The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has released its first ever headlight safety ratings.
The institute has begun issuing ratings for headlights and in the first batch of vehicles it tested, only one earned a “Good” rating.
To start, IIHS tested a total of 31 midsize cars with the Toyota Prius v being the sole recipient of the highest rating possible. Vehicles that received an “Acceptable” rating include the Audi A3, Honda Accord sedan, Infiniti Q50, Lexus ES, Lexus IS, Mazda6, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Outback (built after November 2015), Volkswagen CC, Volkswagen Jetta and Volvo S60.
A total of nine models received a “Marginal” rating: Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 2 Series, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Subaru Legacy and Toyota Camry.
Performing the worst out of the initial 31 vehicles tested were the Buick Verano, Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu Limited, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Nissan Altima and Volkswagen Passat.
To evaluate the headlights, the vehicles were taken onto a test track from multiple approach angles, including a sharp left curve, sharp right curve, gradual left curve, gradual right curve and straight-on. The institute measured glare in its evaluation and issued separate scores for low beams and high beams. Low beam scores were weighted more heavily since drivers use them more often than high beams. Vehicles can also score extra points on the headlight safety ratings if they offer high-beam assist technology, which automatically switches between high beams and low beams depending on the environment.
It’s worth noting that the ratings were based on optional equipment for some vehicles. The Toyota Prius v for example, only earned a Good rating when equipped with LED lights and high-beam assist. The same model actually gets a Poor rating when equipped with regular halogen lights and no high-beam assist.
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