WASHINGTON - Nearly half of 2018 vehicles do not have headlights that provide adequate illumination at night, according to the non-profit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The IIHS evaluated 424 car models for both side illumination and for how well vehicles picked up obstructions ahead on dark roads.
A higher number of 2018 models received passing grades than 2016 models did during their model year but the institute says that often comes at a price.
Researchers note that most headlights they rated as "good" were available only as options, upgrades or bundles that raise the price of a car.
"In the past two years, manufacturers have made changes to improve headlights, whether through better aim or the light source itself," said David Aylor, manager of active safety testing at IIHS. "But we still see a lot of models where the base headlight is poor, so buyers really have to do their homework to make sure they are getting the best available headlights."
He adds, "Unless you go for a test drive at night, IIHS ratings are the only way to know whether the vehicle you're considering will have good headlights."
The Genesis G90 and the Lexus NX are the only models that come equipped with headlights rated "good" without an upgrade.