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The 2020 Audi Q8 Didn’t Get Top Safety Pick+ Rating Because Of the Headlights

The Q8 is relatively new in the Audi lineup, having been introduced in the U.S. for the 2019 model year. More or less the better-looking brother of the Q7, the luxurious utility vehicle also happens to be safe in the event of a crash.
2020 Audi Q8 46 photos
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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the 2020 model year “good” in all crashworthiness tests, including the small overlap front passenger-side test. Even the front crash prevention system and the child seat anchors’ ease of use received superlative ratings, but still, the headlights aren’t up to snuff.

According to the IIHS, the reflectors with high-beam assist of the Premium and Premium Plus trims are “poor.” By that, the institute refers to excessive glare from the low beams as well as inadequate visibility on sharp curves. The projectors with HD Matrix technology couldn’t do better than “acceptable,” and that’s somewhat worrying considering that Audi really knows how to design headlights.

It’s the performance of the headlights that prompted the IIHS to give the Q8 the Top Safety Pick accolade for the second time in a row. This rating was also handed over to the all-new A7 while the A6 is a Top Safety Pick+ in the institute’s latest rounds of testing. So why is the 2020 model year A6 so highly rated?

Of the three different headlight variations available on the mid-size sedan, two have been rated “good” while the most basic specification is “acceptable.” According to one of the institute’s testing managers, “many carmakers still treat high-quality headlights as extras rather than essential safety features. Leather seats and sunroofs are nice, but you need high-quality headlights to avoid hazards.”

The IIHS released a statement on February 18th claiming that half of fatal crashes in the U.S. occur in the dark. Given that automakers have always charged extra for superior features, the best-performing and safest headlight technology available will add a few bucks to the price of an all-new vehicle for years to come.

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