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Tests find that most midsize SUVs' headlights are unsafe

  • More than half of the midsize SUVs tested by an insurance industry group were found to have unsafe headlights.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Tuesday that it tested 37 midsize SUVs and only two received a "good" rating.
This April 12, 2017, file photo shows a detail of the Volvo XC60 while on display during a media preview at the New York International Auto Show, at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.
Mary Altaffer | AP
This April 12, 2017, file photo shows a detail of the Volvo XC60 while on display during a media preview at the New York International Auto Show, at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

More than half of the midsize SUVs tested by an insurance industry group were found to have unsafe headlights that either didn't light up the road far enough or caused glare for oncoming drivers.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said Tuesday that it tested 37 midsize SUVs and only two received a "good" rating: the 2017 Volvo XC60 and 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe. Twelve were rated "acceptable," 12 others were rated "marginal" and 11 were rated "poor." IIHS recommends buying vehicles with headlights rated "good" or "acceptable."

"We continue to see headlights that compromise safety because they only provide a short view down the road at night," said Matt Brumbelow, a senior research engineer at IIHS.

The 2017 Kia Sorento, which received a "poor" rating, had the worst visibility. IIHS said the Sorento shed light 148 feet down the road, compared with 315 feet for the top-rated Volvo XC60. In a statement Tuesday, Kia Motors America said that it will "carefully evaluate the results."

Other 2017 vehicle models with "poor" ratings included the Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Journey and the Ford Edge and Explorer. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, the maker of Jeep and Dodge vehicles, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. Ford Motor Co. said it will "consider the findings" as it improves safety.

And while the Hyundai Santa Fe received a "good" rating, the sport version of the SUV received a "poor" rating. IIHS said the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport uses different headlights that caused too much glare for oncoming drivers. Hyundai said Tuesday that it "closely evaluates and analyzes all testing data from organizations."