2017 Subaru Forester
Denis Flierl's picture

Don’t Buy a Subaru Forester if You Drive at Night [Video]

Are you buying a small SUV? Only a few offer good visibility at night. The 2016 Subaru Forester is rated one of the worst.
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The 2016 Subaru Forester is a go-anywhere vehicle, just not the best if you drive at night. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) tested headlights on 21 small SUVs, and not one earned the top rating of Good for headlight performance at night. Only four SUVs rated Acceptable and five Marginal. The Forester wasn’t even Marginal, the small SUV scored in the Poor category.

You would think that an automaker, who touts safety as being one of their core values, would put a good set of headlights on the top-selling vehicle in their lineup. Subaru offers their new High Beam Assist High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlights on the new Outback wagon which scored in the acceptable range. So Subaru does offer better headlamps than the Forester gets.

Subaru also introduced the new improved illumination HID headlights on the Subaru WRX and WRX STI in their South African models. They do make a difference in safety at night. IIHS says the Outback’s lamps and WRX/STI lamps provide improved illumination at night over the Multi-reflector halogen lamps currently on the Forester. The 2016 Subaru Forester gets the Poorly-rated headlights as standard on all trim levels.

Subaru offers better lighting features on other models

Subaru is also offering High Beam Assist (HBA) on some of their models. 2016 WRX/STI models in SA get the HBA feature. HBA can automatically toggle between high and low beams depending on road conditions such as speed and oncoming traffic, enhancing visibility for you, and other drivers as well. LED Steering Responsive Headlights are available on the 2.5i Forester Limited models that move as the vehicle turns and illuminates a corner at night.

Go to Page 2: How did IIHS rate the other SUVs?

How was the study conducted? IIHS says they tested headlights at night on a test track. The lights were tested on straightaways as well as on left-hand and right-hand curves. Researchers tested how far the SUVs lights traveled, as well as whether oncoming vehicles experienced excessive glare.

How did IIHS rate the other SUVs?

The Ford Escape, Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-3 all scored in the Acceptable range. BMW X1, Mazda CX-5, Mitsubishi Outlander, Toyota RAV4 and VW Tiguan all scored Marginal. The Audi Q3, Buick Encore, Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Honda HR-V, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Renegade, Jeep Wrangler, Kia Sportage, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Nissan Rogue and Subaru Forester all scored in the Poor category.

Watch Headlights for most small SUVs are poor - IIHS News video

Source: IIHS

Image source: Subaru


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Comments

I would hate to see folks buy a poorer rated "driving" SUV - especially in snow - just to get better headlights. I think IIHS is going a little too far now.
I think this is a bit much. I have a 2017 Subaru Forester Premium model 2.5i with the CVT. I don't notice any issues driving at night. This makes it look like its dangerous to buy/drive a Forester - just a bit too much hype.
This is rubbish. You make it sound like it is dangerous. I am currently driving my 6th Subaru. Still the best SUV on the planet in every category. Crash tests, visibility, and handling in snow. This headlight thing is a non-issue.
On my 2015 Subaru Legacy the Halogen Projector lights with Phillips Ultra vision +100% Bulbs is very good. I prefer it to my Mercedes 2008 C300 Factory HID Low Beams for night driving. These do not reach as far as the Subaru. However the Mercedes Bi-Xenons are unbeatable on the High beams. It is rarely that you get a chance to use the high beams as I do most of my night driving on the low beams.
This is totally overstated! I have a 2015 Forester and compared to my last suv the lights are one of the best features of the Forester. We love everything about our Forester. The headlights on dim or bright are more than adequate !