Some Subaru models come with the best-LED projector headlights like the new 2020 Outback, Forester, Crosstrek Hybrid, and Legacy. They have helped these models get the highest Top Safety Pick+ score from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) who just added extra headlight requirements for vehicles to earn the top rating.
According to the IIHS, only 23 vehicles received the Top Safety Pick+ award, down seven from 2019. IIHS President David Harkey told Automotive News that the decrease came from more-stringent criteria for headlights. IIHS now requires vehicles have "good" or "acceptable" headlights as standard equipment to qualify for the 2020 Top Safety Pick+ award. Subaru has four models that do, but why not all models in the all-wheel-drive lineup?
2020 Subaru Outback features the new LED projector headlights
Why doesn’t Subaru offer the best headlights on all models?
Of those 23 vehicles, only six offer top-rated headlights as standard equipment, the IIHS said: The Genesis G70, the Honda Insight, the Hyundai Nexo, the Lexus NX, the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid and the Tesla Model 3. The gas-powered 2020 Subaru Crosstrek Limited model is the only trim in the standard model that gets the best headlights.
Mazda recently added the "good" or "acceptable" headlights across its entire fleet and picked up the most top pick+ awards (five). Because all its vehicles score highest in crashworthiness, and crash avoidance, if Subaru offered the LED projector headlights as standard equipment on the 2020 Ascent, Crosstrek, Impreza, and WRX, they would have scored 8 top safety pick+ winners, more than any automaker in America.
2020 Subaru Forester also earns the top IIHS score for its headlights
Harkey says “People don’t use their high beams as often as they should, about half of all traffic fatalities occur between dusk and dawn.” Safer headlights provide “the best balance of visibility and lack of excessive glare for oncoming vehicles,” the IIHS said in a news release.
Should I buy an LED headlight kit and add them to my car?
Subaru owners unhappy with headlight performance can buy LED modification kits online, but safety experts advise against it. The aftermarket lamps are not made for your specific vehicle and its headlight housing could cast light so bright it blinds oncoming traffic. “There’s no reason consumers should have to resort to aftermarket products for headlights,” Harkey said.
Subaru Corporation now includes the top-rated LED projector headlights on the 2020 Outback, Forester, Legacy, and Crosstrek Hybrid models. The Japanese automaker should offer them for the rest of its models and it will become the new normal. It does add additional cost, but car shoppers would pay for the headlights if it means they are getting a safer vehicle.
Reader survey: If all other things are equal. would you choose a vehicle for its headlights if it provides the best visibility?
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on our Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates at Torque News!
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Photo credit: Subaru USA