IIHS Headlight Ratings: Tests Show More Expensive Tech Doesn’t Equal Better

GREAT BRITAIN - JANUARY 06: Traffic on M1 Motorway near Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)
GREAT BRITAIN - JANUARY 06: Traffic on M1 Motorway near Hertfordshire, United Kingdom. (Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images) /

IIHS has published its first ever IIHS headlight ratings for new cars with some surprising results. 

When it comes to car performance, statistics such as 0-60 times and track records make quick work of what cars are faster and handle better. But when it comes to headlight effectiveness, most consumers are left in the dark (pun intended.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 30 cars and their respective headlights were tested for their overall effectiveness and the results were surprising to say the least. Check out the video of their findings below and let us know what you now think about headlight technology in the comments below.

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Headlights are tested on a dark track at the IIHS Vehicle research center on five different approaches: Traveling straight, a sharp left and right curve and a gradual left and right curve. Visibility and glare measurements are taken from a pre-determined distance. These measurements are compared to a hypothetical ideal headlight system as a standard.

According to the results, this is what the rating turned out to be on a scale of 1-100.

Good: Toyota Prius v

Acceptable: Audi A3, Honda Accord 4-door, Infiniti Q50, Lexus ES, Lexus IS, Mazda6, Nissan Maxima, Subaru Outback (built after Nov. 2015), Volkswagen CC, Volkswagen Jetta, Volvo S60

Marginal: Acura TLX, Audi A4, BMW 2 Series, BMW 3 Series, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Lincoln MKZ, Subaru Legacy, Toyota Camry

Poor: Buick Verano, Cadillac ATS, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Malibu Limited(fleet model), Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mercedes-Benz CLA, Nissan Altima, Volkswagen Passat

Advances in headlight technology have introduced such technologies like high-intensity discharge lights or LED lamps to replace the tried and true halogens. Some headlight systems even curve their light to better see the road in front of you.

But if these results are to be believed, more expensive doesn’t make for a better visibility and glare experience. For example, most of the higher technology systems found in luxury cars like the Mercedes-Benz CLA and Cadillac ATS rank poorly.

However if you look at Honda Accord’s halogen headlight system with basic bulbs, the Accord ranks better. The Toyota Prius V ranked the best out of all 2016 midsized cars.

More cars: 2016 Honda Civic Trumps Toyota Corolla In Small Frontal Overlap Crash

Our hats have to come off in regards to the IIHS for finally bringing a test to give to consumers so we can wade through the muck of advertising out there. You’d think that BMW’s superior lighting technology would be bounds better than a simple Honda Accord, but we’d be remiss to now think that. Hopefully, lighting technology will now improve to match the claims manufacturers have made.