Your midsize SUV's headlights are probably terrible

The IIHS found a depressingly small number of midsize SUV headlights that actually performed well.

Emme Hall/Roadshow

Ever since the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety started testing headlights, it's been interesting to see just how many cars pack mediocre-or-worse peepers. If you're looking for a midsize SUV, bad headlights are apparently nearly impossible to avoid.

According to IIHS research published Tuesday, of 19 midsize SUVs and 18 midsize luxury SUVs, only two (yes, two) vehicles have headlights rated as Good -- the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2017 Volvo XC60. Of that group, 12 received a rating of Acceptable, and the remaining 23 vehicles have headlight ratings of Marginal or Poor. The XC60's score could change within a year's time, though, as the 2018 XC60 includes a new set of LED headlights.

These scores are somehow better than other SUV segments, as well as pickups, but there's still so much room for improvement. Glare is a big problem -- not only for the driver, because much of that light is not illuminating the road, but also for oncoming traffic, because glare can dazzle other drivers and cause safety issues.

Headlights can vary between trims, and some of the best-rated units are often locked away behind expensive packages that include a bunch of other tech that buyers may not want or need. Between the 37 midsizes the IIHS tested, there were 79 different variants of headlights. Hopefully, the IIHS' research will convince automakers to pare down these offerings and include better-performing lights on even base models.

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