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IIHS Says New Subaru Forester Tech Reduces Crashes But Not In The Dark

How safe is the 2022 Subaru Forester? The IIHS says the compact SUV is good when the sun shines, but it needs better headlights.


The 2022 Subaru Forester is the safest new model the Japanese automaker has ever produced, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) says it needs help at night. A new report from the IIHS reveals that Forester’s automatic emergency braking (AEB) system is good at detecting pedestrians and preventing pedestrian crashes, but only in the daytime or on well-lit roads.

The IIHS just tested eight vehicles in the first real-world study of a vehicle’s AEB system and how effective they are in detecting pedestrians. The study revealed AEB equipped vehicles, injury crash rates were 30 percent lower. However, when the researchers looked only at pedestrian crashes that occurred at night on roads without streetlights, there was no difference in crash risk for vehicles with and without pedestrian AEB.

2022 Subaru Forester features and upgrades, headlights
photo credit: Adventure Subaru

The IIHS’s test vehicles were the 2019 Subaru Forester, 2019 Volvo XC40, 2020 Honda CR-V, 2020 Hyundai Venue, 2021 Chevrolet Trailblazer, 2021 Ford Bronco Sport, 2021 Toyota C-HR, and 2022 Volkswagen Taos.

“The daylight test has helped drive the adoption of this technology,” says David Aylor, manager of active safety testing at IIHS. “But the goal of our ratings is always to address as many real-world injuries and fatalities as possible, and that means we need to test these systems at night.”

2022 Subaru Forester features and upgrades, headlights
photo credit: Adventure Subaru

The eight small SUVs were put through the standard vehicle-to-pedestrian evaluation in full darkness on the covered track at the IIHS Vehicle Research Center. Each vehicle was tested twice, first with their high-beam headlights on and then their low beams.

The IIHS says, the best performers in the nighttime tests were the Honda C-HR and Bronco Sport, both using a combination of camera and radar. The Forester and Trailblazer, the only vehicles with camera-only systems and no radar, achieved similar nighttime results to three other vehicles with camera-and-radar systems, the CR-V, XC40, and Venue.

The Subaru Forester achieved an 86 percent speed reduction in pedestrian AEB tests in daylight. Forester had a 68 percent reduction in speed at night with high beams and a 44 percent reduction at night with low beams.

What headlights does the 2022 Subaru Forester have?

All 2022 Subaru Forester trim levels come with LED projector headlights. Forester’s headlights received a “Good” rating from the IIHS. With low and high beams, the IIHS says “On the straightaway, visibility was good on both sides of the road. On curves, visibility was good on the gradual left and both right curves and fair on the sharp left curve.” But the low beams created some glare for oncoming drivers.


The research tests did not show a clear association between “Good” headlights and stellar nighttime scores. On average, IIHS says vehicles with good and acceptable headlights showed similar declines in performance in the dark, compared with their daytime results.

The IIHS is developing a new nighttime test, with plans to publish the first official nighttime pedestrian crash prevention ratings later this year. For the 2022 Forester and other new Subaru models to get the highest IIHS Top Safety Pick+ scores in the future, they will need better headlights.

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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. Check out 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: main image Adventure Subaru