up displays in cars are a good five to ten years behind what can be shown on a center console display or digital gauge cluster, and it's becoming more apparent that once they're created for a platform they exist to pad top-trim feature lists.
Last year we mentioned wide-eyed optimism for third-parties to utilize automaker APIs so we could, for instance, see a 'car on shoulder ahead' warning from Waze. Instead, we've seen no car companies creating an API of any sort yet (With the exclusion of Tesla). Maybe we were jumping the gun a little too soon.
If there's one thing to say about head-up displays in 2019 it's that unless you really love them, don't go out of your way to option up for it. It won't be as exciting to use as you expect, and there's a decent chance you'll miss a thousand other features before you miss a head-up display.
Below is a list of car companies and specific models that can be equipped with a HUD. This is a U.S. based list, so if a car company isn't listed or it's too expensive to mention (like Lamborghini) then it won't be shown here. Ford has been removed from the list since it's clear they've shown no interest in this field.
- Models: Mazda3, Mazda6, CX-3, CX-5, CX-9
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, road signs, safety systems
Mazda3, Mazda6, and CX-3 models use a discrete transparent panel mounted on the dashboard while CX-5 and CX-9 models use a traditional recess with projection style head-up display. Mazda calls their stand-up unit Active Driving Display.
- Models: Accord
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, phone
Current generation Honda Accords are the only models in the Honda family to offer a head-up display. Its information is scarce and Honda has some ways to go to match displays like ones from GM but the Accord is one of few cars in its class to have the feature available.
- Models: 2019 RDX
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, phone, safety systems
Acura's 'brand revival' starts with the RDX, and many of its features are designed to impress so they can hit the ground running. The 2019 RDX offers a full color 10.5-inch head-up display that's practically the largest in its class. It's only available with the Advance package.
- Models: Prius, Prius Prime, Camry
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, gear, compass, rpm, (Prius only) battery level, hybrid drivetrain activity
Although the Prius models offered a HUD for a while, the breadth of information is slim; showing only speed and economy related data. The current generation Camry now leads the forefront in Toyota HUDs, and since it's built on a new global platform you might expect to see more HUDs in future Toyota models. Although the 2019 Avalon is built on the same platform, it does not offer a head-up display.
- Models: ES, GS, RX, LX, LS, LC
- Information: Current speed, RPM, current gear, compass, audio, fuel efficiency, adaptive cruise control
Lexus has slowly caught up with the German competition when it comes to head-up display features and adaptation. Its TNGA global platform is the most plausible reason. Even the 2019 ES will offer a head-up display. The LS 500 offers a special 24-inch display showing more warnings (Like pedestrian detection) than its lower class models.
Kia / Hyundai / Genesis
- Models: Kia K900, Kia Stinger | Genesis G70, Genesis G80, Genesis G90 | Hyundai Kona, Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Veloster
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, lane departure, blind spot warning, adaptive cruise control
Hyundai-type HUDs are offered at the top end of the range, and typically on the top trim. Its feature list hasn't changed for 2019, but newer models like the G70 and Kona will have a HUD as an option.
- Models: Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban | GMC Sierra
- Information: Current speed, RPM, turn-by-turn navigation, shift lights, g-meter, radio
GM has long been a proponent of head-up displays in their divisions. For the Chevrolet brand, it's mainly within the performance models that utilize a HUD. Each model has a variety of display geometries but their focus is on how fast you've been and how fast you're going. In the case of the Corvette the HUD matches the alternative tachometer. The Chevrolet SS offers a HUD but it's no longer in production.
- Models: ATS (Sedan, Coupe), ATS-V (Sedan, Coupe), CTS, CTS-V, XTS, CT6, XT4, XT5, Escalade
- Information: Current speed, RPM, collision alert, speed limit, lane departure alert, turn-by-turn navigation, compass heading, audio
There are no remarkable changes for 2019 head-up displays from Cadillac. Its aesthetics have been slightly altered for models that were updated recently. Cadillac remains a class leader with head-up displays.
- Models: LaCrosse, Envision, Regal
- Information: Current speed, RPM, turn-by-turn navigation, audio/phone, performance, collision alert, cruise control, lane departure alert, low fuel
Buick's head-up display is similar to the ones offered in Cadillacs. The newly redesigned Regal will now be offering a head-up display as well.
- Models: A4, A5, A6, A7, A8, S5, S6, S7, S8, RS7, Q7
- Information: Current speed, navigation, speed limit, pedestrian warning, assistant systems
Audi HUDs are available across the board, but its feature set is unchanged for 2019 models. A HUD is standard on the latest generation A8 L.
Models: 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, X1, X3, X4, X5, X6, i8, M3, M4, M5, M6, Z4
Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, adaptive cruise control, speed limit, blind spot detection, lane departure warning, pedestrian warning, forward collision warning, user controls, RPM (certain models)
BMW continues to remain a leader in the HUD technology front. M sport cars with M-specific HUDs can display even more features like xDrive setting and shift lights.
- Models: C-Coupe, C-Sedan, E-Sedan, S-Coupe, S-Sedan, GLC-Class, AMG-GT
- Information: Current speed, rpm, turn-by-turn navigation, adaptive cruise control
Mercedes' updated HUD is not class leading because their gauge cluster display is where you'll find most of the relevant information. The position and brightness of the HUD saves with your seat memory position, and later models automatically adapt the color setting to ambient light.
Jaguar & Land Rover
- Models: XE, XF, F-Pace | Range Rover, Range Rover Sport, Evoque,
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, road signs, cruise control, forward collision warning, gear position, shift indicator, traffic sign recognition
Jaguar HUDs use laser-based projection to provide clear instrumentation in all conditions. Like many cool Jaguar features, it's an optional extra.
- Models: S60, S90, V90, XC60, XC90
- Information: Current speed, turn-by-turn navigation, cruise control, road signs, incoming calls
2019 Volvo head-up displays have their appearance changed once again to match their more modern design language. Volvo mentions their displays have adaptive brightness depending on light conditions.