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New Jaguar XJ illegal in the USA

Sat, 08 Aug 2009 00:00:00 -0700

Jaguar's innovative dual-view screen will be illegal in the US

It would be horrifying for Jaguar to discover that they’d built a glorious car like the new Jaguar XJ, only to find they’d dropped a huge clanger by making it an illegal road car in the US. It’s not that bad, but Ian Callum – Jaguar’s design guru – has confessed that the dual-view screen in the new XJ is actually not legal in the US. Whoops.

The dual-view screen arrangement in the new XJ is very clever. It uses the latest technology to project different images to the front seat passenger and the driver. By doing so it allows the front seat passenger to enjoy a DVD or TV whilst the driver still gets fed the SatNav or whatever info is required.

But the US goes a step further than the UK and Europe, and actually prohibits entertainment systems in the front of a car. In the UK and Europe they are legal, but not when the car is moving (which is why, if you have one fitted, the screen goes blank in the front – although the sound continues – if you’re watching a DVD or TV before you move off).

So will this be enough to make the system a non-starter in the US, or will US regulators accept the technology advance as sufficient reason to amend the rules? It seems likely they will change the rules, but you never know. But it won’t just be Jaguar affected if they don’t. Mercedes announced a split screen system for the S Class a few months ago, and you can bet your boots others will soon.

It would be a nonsense for US regulators to maintain the illegality of such a sensible system. I suppose it depends on whether the regulators in the US have the same jobsworth, ‘elf ‘n’ safety attitude as the mob here. Let’s hope not.

By Cars UK