Head-up displays (HUD) are cool: fact. First developed during the Second World War for use in jet fighters, they relayed crucial information back to pilots without them having to take their eye off the sky. Sounds like the perfect technology to improve a car.
A HUD allows the driver to look at important information (like their speed or fuel consumption) without having to take your eyes off the road. This is known as the eyes-on-the-road-benefit which increases situational awareness. Plus, it's cool to say your car uses fighter jet technology.
The first production car to come with a HUD wasn't quite as cool; the 'mighty' 1988 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme Convertible. They are now a common feature on luxury cars but can easily cost over £1000 as an optional extra. There are, however, plenty of examples for sale that cost far less and can relay the same information. Take a look at our guide to the best head-up display units for your car.
What are the different types of HUD?
There are two different types of aftermarket HUDs; GPS and OBD. GPS-based units are universal, while OBD-II models require, you guessed it, an OBD-II connector to work. Thankfully, all petrol cars sold in the EU from 2001 are required to have an OBD-II port, meaning most cars will be able to support these types of HUD.
The GPS and OBD-II based HUDs differ in their abilities too. A GPS HUD will be able to accurately tell a driver their speed but nothing else to do with their car, while an OBD-II model will be able to give information on a range of different figures, including RPM, fuel consumption and engine temperatures.
Best head up displays
A clear and stylish HUD from Autopmall, this HD quality display works with either OBD-II ports or with GPS. Able to display loads of different bits of driving information, this HUD is a top choice. The brand lists some cars the OBD port will not work with so it's worth checking this out before you buy one.
Pros: HD quality OBD and GPS function
Cons: OBD only works with certain vehicles
A great budget option, this HUD will still beam important information onto your car's windscreen. Despite using both GPS and OBD-II, this model does not offer as many different readings as other models.
Pros: Offers all the essentials
Cons: Misses out on some readings.
Not so much a HUD as an extra binnacle to sit on top of your dashboard, this display will still help you keep your eyes on the road. Powered by your car's cigarette lighter, this HUD uses an OBD-II port to display speed as well as other pieces of information like engine temperatures.
Pros: Easy to read screen
Cons: Not a traditional HUD
A GPS HUD from Maifa, this device may not offer the most information but it does offer a useful fatigue warning if you drive for too long. It also includes an over speed alarm that will alert you if you travel above the speed limit.
Pros: Useful features for long journies.
Simple to use
Cons: Nothing more than speed is measured
something similar, yet completely different. If you love the idea of an extra display for MPH, RPM, temperatures, GPS direction, and everything else, but don’t want it projecting onto the windshield, try the Timprove universal dash HUD.
This little gadget has a 2.2-inch screen you can mount anywhere on the dash. It’ll display multiple readings, like speed, acceleration, RPM, or even just a clock, not to mention everything else the others on our list offer. The only difference here is this doesn’t display anything into your windshield.