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SUV Headlights Don't Shine In Latest Testing

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Headlights on mid-size SUVs have gotten better over the years, but a new round of testing found they still have a lot of room for improvement.

In a recent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test of 37 mid-size SUVs, only two received a "good" rating; the Volvo XC60 and the Hyundai Santa Fe.

"There are about 11 more than have acceptable headlight ratings and all the rest are marginal or poor," said senior research engineer Matthew Brumbelow.

In a comparison of the Volvo XC60 and the Kia Sorento, which scored "poor," the driver of the latter could not see a person in the road 100 feet away at night nor a pair of deer 200 feet away. The driver of the Volvo XC60 could see both.

"I need adequate visibility if I'm going to see an obstacle or pedestrian and come to a stop in time," said Brumbelow.

The Institute has a simple solution for owners of vehicles that aren't among the best performers.

"To get that best visibility, we're really encouraging people even in the poor performing vehicle to use their high beams as much as they can," said Brumbelow.

The IIHS started testing vehicle headlights last year and says auto makers are listening to the findings.

"We see promising signs of improvement, but we know that there is a lot more to come," said Brumbelow.

IIHS 2007 Midsize SUV headlight ratings
(Best available headlight system for each model)

G=Good, A=Acceptable, M=Marginal, P=Poor

Luxury SUVs
Volvo XC60 (G)
Acura MDX (A)
Acura RDX (A)
BMW X5 (A)
Buick Envision (A)
Infiniti QX70 (A)
Lexus NX (A)
Lexus RX (A)
Mercedes-Benz GLE (A)
Audi Q5 (2018) (M)
BMW X3 (M)
Cadillac XT5 (M)
Infiniti QX50 (M)
Lincoln MKT (M)
Volvo XC90 (M)
Infiniti QX60 (P)
Lincoln MKC (P)
Lincoln MKX (P)
Toyota 4Runner (P)

Nonluxury SUVs
Hyundai Santa Fe (G)
Honda Pilot (A)
Jeep Cherokee (A)
Jeep Grand Cherokee (A)
Toyota Highlander (A)
Chevrolet Equinox (2018) (M)
Dodge Durango (M)
Ford Flex (M)
GMC Acadia (M)
Nissan Murano (M)
Nissan Pathfinder (M)
Dodge Journey (P)
Ford Edge (P)
Ford Explorer (P)
GMC Terrain (P)
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (P)
Jeep Wrangler (P)
Kia Sorento (P)



Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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