Here, after a few days playing with it is the A8 HUD Review.
What is it:
HUD, or Head up display, projects data from the car (such as speed, RPM, fuel consumption, etc.) onto the windscreen in front of your line of vision.
What are the benefits:
improved visibility while driving (digital projection of car speed and other key data), increased safety (you don\'t have to take your eyes of the road to see driving info).
What are the downsides:
possible driver distraction and potential information overload.
Pros of the A8 HUD:
- easy set up and installation (plug and play)
- system accesses the car directly for info
- multicolor display with clear info
- HUD highly customizable
- very low price ($ 42)
Cons of the A8 HUD:
- requires pesky projection screen to be attached to the windshield
- fuel consumption only in metric and pretty useless
- wish it could access and display the current gear on the Cherokee
The A8 is a reasonably compact projection device that accesses info directly from the OBDII port in the Cherokee and projects it in the driver's line of vision. It has a sensor and automatically adjusts the brightness, depending on the outside lighting. It gets its power through the OBDII port and automatically turns on or off with the ignition. *It has a very nice multicolored interface and is reasonably customizable. On the Cherokee, this is a pure plug and play device, easy enough even for a technical doofus like me to use! The Chinese - English manual, on the other hand, requires some serious study to comprehend.
You can project only the speed or a number of other parameters, including coolant temperature, battery voltage, fuel consumption, RPMs and a trip odometer. The latter is automatically reset after each start, so it does not correspond to any Cherokee odometer (while my 2014 didn't have start-stop, I wonder if this would reset every time with the ESS). You can put either the speed (default) or the numeric RPMs (for the racers among us) as the main image.
The image from the unit sitting on the dash is projected onto a special screen on the windshield. While the HUD takes some getting used to, once you are comfortable, it does feel natural to use it. If anything, the projection screen was a PITA, more than the image itself. The display is reasonably clear during the day while at night it looks positively sci-fi-ish. During bright sunlight it may get washed out and be difficult to see. I did configure it to have less data so that I could focus only on the important stuff! There is a slight reflection from the unit itself at times (similar to the reflection of the vent grille on the dash), but I didn't find that a major distraction.
In addition the A8 has some interesting features, such as buzzer warnings for both high speed and high rpms (both customizable). The former is similar to the Uconnect feature and the latter is meant as a shift indicator, on manual shifting (limited use on the Cherokee). There are also a bunch of error code lights and a cute "get a rest" indicator, which turns on after a certain time travelled.
Compared to the factory built HUD (specifically BMWs), I liked the larger projection size (5.5" compared to 2-3") and the multicolor display, but I missed the integration of navigation and other multimedia features, which this unit cannot do. Obviously, the factory HUDs have special windshields which make much better projection surfaces. I also wish it could project current gear and a FWD/AWD indicator, but alas none of that
Overall, once you get used to it, the A8 HUD fits in neatly with the driver's line of vision. For some though, this concept may be just too much or present information overload! For those who use it, the HUD, properly positioned and calibrated, will definitely improve both driving vision and enhance safety (no need to look down while driving). And, at $ 42 it is a sweet buy compared to the factory installed ones!
So, what do I think of having the A8 aftermarket HUD in the Cherokee? Very simply I like it a lot. For the miniscule price and the extremely simple installation, I think that it is a wonderful addition to driving comfort and safety. It can\'t compete with factory installed HUDs, but those cost 30 times more, and Jeep does not even offer that option (hint, hint for the 2017 refresh!
)! I am still getting used to the additional projection screen but that is the price to pay unfortunately for an affordable aftermarket HUD*
If you are not distracted by the windshield image, if you can see the benefits of having that car info, in front of you, and if you can overlook the addition of the projection screen, get it! It is well worth it and will make your highway drives easier.