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Poor headlights keep Chevrolet Bolt EV from IIHS Top Safety Pick+

Top Safety Pick is still an excellent award to receive, though.

I knew that pesky headlight test would come back to bite an automaker eventually.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety announced Tuesday that the 2017 Chevrolet Bolt EV received the organization's Top Safety Pick accolade, its second-highest honor. It's the first battery-electric vehicle to receive an award for the 2017 model year, which is a nice feather for Chevrolet's cap.

It looks painful, but it could be way worse.


In order to receive the Top Safety Pick designation, a car must fare well in the IIHS' crash tests, as well as a test that evaluates crash-avoidance systems. The Bolt EV received a Superior rating for its optional autonomous emergency braking, and it received a Good score in every crash test, including the pesky small-overlap front test.

The IIHS also tests the ease of access to the child-seat (LATCH) hardware. The Bolt EV received a score of Marginal here for both its cloth and leather seats. The tether anchors were easy to find, but the lower anchors were docked for being too deep in the seat and requiring too much force to attach a child seat.

The only thing holding the Bolt EV back from the top accolade, Top Safety Pick+, is the IIHS' new headlight examination. Here, the Bolt EV received a score of Poor. Both headlight configurations (with high-beam assist, and without) were marked down for creating excessive glare and for having only fair visibility in curves.

If Chevrolet adjusts its headlights in the future, the IIHS may reevaluate and award Top Safety Pick+ to the Bolt EV. But even without any changes, this battery of tests proves that the Bolt EV will be a properly safe car in the event of a collision.