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Tweaked headlights net 2019 Lexus UX a Top Safety Pick Plus award

The IIHS award only applies to models with the improved headlights built after June, however.

It's not awfully expensive to add the best-rated headlights to the UX, either.
Jon Wong/Roadshow

Lexus' entry-level luxury vehicle can now highlight the fact it's a Top Safety Pick Plus according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. After the industry safety group retested the Lexus UX, the findings were enough to award the crossover with its top honors, thanks to updated headlights.

The 2019 UX already aced the barrage of crash tests the IIHS puts every vehicle through, which includes the passenger-side small-overlap front test. Often, the test is the one area where cars see less than the top "Good" rating. Yet, the UX netted a "Good" there too.

The standard front-crash prevention technology earned a "Superior" rating as well, which put the UX well on its way to the top award. Previously, the model's headlights only mustered an "Acceptable" rating, which automatically removes the coveted Plus and knocks a car down to just a Top Safety Pick.

In the new testing, the IIHS found the updated triple-beam LED headlights with an autoleveling package performed well enough to earn the "Good" rating needed for the Top Safety Pick Plus award. This only applies to UX models built after this June, however, which feature the tweaks.

Models produced before June of this year with the same headlights still have the "Acceptable" rating. Any models not equipped with the triple-beam LED headlights earned the lowest mark, a "Poor" rating, as well; such a rating rules out the car earning any accolades.

Unlike most new vehicles that lock the best headlights away in upper trim levels, it's actually rather easy to equip any UX with these top-rated units. The triple-beam LED lights with the autoleveling function are a $1,660 option for any UX trim. Here's the catch, however: Selecting the headlights automatically adds a $325 autodimming rearview mirror and the $1,675 premium package. Out the door before other fees, buyers will be looking at a $36,985 UX to mirror the car tested for the Top Safety Pick Plus. Opt for other comforts, of course, and the price will continue to rise.

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