Improved headlights net 2019 Mini Cooper IIHS Top Safety Pick award

June 12, 2018

All it took was a revised headlight design to earn the 2019 Mini Cooper two-door Top Safety Pick accolades from the IIHS after the 2018 model missed out on the award, the insurance industry-funded safety group said Monday.

Not every 2019 Cooper earns the award. Buyers will need to pay extra for optional equipment to upgrade the car with automatic emergency braking and LED headlights.The Mini comes standard with halogen headlights that are rated "Poor" by the IIHS.

MORE: How to ensure you're buying a Top Safety Pick+ car

The IIHS hands out its Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards based on a number of criteria. For 2018, awarded cars must perform well in crash-testing, in addition to providing a high level of collision-avoidance tech and headlights that light up the road consistently and clearly.

They key to to receiving this year’s IIHS’ award is a headlight upgrade. Last year the car’s optional LED headlights earned a “Marginal” rating. This year’s testing with improved headlights boosted that rating to “Acceptable” which qualified the car for the Top Safety Pick award.

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In the instrumented crash tests, the two-door earned the top score ("Good") in all crash tests except the passenger-side small-overlap test that hasn't yet been performed on the small Mini. That test is required for the Top Safety Pick+ award.

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