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Lexus RC Coupe's Base Headlights Score Higher Than More Expensive Optional Lights

In an unusual turn of event, testing reveals that the optional headlights in the Lexus RC Coupe are not as good as the base units.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has concluded its testing of the Lexus RC sports coupe and the model has earned the highest possible score – but just in its base trims. IIHS includes headlight testing in its sate of the art indoor test facility and found that the optional headlights don’t earn a high enough score to qualify the RC for the top ranking. This is not entirely unprecedented.
- See our prior report: "Expensive Optional LED Headlights Not All They're Cracked Up To Be"

The new Volkswagen Tiguan’s base headlights also have earned higher ratings than the optional units in IIHS tests. Unlike some groups that report on vehicle safety, IIHS developed a scientific way to accurate and repeatable measure the effectiveness of headlights. The group even used volunteers from outside of its organization to help calibrate the system.

In its testing, IIHS found that the optional “Triple Beam” headlights were not as effective at lighting the road ahead as the base LED lights which now feature auto high beams. Commenting on the findings, IIHS said in its summary, “The optional Premium Triple Beam LED Headlamps also get a boost from high-beam assist, but only from poor to marginal. The more expensive headlights provide much less visibility than the standard ones, likely due to an aim problem. Vehicles that come out of the factory with misaimed headlights are a frequent problem, resulting sometimes in poor visibility and sometimes in excessive glare.”

IIHS does not alter the vehicles it purchases from dealerships to test. The vehicles are kept in “as delivered” form so as not to introduce any changes that could alter the safety results. IIHS is an independent testing agency that is funded by private companies, not taxpayers, and automakers do not donate the cars that IIHS crashes. Each full round of testing involves as many as four cars to be destroyed.

The good news for Lexus RC shoppers is that the base model is just as safe, or safer than the top trims. That is because Lexus includes active safety on every trim and has recently upgraded the RC’s crash structure enough to earn the industry’s top score.

Here is the full lighting report from IIHS for the 2018 RC.