Why more vehicles have better headlights

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Headlights continue to grow in sophistication. Pictured here is the matrix system from Audi.

A new study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows that 90 of the 165 model year 2018 vehicles have received a "good" or "acceptable" rating for their best available headlights. Of these 32 earned the highest rating & # 39; good & # 39 ;, while 58 as & # 39; acceptable & # 39; were assessed.

However, 75 models earned "marginal" or "bad" ratings, demonstrating that there is still a significant number of vehicles that need better headlamps.

"The most important thing is that we've seen some improvements since we first started testing in 2016, but we still have many & # 39; marginal & # 39; or & # 39; bad & # 39; lights, and even the & # 39; good headlights are much more expensive for the consumer, "David Aylor, manager of active safety tests at IIHS, told Automotive News on Tuesday. "We really think this is a function that consumers do not have to pay a premium for."

Engineers at IIHS measure how far light is projected from the dipped headlights, as well as high jets when the vehicle goes straight and around curves. Another factor is to ensure that low beam do not create excessive glare for oncoming traffic.

According to IIHS, 67 percent of the 424 headlamp variants on 2018 models earned a "marginal" or "bad" rating because they gave insufficient visibility to drivers or dipped headlights, a distracting look for oncoming drivers, sometimes even both.

For example, the Genesis G90 and the Lexus NX are the only 2018 models that come with "good" headlamps, regardless of the trim line or the options package. In the same way, the best available headlamps on the Chevrolet Volt, Genesis G80, Mercedes Benz E class and Toyota Camry were rated "good", with the lowest to achieve an "acceptable" rating, according to IIHS.

In addition, Aylor said that another concern is that many "good" headlamps come only with optional packages or with an improved trim, which can often cost the consumer a significant amount of money. Although the Kia Soul earned a "good" rating for its best available headlights, consumers have to pay somewhere between $ 3000 and $ 6000 for a package on one of the top two trim lines to get them, according to IIHS.

Aylor also said that pickups are a challenge because their headlights are mounted higher, making it difficult for drivers to light up enough on the road without looking at an oncoming car.

According to IIHS, the Honda Ridgeline is the only pick-up with available "good" headlamps. However, consumers still have to pay an additional $ 12,000 to receive them because they have not been delivered with the basic model. Similarly, "bad" headlights are the only ones available on the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado 1500, Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon and Nissan Frontier.

Photo credit: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)

In 2017, IIHS discovered that headlights in mid-sized crossovers or SUVs and pickups were among the worst, giving "good" or "acceptable" ratings to just 14 of the 37 mid-sized crossover or SUV models and 23 let models in the "marginal or" bad "class, according to a previous report.

"In general pick-up trucks are struggling with the test because the mounting height of the headlights is higher," says Aylor. "Some mid-sized SUVs are performing better, but trucks are not doing as well as we would like in the 2018 models."

He said he sees improvements as more vehicles are produced with high-beam assistant, a technology that switches automatically between low and high beam on the basis of the presence of other vehicles. He also said that many car manufacturers have improved how well the headlights are focused, so they light up the road.

"We have seen a number of improvements over the last three years, including last year about 27 vehicle models with" good "classified headlights, but only two of the 95 vehicles we evaluated had" good "headlights available," said Aylor. "So we have seen some improvement, but there is still a very large number of" marginal "or" poor "classified headlights."