The most powerful headlights on modern production cars
You are confidently making your way through a myriad of vehicles when you see it is getting dark. You switch on your headlamps and continue to firepower your ride, but you realise they don’t have enough potential to make you feel like Lightning McQueen at night! Feels terrible, doesn't it? Headlights make it possible to see unexpected obstacles, road markings, and signs. These are crucial parts of a car from a safety standpoint, even though they are frequently overlooked in safety tests. Through research and evaluation, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a nonprofit organisation in the United States that promotes science and education, aims to reduce the number of fatalities, injuries, and property losses associated with car accidents. This organisation provides headlight rankings to classes of cars based on the distance at which headlights provide at least 5 lux illumination on straight roads as well as curves.
On the occasion of the International Day of Light today, we bring you cars from different classes that the IIHS has ranked in 2023 as the best in terms of headlights.
Small car: Mazda 3
The Mazda 3 is available in hatchback as well as sedan versions. With turbo and non-turbo engine options, the Mazda 3 competes with the likes of the Honda Civic, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Jetta, Subaru Impreza, and Hyundai Elantra.
Its headlights, though, give the Mazda 3 a pivotal position, as per the data obtained from the IIHS. Talking about low beams, the headlights provide good visibility on either side of a straightaway road. On curves, visibility was good on both right curves, fair on the sharp left curve, and inadequate on the gradual left curve.
In terms of high beams, visibility is excellent on both sides of the road on the straightaways. On curves, visibility was good on both right curves and fair on both left curves. On the straightaway and both left curves, the high-beam assist makes up for some of the low-beam limitations of this vehicle.
Mid-size car: Honda Accord
Competing with the likes of the Hyundai Sonata, Subaru Legacy, and Toyota Camry globally, the Honda Accord comes with the choice between a 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol mill and a 2-litre hybrid powertrain option.
Talking about the high beam, as per tests carried out by IIHS engineers, the Honda Accord provides good illumination on the straights, on both sides. On curves, visibility was good on the gradual and sharp right curves. It was a similar case for the left curves.
The low beams also perform decently on the straights as well as the curves. On the straightaway, both sides of the street were clearly visible. Visibility was excellent on the right curves and poor on both left curves.
Midsize luxury car: Mercedes Benz C-Class
Competing with the likes of the Audi A4, BMW 3-series, and Lexus ES 350, the Mercedes-Benz C-Class comes with four diesel and four petrol options. With an LED projector setup and a high-beam assist, the C-Class boasts a good headlight package.
The low beam on the straightaways provided good visibility on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was excellent on the sharp left and both right curves but poor on the gradual left curve.
The high beam provided good illumination on both sides of the straightaway. On curves, visibility was good on both the left and right sides. The high-beam assist did a good job of compensating for some limitations of this vehicle's low beams on the straightaway and on both left curves.
Small SUV: Subaru Solterra
Competing against the likes of the Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX, and Honda CR-V, the Subaru Solterra is an AWD EV. This car too comes with a high-beam assist and LED projector lights in the front.
The low beams did well on the straights and the curves as well. Both the left and right sides of the roads were visible in the tests carried out by the IIHS.
The high beams on the straightaway provided good visibility on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was better on the right curves when compared to the left ones.
Midsize SUV: Hyundai Palisade
The Hyundai Palisade is a midsize SUV that locks horns with the Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Kia Telluride. There is an LED projector setup with a high-beam assist function in the car.
In all of the tests that the IIHS engineers conducted, visibility on both sides of the road was good on the straightaway and in the curves. The high beams, too, told the same story. High beam assists provide assistance in areas where the low beams fall short.
Midsize luxury SUV: Acura RDX
The Acura RDX competes with cars like the BMW X3, Audi Q5, and Lexus NX. LED projector-type headlamps with high-beam assists are a standard feature here.
The low beams lacked adequate illumination on the left-hand turns. However, they did a decent job of illuminating the rights and the straights.
The high beams, with the assist features, did a good job of illuminating the straights and curves.