Most small SUV headlights get poor rating in safety test

Most small SUV headlights get poor rating in safety test

Not a single small SUV out of 21 tested earns a good rating in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)ês headlight evaluations, and only four had an acceptable rating. Of the 47 possible headlight combinations, more than two-thirds were rated poor.

The problem, said IIHS: Government standards are based on lab tests, which donêt accurately gauge performance in real-world driving. Thatês important because about half of traffic deaths occur either in the dark or around dawn or dusk.

The evaluations showed that the quality of the headlights is not connected to the vehicleês price. Nor are modern lighting types, including high-intensity discharge (HID) and LED lamps, and curve-adaptive systems, which swivel in the direction of steering, a guarantee of good performance.

The only type of technology that improves a vehicleês rating is high-beam assist, which automatically switches between high and low beams based on the presence of other vehicles. The feature is helpful because it could increase the low rates of high-beam use.

The best-performing headlights in the small SUV group are on a new model, the Mazda CX-3, available on its Grand Touring trim. The other vehicles with acceptable headlights are the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V and Hyundai Tucson. The worst headlights are on the Honda HR-V.

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