What is a head-up display (HUD)?

  • How does a head-up display work?
  • Do I need it in my car?
  • Parkers explains the tech

Designed to reduce the driver’s need to take their eyes off the road, a head-up display (HUD) is a driver aid which works by projecting vehicle information (such as speed and sat-nav instructions) onto the windscreen, just below the driver’s natural line of sight.

How does a head-up display work?

Typically, head-up displays work like a projector, beaming a digital display onto either the car’s windscreen or a dedicated piece of glass or plastic that pops out on top of the dashboard. Information that can be displayed is often customisable, but usually includes sat-nav instructions, current speed and speed limit alert.

Do I need it?

It’s not essential as the same information can always be displayed on either the dials or central multimedia screen. It’s almost always an optional extra, so decide whether you really need it before spending the extra cash.

Found on

Originally only available on more premium cars such as the Audi A6 and BMW 3 Series, head-up display technology can now be found on a wide range of cars including superminis such as the Mazda 2.

Looking for more jargon-busting motoring meanings? Head over to our Parkers Car Glossary page and take a look at our other definitions