Most Headlights Rate Poorly in First IIHS Evaluation

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Most Headlights Rate Poorly in First IIHS Evaluation

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.

SEE ALSO: Front Crash Prevention Tech Cuts Rear-End Collisions by 40 Percent: IIHS

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.

Discuss this story on our Toyota Prius Forum

  • craigcole

    Oh great, yet ANOTHER safety evaluation automakers have to contend with. Thanks, IIHS.

  • ileeneb

    In 2011 we purchased a Mazda CX7 Grand Touring with a special headlight package the headlights clouded up and provided terrible lighting. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration only took note when notified, but took no action. In 2013 we purchased a Honda CRV and again got headlight package this vehicle provided wore lighting then the Mazda. National Highway Traffix Safety Administration notified and again just registered complaint. The night vision provided from the headlights of both of these vehicles is inadequate. It is my opinion that headlights providing inadequate lighting has been known for a long time and simply not properly addressed.

  • Chris Daigle

    Yes, of course. How DARE an insurance company want drivers to be able to see at night!

  • Appledude

    I have often thought that older four-headlight systems such as on the 66 Chrysler Newport was far superior –

  • HangFire

    300K Corollas sold in NA every year and can’t bother to mention it in this article?

  • GLo65

    Poor for the Mercedes Benz GLK, wow, it must not had the optional lighting system. I find it superb. With the optional Lighting Package, Bi-Xenon headlamps generate light that’s perceived more like natural daylight than halogen lamps. The package also includes Active Curve Illumination and Adaptive Highbeam Assist — two systems that continuously vary the angle and beam pattern of the headlamps, to maximize illumination of corners and straightaways without creating glare for other drivers

  • Zachary

    Interesting on the subaru, they don’t include fog lights, which are angled outward on both the legacy and outback and turn on and off based on steering response

  • billy sharpstick

    If the US would allow headlights to conform to SUPERIOR European standards, we would be able to see better!

  • Tony Clifton

    The fog lights on VW Passat work the same way.