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2019 Audi Q3 doesn't question safety with Top Safety Pick Plus award

The Audi A7, meanwhile, earned a standard Top Safety Pick award.

2019 Audi Q3
Small, yet mighty safe.

Headlights continue to be a make or break moment in IIHS crash test and safety testing, but for the 2019 Audi Q3, it aced every category. For the 2019 Audi A7, it was the hatchback sedan's only slip up.

The insurance industry-funded safety group said last week that both Audi models earned awards for their test performance. The 2019 Q3 went home with the Top Safety Pick Plus award, while the A7 managed to get away with a standard Top Safety Pick accolade, due to its headlight performance. More on that in a moment.

The most important parts of the test, the actual round of crash tests, proved no match for either the Q3 crossover or the A7 hatchback sedan. Both scored the best rating of "Good" in all six crash tests, which put both on their way to Top Safety Pick+ awards. An "Acceptable" rating in the passenger-side small overlap front test immediately disqualifies a vehicle from the highest safety award.

When the time came to test frontal-crash avoidance technology, both models again excelled with "Superior" marks -- the best a car can get. Notably, the system tested is standard for both the vehicles. The technology avoided a collision at 12 mph and 25 mph. However, it's finally the headlights where the Q3 and A7's paths diverged.

Still safe, just not as safe as a Q3 with its better-rated headlights.

Nick Miotke/Roadshow

The final requirement for a Top Safety Pick Plus is a set of "Good"-rated headlights. The Q3 managed to do that with its optional LED projector headlights. Any Q3 running about with the standard LED reflector headlights isn't actually an IIHS-awarded model. Why? The standard headlights actually got the worst marks available and scored a "Poor" ranking. Buyers will at least need to step up to a Premium Plus trim to get the IIHS-approved headlights. Prices for the trim start at $38,795 before additional options.

For the A7, the highest headlight score any of its trims earned as an "Acceptable" one, which downgraded its overall award to just a Top Safety Pick. Like the Q3, these headlights are equipped on the Premium Plus trim. Base headlights on A7 models received a "Marginal" score, and ironically enough, the A7's fanciest headlights equipped on Prestige trim earned a "Poor" rating. The IIHS found these headlights produced excessive glare. For the safest of the A7 range, buyers will have to dish out $73,395 for a Premium Plus model.