Best Head-Up Displays: Heads Up, Man

Vivek Nayyar
by Vivek Nayyar

Top 7 Best HUDs

Not much of the driving advice doled out by my long-suffering father has been retained by your author’s increasingly foggy brain. Gripping the wheel at ten-and-two has been replaced by nine-and-three, although dad’s exhortation that my preferred wheel grip of twelve-and-nothing was absolute bollocks brings a smile to my face even now.

However, being told to keep one’s eyes on the road is a lesson that rarely leaves any of us. Look far ahead, he would say, because those who simply look just beyond the hood will find their drives full of terrifying surprises. Come to think of it, that advice holds true for lots of things in life, not just driving.

Some snazzier cars (and even some not-so-snazzy ones) have a head-up display that projects the car’s speed and other info onto the windshield. The t4hinking behind this feature is that, heeding dad’s advice, one doesn’t have to take their eyes off the road to learn their car’s velocity and other minutiae.

What’s that? Your car doesn’t have a head-up display? Worry not, for we’ve assembled a few options for fitting it to vehicles lacking the feature.

Table of Contents

1. Editor’s Choice: ACECAR Upgrade Universal Car HUD Head Up Display

Displaying driving data on its 4.3-inch TFT screen, this little unit can display a phalanx of information in too-small numbers or simply give a massive readout of one’s current speed. Presented in a clear font with an attractive color scheme, it is a small matter to switch between a variety of operating interface modes and layouts.

Based on the GPS module inside its housing, this unit will start and turn off automatically with vehicle ignition. Be sure to annoy your favorite teen driver with the speed alarm setting. It does need to be plugged into a power source, so be sure to hide those unsightly cables. The GPS chip can also tell drivers information like altitude and driving time. Thanks to the simple need for 12V power, this unit can be used in just about any wheeled vehicle.

Pros

  • Versatile, clear screen, good graphics

Cons

  • Cables are the bane of my existence

Bottom Line

  • Hide those unsightly wires and you're good to go

2. Arestech 5.5-inche OBD2 Windshield HUD

This unit plugs right into the OBD plug in one's car, meaning it should be able to haul critical information about speed and whatnot right from the vehicle's computer. Those who wear tinfoil hats might not like that thought but you can't deny it is a handy setup.

As such, this HUD can display engine revs, fuel economy estimates, voltage, temperature, and other details not accessible by a smartphone-driven HUD. It needs the application of a reflective film to work properly, which is supplied in the kit.

Pros

  • Tons of information hurled at your eyeballs, reflects onto the windshield

Cons

  • Might it know a bit too much?

Bottom Line

  • Nah - just roll with it (pun intended)

3. Pyle Universal 5.5’’ Car HUD Head-Up Display

Despite sharing a name with Gomer, this head-up display also projects its information onto a glass surface. Its arrangement of data is much more frenetic than other HUDs, a decision which will please players of Forza Horizon by anger any luddites in the audience. Changing the display doesn’t seem to be much of an option.

Speed, driving direction, driving time, driving distance, and altitude are all on full display. With no need to take your eyes off the road, all vital information is projected ahead of the driver in a full-color 5.5-inch display.

Pros

  • Colorful display, OBD operation

Cons

  • Weirdo brand name

Bottom Line

  • Why do these things cost a lot from the factory?

4. Reflective Windshield Film for Car Head Up Display

This isn’t technically a heads up display; rather, it's an accessory to go along with one. According to the seller, the high definition crystal clear film provides the best display resolution and pixels per inch to best reflect the projection. Apparently, the film is totally transparent and will not distract a driver.

After cleaning a 6-inch square on one’s windshield to ensure maximum adhesion, peel off the sticky backing and place this film where it is desired. Somehow, despite its 6-inch measure, it can effectively display a HUD of 7 inches. Reviews are somewhat middling, with customers reporting it doesn’t really work in daylight.

Pros

  • Could provide clarity for displaying one’s HUD detail

Cons

  • Not an actual HUD

Bottom Line

  • This is why these things cost a lot from the factory

5. iKiKin Car Heads Up Display

This heads up display is, in your author’s opinion, the best-looking option on this list. Shaped like the gauges on a sportbike, this HUD displays a wealth of information in what could be construed as a second dashboard rather than a head-up display. Its tachometer encircles a speed readout like that in a Fiat 500.

Displayed information includes the likes of voltage, water temperature, and turbine pressure. In fact, the seller says it can read 36 data from the car’s ECU. The display is about four inches in diameter, plus a bit on the right-hand side for extra detail. Six different displays can be selected, including a trio that swap the big round gauge for a wide readout of data.

