Tests find that most midsize SUVs’ headlights are unsafe

Mazda CX-9
FILE - This April 13, 2006 file photo shows the seven passenger Mazda CX-9 SUV during the 106th New York International Auto Show at the Javits Convention Center in New York. U.S. safety regulators on Monday, June 15, 2015 said they are investigating complaints that suspension parts can come loose on some Mazda CX-9 SUVs from the 2007 and 2008 model years, causing drivers to lose control. (AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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.”

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