What cars have heated windscreens?

What cars have heated windscreens?

Driving in the winter can be infuriating. While some may look out their window and see pretty, frosted rooftops and trees — others are anticipating their tires skidding over slippery ice, traffic pile-ups, and road closures. Cold weather can add an extra layer of stress to an already busy morning routine. Particularly if you’re running late and dash outside to find your car windscreen frozen over.

So, how can heated windscreen technology help? Well, rather than faffing about with anti-freeze sprays and scraping tools, drivers with a heated front windscreen can sit back with a thermos of tea while the view ahead clears. If you can afford it it’s a no-brainer. But which cars have heated windscreens and what else do you need to know? Let’s get into it.


Which manufacturers make cars with a heated windscreen?

The first heated front windscreen was designed by Ford and was called “Quickclear”. It’s been on the European market since the 80s and because Ford’s patent for it expired some years back, many manufacturers can now offer similar technology.

Here’s a handy list of those that do:

  • Ford Motor Company
  • Land/Range Rover
  • Skoda
  • Mini
  • Nissan
  • SEAT
  • Jaguar
  • Volkswagen
  • Vauxhall
  • Aston Martin

It’s useful to note that there’s a difference between cars with a heated front windscreen and those with heated rearview windows or “defoggers”. Heated rearview windows were invented in the 70s and consist of a series of parallel wires in or on the glass. They’re more standard in cars and you’ll find variations across all manufacturers these days.

If you’re wondering what cars have a heated front windscreen specifically, it’s those on the list above. These manufacturers will usually offer a heated windscreen in their higher-tier models or as an add-on. If this is something you’ve really got your heart set on, it’s best to visit a dealership and let them know asap. The last thing you want is to pick out your dream car, only to realise you can’t afford the heated windscreen.

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Why don’t all cars have heated front windscreens and rear windows?

Short answer: it’s about cost. Traditionally, cars used an air defroster which uses waste heat from the engine to clear the front windscreen in cold weather. This is cheaper than the electric elements needed for a heated windscreen, but it can take a good while for the car to heat up enough for any frost to melt. If you’ve ever sat in your car shivering in your coat waiting for the engine to warm up, you’ll know what we mean.

Because rear windows don’t benefit from the same airflow as front windscreens, manufacturers have to make a choice about how to heat those up separately. It’s actually more expensive to install extra air ducting than it is to add electric elements to the rear window — so that’s why heated rear windows are more common. It’s just the cheaper option.

Nowadays you’ll find lots of cars with both heated front windscreens and rearview windows, but understandably, they are a bit more expensive. It depends on how deep your pockets go, but if you hate cold mornings and car trouble, it might be worth the added investment.


How to tell which cars have heated front windscreens

You’d be surprised how many drivers aren’t fully aware of all the functionalities of their car. This is super common with first-time drivers — so many buttons to learn and lengthy instruction manuals to go through. We don’t blame you if you’re still scratching your head over whether your car has a heated windscreen or not.

Here’s an easy way to find out:

  • First, find your windshield wipers at the bottom of your windshield. You should see small wires running behind them through the glass, these wires are super fine, similar to hair, and tend to zig-zag across in lines.
  • You can also check for a heated windscreen button on the front console (in the middle between the driver and passenger’s seat). It’s likely to be close to the rear window defrost button and both will picture some wiggly heat lines going up.

Heated windscreen repair

The most common repair jobs for windscreens are cracks and chips — the kind of small-scale damage that usually comes from rocks and pebbles thrown up from the road while driving. The good news is, it’s rare for a crack or chip to go deep enough into the glass to damage a heating element. For this reason, heated windscreens are pretty hardy when it comes to wear and tear.

What’s more likely to happen is a failed heating element in your windscreen. This can happen for a whole host of reasons, and unfortunately, sometimes it just happens. If that’s the case, your whole windscreen might need to be replaced which can be an expensive job. That’s why it’s important to have a good insurance policy in place to help with the costs.

Another option is to check out aftermarket heated windscreens online. These can be fitted more cheaply than something brand new — though the cost often isn’t that far off. Unless you’re an electrician, you definitely shouldn’t be attempting to install a new heated windscreen yourself. Handy as you might be, step away from the electric cables — you can thank us later.


What are the pros and cons of buying a car with a heated windscreen?

Given that heated windscreens can be more expensive, and they’re not exactly essential, many still choose to go without. If you’re weighing up your options, here are some arguments for and against.

Positives:

  • Less money spent on de-icer sprays which can add up over time
  • Heated windscreens melt ice fast — 5 mins and you’re on the road
  • Better visibility in extreme weather conditions like rain, snow, or fog
  • Warm glass is less likely to crack in freezing temperatures

Negatives:

  • They add to the total cost of the car
  • Repairs and replacements can be expensive
  • Some models will have slightly distorted vision through the glass

A few final tips…

At the end of the day, are heated windscreens worth the extra money? If you find yourself at your wits end on winter mornings, tempted to take an ice pick to your front window, then they probably are. They’re not essential— but can certainly make life easier.