Why IIHS Says You Will Now Be Less Safe In The New Subaru Outback
Torque News reported in November, the new 2020 Subaru Outback’s top safety streak ended because of glare in the new wagon’s headlights. The new 2020 Legacy sedan which is built on the same platform as Outback, did get the highest Top Safety Pick + award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Outback had earned the Top Safety Pick+ award for the last six years (2013-2019) but has been downgraded for the new 2020 model redesign.
Thanks to a detailed report from Gear Patrol, they found the specific reason why the newly-redesigned Outback was downgraded. It’s strange because the wagon shares the same headlights with its sibling Legacy sedan.
2020 Subaru Outback
For the 2020 model Outback, the IIHS explanation says the difference between 2020 models versus 2019 vehicles is low beams on the new-generation Outback created “Some Glare”, and says “low beams never exceeded glare limits” on 2019 models.
Gear Patrol reached out to the IIHS via Twitter and when asked why Outback and Legacy received different ratings for their headlights when they have what seems to be the exact same headlights. The IIHS responded, “The headlights on the Outback are mounted about 4 inches higher than they are on the Legacy, which makes it harder to achieve visibility and reduce glare. In this case, the headlights on the Outback produced more glare than those of the Legacy.”
2020 Subaru Outback
When the IIHS was asked to explain “Glare” in their ratings, IIHS said, “Glare is measured at 3 feet, 7 inches off the ground. Vehicles that exceed glare thresholds are assigned demerits.” In the case of the Outback's curve-adaptive lights, they cause more glare not for the driver of the Outback, but for approaching vehicles.
So the 2020 Outback gets dinged by the IIHS not because the vehicle’s headlights aren’t rated “good” like Legacy, but because there is “Some Glare” for other drivers. This seems like a poor way to rate a vehicle. Outback should be rated for the safety of a vehicle, not how other drivers might experience a little glare.
Outback buyers shouldn’t be concerned the new model change has been downgraded from earning a Top Safety Pick+ award to a Top Safety Pick winner. In all other IIHS crashworthiness tests, Like the 2019 models, the 2020 Subaru Outback earned a rating of Good, and its front crash prevention vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian systems earned a Superior rating.
You Might Also Like: See Why The 2020 Subaru Outback and Legacy Are The Safest Yet
Denis Flierl has invested nearly 30 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his reports are archived on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Subaru Report. Check back tomorrow for more Subaru news and updates!
Leave your comments below, share the article with friends and tweet it out to your followers!
Photo credit: Subaru USA