A few years ago, curved displays were going to change the world.
I remember seeing them at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas quite a few years ago now, always with some promise about how imminent they would be.
For whatever reason, they didn’t become commonplace. It might have been due to cost, but usually that’s only one factor initially — if something is truly needed and wanted by consumers, then companies figure out a way to bring an innovation to the market.
What might have been more likely is that there wasn’t really a big need. Flat displays like the one on the iPad or the iPhone work just fine. Curved displays cost more but don’t provide the utility in most cases.
That’s not true with the 2023 Range Rover Sport SE. A slight curve to the main center console screen is not so noticeable that it’s distracting, but the slight arc around the front dashboard means it sits nicely right in front of you, blending into the decor. I had to look from a side angle a few times to make sure it even was curved, but then realized that is where the utility really comes into play: it’s not meant to be that pronounced, but it is useful.
Quite a few years ago, I remember testing curved smartphones. They were a novelty back then and barely exist anymore. One issue is that the curve was a bit too pronounced, and the phone doesn’t lay flat on a table. It’s harder to prop up against a desk or use on an airplane tray table.
With the Range Rover, the curved display just makes sense. It’s easy to flip your finger across the screen, pinch to zoom, and do other tasks. Plus, it just looks cool and is a conversation starter. The utility of the curved screen is that it saves a bit of space and isn’t so harshly countered against the dashboard, which in most cars is always a bit curved. Most vehicles I’ve tested that have a large display in the center are flat, which makes them a bit cumbersome to use. For example, many Ford and RAM trucks now have a massive flat screen that can be distracting. Since the Range Rover has a curved screen, it matches with the front of the dashboard better and angles around it instead of sitting at a perpendicular angle.
Again, it’s subtle, but useful — you barely notice the curve, which is what makes it so smart.
I am picturing a day when most of the displays in cars and trucks will be curved like this, especially the one we use for navigation but also the display above the steering wheel and then the one that’s meant for the passenger. (Ironically, just when I thought the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk was the only vehicle I’ve tested in a while that has a passenger screen, the very next week I tested a 2024 Mercedes-Benz AMG EQE that also has one.)
Curved screens are best in cars. I mean, the entire car is curved — so it makes a lot of sense. I really enjoyed using the curved display in the 2023 Range Rover Sport SE. I hope other car companies follow the lead here and introduce more of these displays.