What if off-roading was a little easier and a bit less nerve-racking?
The Range Rover Defender 90 includes a feature that not only makes it less stressful, but even enjoyable and straightforward.
First, you should know that the HUD that appears in the windshield is one of the best I’ve seen. It is quite large, which works well on the larger Defender 90 SUV (as opposed to a low-riding sporty car with a smaller windshield). There’s room to see your speed, navigation guidance, direction, and much more. I was more drawn to the off-roading features, though.
Let’s be clear — I didn’t actually take this vehicle out on a rocky ravine. I did test it on a few potholes on a dirt road, though. With the HUD enabled and using the off-road mode, you can see exactly what is happening with the incline and camber angles (e.g., the angle of the wheels). Because you can still face forward and look out the window and inspect the HUD at the same time, there wasn’t as much tension related to what is under the car or the incline.
On that dirt road, I found some potholes and divots in the road, and also tried driving up on a curb, to see how the HUD changes. A line shows your current incline and moves in real-time as you drive over obstructions and into divots.
Here’s a video that shows how it works (around 2:00):
I could see someone using this feature on a road with rocks and other encumbrances, staying vigilant as you drive along and wary of any problems. Yet, you can also still keep your eyes out on the front of the vehicle looking for any new problems.
I remember testing a Range Rover at an event a few years ago where the reps took us out on an actual mountain road and let us try driving up the side of a hill, down a rocky path, and even in a mud pit. It was a fantastic experience, but I wish I had the HUD to help.
There’s a certain amount of fear involved, usually. What if you get stuck? What if you scrape an axle on a rock? What if the car tips over?
It might sound like a remote chance, but on that day testing Range Rover vehicles, we found an embankment that tipped the car to one side. It’s not actually close to tipping, but you do feel like you are losing a bit of control because you are tipping. Potholes are no big deal, neither are curbs, but it was cool to see how the HUD display would have helped in that situation.
The Defender 90 also includes cameras mounted near the front wheels so when you drive, you can literally see under the hood. This allows you to inspect rocks and see if they might cause problems, and then back away or turn to avoid them.
Combined with the HUD, I felt like these features made it a lot easier to see what was around the vehicle, exactly where I was on the road, and what was happening at all times. The HUD is one of the best I’ve tested and a huge bonus if you actually do any off-roading.