Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Southwest, Florida USA
I'm pleased to see so much discussion and debate about the topic... my prime hope is that this attention will help future buyers make a well-informed decision about the heated windshield. There *is* distortion, and the question is simply whether it is enough to bother you? While there is some OCD-like annoyance in being able to see the embedded wires in daylight, most can tolerate them during the day. It is the oncoming light diffraction, at night when visibility is more difficult to begin with, that poses the biggest impact to clear vision.
Many people feel the advantage/benefit (melting ice off their windshield more easily) outweighs any distortion. I'm in Florida, so the feature had no corresponding benefit to offset the disadvantage (it simply came as part of a fully-loaded First Edition). I just didn't catch it until 2 1/2 weeks into ownership on a night drive. However, my biggest concern is that owners make an "under-informed" decision by failing to TEST DRIVE AT NIGHT when the distortion is most apparent (and frankly, who does this??). Even then, they would have to face significant oncoming traffic and bright lights to catch it at its worst... you won't really notice it driving around in a dark parking lot or empty street. Add in some rain for maximum distortion.
Even more frustrating was that it was not just a costly change, it became an irreversible option: JLR flip flopped on whether they could just replace the windshield, and after ordering one for me and vacillating for 3 months on whether to allow the dealer to install it, they ultimately decided it was "too risky" in that the electronics may not properly handle the windshield substitution. So it required trading in the car.