Little things in modern cars can mean a lot.
On a recent test of the 2024 Kia Telluride SX-Prestige full-size SUV, the heads-up display impressed me because it shows a lot of detail — far beyond what I normally see.
Of course, there are all of the usual indicators. You can see your speed and cruise control setting, directional indicators, and lane markings. As you drive, these aids help because you can focus on the road and not have to look down at the interior displays. Every second counts in these conditions, when even a quick glance down at a display in the center console can mean you are not watching the road.
This is especially true for highway driving, which can lull you into thinking you are on auto pilot and there is nothing to really watch out for. In city driving scenarios, we pay attention a little more because there are so many people and things to look for.
In my testing, the HUD proved valuable both on the highway to keep my eyes on the road and in my town. The theme here is that I kept my eyes on the road more while driving, and glanced quickly at the HUD as needed.
What really impressed me though is that the HUD also shows other cars. I don’t remember seeing that before on other tests. On the highway, for example, white icons appeared next to lane markings and tracked the other cars in real-time.
It’s cool to watch, because the icons help you pay attention a little more. You might not even see there’s a car to your right sneaking up on you but you can see the white icons showing that vehicle in the HUD. I remember writing about the HUD in cars a few years ago and how the display could be used for a lot more than just speed and navigation. Now, car companies are doing just that.
Kia is onto something here, and I could see improving it even more over the next few years — especially as AI starts taking off even more. It could show the shape of the vehicle, and whether it’s a car or a truck. A red indicator could show that the opposing vehicle in the other lane is edging too close to you. The icons could even change to show whether it’s an emergency vehicle or a police car.
And this is all while we wait for vehicle-to-vehicle technology to finally come to production cars instead of just testing it in the lab. When every car on the road can use technology like this and monitor each other in real-time, it could prove valuable. Not only would I see approaching cars as icons, but every other car would also see me. And, that data could be used to alert both cars in an emergency, and even steer both out of accident. It’s one thing to know a car is approaching you, but quite another to know that the other cars can see what I’m doing (or not doing) as the driver.
That will come soon enough. I like how the HUD works for now in the Kia Telluride, especially since it made me pay attention to the road just a bit more than usual.