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2021 Subaru Ascent Earns Highest IIHS Award For Improved Headlights

The 2021 Subaru Ascent 3-Row family hauler earns the highest safety award. See how headlights make all the difference.

Subaru and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) announced the 2021 Ascent 3-Row family hauler earns the highest Top Safety Pick Plus safety award. It’s all because the 2021 3-Row SUV gets new steering responsive LED headlights now standard across all trim levels.

The Ascent family hauler missed the highest score for the 2020 model year because of its headlights. 2020 Ascent base and Premium trim levels have Halogen projector headlights, which received a “Poor” rating from the IIHS, resulting in Ascent earning a Top Safety Pick and not the highest Top Safety Pick Plus award. Those headlights are not curve-adaptive and do not have high-beam assist.

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The 2021 Ascent Base and Premium trim levels now feature steering responsive LED headlights as standard equipment giving all 2021 Ascent trim levels the highest IIHS safety designation.

The IIHS says the 2020 Ascent’s Halogen projector low beams created excessive glare to oncoming drivers. On curves, visibility was fair on the gradual right and gradual left curves and inadequate on the sharp right and sharp left curves.

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What are steering responsive headlights?

All 2021 Ascent trims gain steering responsive LED headlights (low and high beam) for improved visibility when driving at night. The responsive headlights aim the headlight beams in the direction the vehicle is turning and not merely pointing straight ahead.

The steering responsive headlights are helpful on curves so you can see farther around the corner, and react sooner if something unexpected happens. Drivers who are in rural settings can see animals sooner that could be on the side of the road. New 2021 Ascent models also now come with high beam assist for improved visibility at night.

The headlights automatically go from high beam to regular brightness when it senses an oncoming car. The lights automatically go back to the high beam after the vehicle passes.

The headlight upgrades just helped the 2021 Subaru Ascent family hauler earn the highest safety award from the IIHS. Ascent joins the Forester SUV, Outback wagon, Legacy sedan, and Crosstrek Hybrid as Top Safety Pick Plus winners.

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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press and the founder of Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Photo credit: Subaru