IIHS Puts Spotlight On Headlights

IIHS Puts Spotlight On Headlights

Those lights already in use in Japan and Europe dim the light aimed at oncoming drivers to reduce glare, while keeping the high beams on the road. Of those, only two earned top marks-the agency's "Good" rating-while more than half rated a subpar "Marginal" or "Poor" in the group's testing. Although the XC60 and Santa Fe performed best when fitted with optional HID headlights, the IIHS says that the actual type of light-HID, LED, or halogen-doesn't necessarily make lights more effective.

"As a group, midsize SUV headlights perform slightly better than the other SUVs and pickups we evaluated previous year, and that's encouraging", IIHS Senior Research Engineer Matt Brumbelow.

That's the IIHS conducted their new study to find the best performing headlights for mid-size SUVs. Just 14 models rank in the "good" or "acceptable" range necessary to be chosen an IIHS Top Safety Pick. "Still, we continue to see headlights that compromise safety because they only provide a short view down the road at night". But consumers need to buy an Advanced or Active Dual Xenon package to get those top-rated headlights.

The 2017 Kia Sorento, which received a "poor" rating, had the worst visibility.

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In the test of midsize SUV models, the models rated "poor" were the Infiniti QX60, Lincoln MKC, Lincoln MKX, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Ford Explorer, GMC Terrain, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, Jeep Wrangler, Kia Sorento and Toyota 4Runner.

Here is the glare produced by Hyundai Sante Fe Sport on the left with a poor rating compared to the Hyundai Santa Fe on the right with a good rating.

"Managing glare can be more challenging for taller vehicles like SUVs and pickups because their headlights are mounted higher than on cars", he said. In 17 of those cases, the headlights would be rated poor based on glare alone. "Better aim at the factory can minimize glare". Even then, the IIHS says that only the extra-cost HID headlights available on the XC60 and the Santa Fe qualified for the award.

The Insurance Institute has frequently pushed the envelope beyond what federal safety regulations require, often resulting in improvements by vehicle manufacturers.

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