Eyes on the road: The head-up display, as experienced in the 2015 Kia K900

2014 kia k900 laurence fishburne closeup
Credit: Image: Kia

The 2015 Kia K900 luxury sedan feels like a massive hot-tub with wheels, and I mean that in the best possible way. I was relaxed. I was comfortable. And on a winding road closer than anyone should ever get to cowpies and large farm implements, I zigged and zagged with alarming precision.

Some of the credit goes to the car’s HUD (head-up display), which hovers just above the steering wheel and keeps my eyes from drifting down to the instrument cluster.

2014 kia k900 hud steering wheel controls Image: John Brandon

Buttons on the steering wheel activate functions that show up on the windshield's head-up display.

I hit the button for the lane departure warning system (it beeps if you get close to a lane marking) and the adaptive cruise control (which controls your speed automatically based on the distance you are from the car in front of you).

Almost magically, icons in the HUD glowed with a heavenly aura—orange bars to show the lane warnings are active, and a tiny car icon for adaptive cruise. If you press another button to change the follow distance from short to long, more bars appear.

2014 kia k900 hud 1 close crop Image: John Brandon

The HUD shows up as small icons projected onto your windshield in your line of sight.

The HUD also shows your current speed and the speed of the cruise control. If you use the navigation system, you’ll also see tiny arrows indicating that you should turn soon.

How tiny are they? The HUD is clear enough to see during the day, but don’t expect a gleaming, eye-catching holographic laser beam like you are driving a Star Wars TIE fighter. Not quite. The HUD is easier to see in the daytime than, say, the HUD on an older Chevy Corvette.

2014 kia k900 Image: Kia

The Kia K900's head-up display helps it keep up with the luxury competition, but it doesn't stand out from this ultra-refined crowed.

HUDs aren't new, however, nor are some of the K900's other tech advancements. Many new Acura, Audi, Infiniti and Mercedes-Benz sedans, for instance, keep you in the lane and don’t just warn you.

The K900 has a reasonable (compared to most luxe sedans) base price of $59,500. The VIP package that provides the tech features, like adaptive cruise control, adds $6,000 to the price. Definitely not cheap, but still several thousand less than Lexus LS 460 (at $72,140). A Kia does not scream “I’ve arrived,” but it does whisper that you saved at least a few thousand over other, more expensive luxury cars.

This story, "Eyes on the road: The head-up display, as experienced in the 2015 Kia K900" was originally published by TechHive.

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