Look out Bambi!
A study completed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has concluded that headlights in many current luxury and non-luxury mid-size SUVs aren’t as good as they ought to be. The IIHS just released its findings which conclude that only two out of 37 mid-size SUVs tested received a Good rating for headlight strength. Just 12 were rated Acceptable and the remaining 23 were determined to be Marginal or Poor. Really? Headlights? Haven’t automakers long figured out how to make them powerful enough? Apparently not.
The two SUVs with the Good ratings are the Hyundai Santa Fe and Volvo XC60, both 2017 models. At the very bottom of the list were the Poor rated SUVs, including the Ford Edge, Toyota 4Runner, Jeep Wrangler, Kia Sorento, and Dodge Journey, among others. Acceptable was given to the likes of the Acura MDX, BMW X5, Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and the Buick Envision. The Nissan Murano, BMW X3, Cadillac XT5 and Lincoln MKT received Marginal. IIHS test engineers specifically examined how the vehicles’ headlights cast their light on both straight roads and around curves. Another test factor was whether or not low-beams produced glare for other drivers.
The Volvo XC60, for example, offers curve-adaptive, high-intensity-discharge headlights, a feature that put the SUV at the top of the list, but buyers will need to pay extra for them. As for poor performers like the Ford Edge and Kia Sorento, the IISH claims the former’s low-beams didn’t provide adequate visibility and produced too much glare, while the Sorento’s curve-adaptive HID low-beams didn’t project light far enough on straightaways or curvy roads. For example, the Sorento’s low-beams illuminate 148 feet while the Volvo XC60’s illuminate an impressive 315 feet. The reason why many SUVs received a Poor rating was due to one factor: too much glare.
“Managing glare can be more challenging for taller vehicles like SUVs and pickups because their headlights are mounted higher than on cars,” stated one IIHS engineer. However, “mid-size SUV headlights perform slightly better than the other SUVs and pickups we evaluated last year, so that’s encouraging.”