► Land Rover ClearSight tech tested
► 'X-ray' vision sees through bodywork
► Lets drivers see terrain underfoot
For serious off-road drivers, it’s all part of the ‘fun’. When the going gets tough and/or tight, you stay in the car and send forth your plucky mate/spouse/underling to see you through, whether it’s threading the car between tree trunks, guiding you at a snail’s pace through a boulder field or seeing you into the multi-storey car park without kerbing a wheel.
But such shenanigans aren’t so appealing for the rest of us, hence Land Rover’s ClearSight Ground View system, which debuted a couple of years ago in the Mk2 Evoque. Similar systems are also available elsewhere – we’ve been off-road in the revised Bentayga, which helps in much the same way when you’re nosing your £150k SUV into blind oblivion.
The Land Rover system simply takes camera feeds from the two door mirrors and another in the front grille and, with a bit of clever editing, stitches them together to show a virtual image of the terrain in front of the car on the main infotainment screen. Index lines then denote the corners of the car, for your reference, and the front wheels are ghosted in to help you place them (as per the screenshot, right). You can also add individual views of the outer faces of each front wheel, which is extremely handy in tight off-road going – and the aforementioned multi-storey.
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That was the Evoque system. ClearSight Ground View is also available on the new Defender, and brings more functionality. Activate the system by hitting the parking camera on the infotainment screen. ‘On Road’ gives a bird’s-eye view and a view ahead from a low vantage point; ‘Off-Road’ gives a viewpoint with two ghosted-in front wheels and a graphic displaying nerdy stuff like the position of each wheel within its suspension stroke and whether your two differentials are running open or locked up; ‘Towing’ lets you keep an eye on that errant trailer of yours.
The ClearSight Rear View Mirror (a £525 option on the most basic of Defenders) uses the same idea – cameras to remove physical obstructions to handy lines of sight – to ensure your rear-view mirror is never full of something useless, like a boot loaded to the roof with stuff or the bored facial features of a passenger in the middle of the second row.
Buttons on the underside of the mirror let you switch between the actual mirror and the ClearSight camera feed which, being digital, takes a moment to adjust to when you glance at it, but works well in delivering a clear view of the world behind you and your Land Rover.
Does it work?
Yes. Both systems work well, with Ground View proving particularly useful off-road, not least when climbing steep slopes that leave the windscreen full of nothing but sky.
Land Rover ClearSight: how it works
1) Choose a Land Rover
We’ve gone for a Defender 90. ClearSight Ground View is standard; Rear View Mirror is bundled with SE and HSE cars
2) The world is revealed
Click the button on the underside of the mirror to activate the ClearSight system – and the Ikea box vanishes
3) Your invisible bonnet
Hit your parking camera button and choose Ground View mode to steer between those boulders
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