Pros

  • Looks super cool, OBD2 precision, lots of display options

Cons

  • More expensive than some others

Bottom Line

  • Worth the cash on looks alone

6. ACECAR Car Universal Dual System HUD

Similar in scope and size to a head-up app one could download for their smartphone, this HUD provides relevant data in large easy-to-read numbers, which should make it popular with the Golden Corral set. The difference between this and an app is this units ability to speak with one’s car through an OBD2 port.

This, of course, allows the unit to display information such as engine rpm and voltage. Ambient decorative lighting looks pleasant and the screen that projects the detail onto a windshield is plenty large. Thanks to some nifty engineering, cars that do not have an OBD2 port can play with this HUD as well, since it also packs a GPS unit.

Pros

  • Uses either OBD2 or GPS, affordable

Cons

  • Displays minimal information at once

Bottom Line

  • Decent basic unit

7. TIMPROVE T600 Universal Car Head Up Display

Looking for all the world like the tacked-on center stack display of a Mitsubishi Endeavor - remember those? - is this display from Timprove. I'll say that again; TIMPROVE. Clearly, someone's just throwing darts at a name board when labeling these things.

It's also similar in appearance to one of those cheap travel alarm clocks we all used to deploy before smartphones and, indeed, when we used to actually travel. This display doesn't fold closed, however. Reviews are squarely in the 'good enough' category, especially for an outlay of forty bucks.

Pros

  • Could appear to be part of the actual dashboard if creatively placed

Cons

  • Very basic information display

Bottom Line

  • A unique option

Best Head-Up Displays: Heads Up, Man

Which is the best HUD?

Although the type of HUD that you prefer to have depends on your budget and what you expect from it, listed below are some that are worth considering:

ACECAR Heads-Up Display ( Buy here!)

This is a universal 3.5-inches heads-up display with a good number of positive reviews on Amazon. The device shows the details of the speedometer, engine RPM, GPS navigation, mileage measurement, overspeed warning, and water level.

Yunzong Heads-Up Display ( Buy here!)

This is another 3.5-inches HUD that is compatible with 12V cars manufactured between 1997 and 2018. The device has a cigarette lighter port and projects the details such as speed, overspeed warnings, directions through a digital compass, etc. right on the windscreen.

Pyle Head-Up Display ( Buy here!)

With the multi-color output that is projected on the windscreen, this heads-up display is suitable for almost all vehicles and shows information about the driving speed, GPS navigation, direction, etc. The device is a plug-and-play type and supports automatic power on and off.

Which vehicle has the best heads-up display?

Although many vehicles nowadays come with a factory-fitted heads-up display, some brands take utmost care when it comes to quality and durability. Listed below are a couple of cars that have the best heads-up display:

BMW 7 Series

One of the renowned brands, BMW, which manufactures cars that are considered a status symbol has a 7 Series model that comes with a technically rich multi-color heads-up display.

Jaguar XF

Another premium-class sedan that has a high-tech heads-up display that is visible only to the driver.

Mazda Mazda3

This one falls in the category of premium but affordable cars. Although the variant has a decent quality heads-up display, the company prefers calling it ‘Active Driving Display’.

Is a heads-up display worth it?

Well, people have mixed opinions about having a heads-up display in their car. While the factory-fitted HUDs are warmly greeted by the vehicle owners, some believe that the aftermarket devices have more cons than pros. The points that are listed below talk about the advantages and disadvantages of heads-up displays:

You don’t have to take your eyes down to the standard displays to see details like speed, RPM, etc.

Your eyes can refocus on the road comparatively easily and quickly

You usually don’t get distracted while driving

It significantly increases the cost of the vehicle as HUDs don’t come cheap at the time of this writing

Not all, but some drivers may get distracted by the information that HUDs show on the windscreen or somewhere near to it

Which SUV has the best heads-up display?

Because SUVs are mostly used for long journeys and highways, they need to be both comfortable while driving and convenient when it comes to showing details like speed, overspeed alerts, water level, etc. Therefore, HUDs automatically become a significant piece of equipment for such vehicles. A couple of SUV cars that have the best heads-up display are listed below:

GMC Yukon

This premium-class luxury SUV has a 15-inch heads-up display that enables the driver to see a plethora of information that is not otherwise possible in a car with a smaller HUD.

Kia Telluride

In addition to having a decent HUD, Telluride can accommodate 8 people and has All-Wheel Drive (AWD) option.

Hyundai Palisade

This low-cost SUV is also equipped with one of the superior quality heads-up displays, thus making it a good competitor of all the modern-age cars.

From time to time, TTAC will highlight automotive products we think may be of interest to our community. Plus, posts like this help to keep the lights on around here. Learn more about how this works.

(Editor’s note: This post is meant to both help you be an informed shopper for automotive products but also to pay for our ‘90s sedan shopping habits operating expenses. Some of you don’t find these posts fun, but they help pay for Junkyard Finds, Rare Rides, Piston Slaps, and whatever else. Thanks for reading.)

