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Most SUV headlights are dangerous, highway safety group’s report claims

Published Jun 13th, 2017 4:01PM EDT
suv headlights
Image: HighTechDad

When you’re shopping for a new SUV, there’s plenty of things to consider. Gas milage, cost of upkeep, off-road capabilities, and safety features are all top of mind, but a new report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety suggests that you should pay close attention to something you might not even consider: the headlights. According to the agency’s study, the majority of headlights on 2017 model SUVs aren’t just not great, they’re downright bad. 

The group took many factors into account when determining how to rate each vehicle’s headlights, including distance of illumination on both low beams and high beams, visibility during turning at night, and the amount of glare the lights produce for oncoming drivers, which can be a huge safety hazard on its own. Each vehicle was given a rating of either Good, Acceptable, Marginal, or Poor. Here’s how they all stacked up:


  • Volvo XC60
  • Hyundai Santa Fe


  • Acura MDX
  • Acura RDX
  • BMW X5
  • Buick Envision
  • Infiniti QX70
  • Lexus NX
  • Lexus RX
  • Mercedes-Benz GLE
  • Honda Pilot
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Toyota Highlander


  • Audi Q5
  • BMW X3
  • Cadillac XT5
  • Infiniti QX50
  • Lincoln MKT
  • Volvo XC90
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Dodge Durango
  • Ford Flex
  • GMC Acadia
  • Nissan Murano
  • Nissan Pathfinder


  • Infiniti QX60
  • Lincoln MKC
  • Lincoln MKX
  • Dodge Journey
  • Ford Edge
  • Ford Explorer
  • GMC Terrain
  • Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Kia Sorento
  • Toyota 4Runner

As you can see, only two vehicles out of the 37 SUVs tested managed to score a Good rating, which is remarkable. The majority fall into Marginal (read: less than adequate) and Poor. You can read the full report on the IIHS website, and dive into some of the nuances of the testing. It’s an eye-opening read.