If you've driven a newer Jaguar or Land Rover, you may have noticed a strange pattern of lines in the windshield and wondered, "Why is my windshield pinstriped?" To some, it may seem obvious that it's the heating element of the heated windshield — and they would be right — but if you weren't so sure, you shouldn't feel silly. Heated front windshields, while not exotic, are not exactly a common feature on cars.
Nonluxury cars from the likes of Subaru and Toyota offer versions of a heated windshield, though those serve mostly to prevent the windshield wipers from freezing stiff so they can clear snow and frost melted by the defroster.
Moreover, the heating elements in the F-Pace's windshield don't look like those you might be familiar with — the plainly visible black, horizontal lines embedded in the glass of the rear windshield, spanning the entire width and common in cars at all price points. Luxury brands such as Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Land Rover also offer heated front windshields, for which purpose black lines such as those in the rear glass would likely be too obstructive for most drivers.
We recently took note of Jaguar's heated windshield while driving the 2017 F-Pace SUV. If you haven't seen one, it appears as a series of translucent lines that result in a vague pinstripe effect that you might not even notice ... at first. It's kind of like when they came out with the "clear" braces for adolescents who couldn't bear to be called "metal mouth" (I don't mean me).
Maria Rodriguez, Jaguar Land Rover product communications coordinator, explained that what you're seeing are the heating-element wires applied between the two laminates of the windshield glass.
"These wires help assist with the demist and defrost of the windscreen," Rodriguez told Cars.com. "These wires are connected to a bus bar, which in turn are connected to electrical connections to power up the windscreen."
The front windshield is the only place on the vehicle this particular mechanism exists. The rear windshield also contains a heating element for the defogging function, Rodriguez said, but uses a different technology, as the material is a toughened glass that is not laminated like the front glass.
Introduced with the original Range Rover SUV as part of its promise as a "go-anywhere luxury vehicle," the heated front windshield is now available as an option on all Jaguar and Land Rover models.
The automaker uses a large number of thin-gauge wires in the front windshield heating element to minimize the mechanism's visibility to the driver while still doing its job: melting the frost and ice off your windshield. Still, it does look slightly weird once you notice it, and while I personally didn't find it obstructive in any meaningful way, we have heard and read comments from people who aren't wild about it — which Jaguar Land Rover understands.
"This is different for every driver," Rodriguez said. "We've heard some say that they didn't even notice it, while others immediately take note. That said, we do believe that most become used to it and don't notice it after some time with the vehicle."
What do you think? Is this the kind of thing you could live with, or would you rather go without a heated windshield? Sound off on our Facebook page.