[Product images provided by the manufacturer.]

Vivek Nayyar
Vivek Nayyar

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  • Qwerty shrdlu Qwerty shrdlu on Jan 23, 2021

    Your first choice displays "sailing angle" which brings back memories of driving a 1969 VW van in crosswinds and gusts.

  • Sobro Sobro on Jan 25, 2021

    In 2017 I rented a Yukon Denali with HUD. Couldn't see a thing when I had on my polarized sunglasses. It's a nice toy and a friend once had an opium dream of creating one for cars, but it was the 1980's and the OBD tech wasn't there at the time. He should have patented something then. I don't think a patent has to actually work.

    • Brn Brn on Feb 26, 2022

      Good point on the polarized sunglasses. They would defeat any heads up display that reflects off the windshield.

  • Pau65792686 I think there is a need for more sedans. Some people would rather drive a car over SUV’s or CUV’s. If Honda and Toyota can do it why not American brands. We need more affordable sedans.
  • Tassos Obsolete relic is NOT a used car.It might have attracted some buyers in ITS DAY, 1985, 40 years ago, but NOT today, unless you are a damned fool.
  • Stan Reither Jr. Part throttle efficiency was mentioned earlier in a postThis type of reciprocating engine opens the door to achieve(slightly) variable stroke which would provide variable mechanical compression ratio adjustments for high vacuum (light load) or boost(power) conditions IMO
  • Joe65688619 Keep in mind some of these suppliers are not just supplying parts, but assembled components (easy example is transmissions). But there are far more, and the more they are electronically connected and integrated with rest of the platform the more complex to design, engineer, and manufacture. Most contract manufacturers don't make a lot of money in the design and engineering space because their customers to that. Commodity components can be sourced anywhere, but there are only a handful of contract manufacturers (usually diversified companies that build all kinds of stuff for other brands) can engineer and build the more complex components, especially with electronics. Every single new car I've purchased in the last few years has had some sort of electronic component issue: Infinti (battery drain caused by software bug and poorly grounded wires), Acura (radio hiss, pops, burps, dash and infotainment screens occasionally throw errors and the ignition must be killed to reboot them, voice nav, whether using the car's system or CarPlay can't seem to make up its mind as to which speakers to use and how loud, even using the same app on the same trip - I almost jumped in my seat once), GMC drivetrain EMF causing a whine in the speakers that even when "off" that phased with engine RPM), Nissan (didn't have issues until 120K miles, but occassionally blew fuses for interior components - likely not a manufacturing defect other than a short developed somewhere, but on a high-mileage car that was mechanically sound was too expensive to fix (a lot of trial and error and tracing connections = labor costs). What I suspect will happen is that only the largest commodity suppliers that can really leverage their supply chain will remain, and for the more complex components (think bumper assemblies or the electronics for them supporting all kinds of sensors) will likley consolidate to a handful of manufacturers who may eventually specialize in what they produce. This is part of the reason why seemingly minor crashes cost so much - an auto brand does nst have the parts on hand to replace an integrated sensor , nor the expertice as they never built them, but bought them). And their suppliers, in attempt to cut costs, build them in way that is cheap to manufacture (not necessarily poorly bulit) but difficult to replace without swapping entire assemblies or units).I've love to see an article on repair costs and how those are impacting insurance rates. You almost need gap insurance now because of how quickly cars depreciate yet remain expensive to fix (orders more to originally build, in some cases). No way I would buy a CyberTruck - don't want one, but if I did, this would stop me. And it's not just EVs.
  • Joe65688619 I agree there should be more sedans, but recognize the trend. There's still a market for performance oriented-drivers. IMHO a low budget sedan will always be outsold by a low budget SUV. But a sports sedan, or a well executed mid-level sedan (the Accord and Camry) work. Smaller market for large sedans except I think for an older population. What I'm hoping to see is some consolidation across brands - the TLX for example is not selling well, but if it was offered only in the up-level configurations it would not be competing with it's Honda sibling. I know that makes the market smaller and niche, but that was the original purpose of the "luxury" brands - badge-engineering an existing platform at a relatively lower cost than a different car and sell it with a higher margin for buyers willing and able to pay for them. Also creates some "brand cachet." But smart buyers know that simple badging and slightly better interiors are usually not worth the cost. Put the innovative tech in the higher-end brands first, differentiate they drivetrain so it's "better" (the RDX sells well for Acura, same motor and tranmission, added turbo which makes a notable difference compared to the CRV). The sedan in many Western European countries is the "family car" as opposed to micro and compact crossovers (which still sell big, but can usually seat no more than a compact sedan).
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