IIHS: 2019 Ram 1500 aces crash tests but has subpar headlights

January 19, 2019

The 2019 Ram 1500 aced the IIHS' slew of crash tests but missed out on its top award due to headlights that don't provide good coverage at night. 

The IIHS found that the new Ram scored "Good" ratings in each of the instrumented six tests it administers including small-overlap front, moderate-overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints and seats. Further, the Ram 1500 scored a "Superior" rating for its automatic emergency braking, which is optional on some Ram trim levels. 

CHECK OUT: IIHS: Headlights improving, but you'll pay for better tech

The IIHS faulted the pickup for "Marginal" headlights, only one category above the "Poor" rating. The Ram 1500 isn't alone in its subpar headlights, though. Numerous vehicles missed out on Top Safety Pick+ and Top Safety Pick awards due to their poor lights, the IIHS said. In a study completed by the insurance industry-funded body, the IIHS found just 32 new cars and trucks offer "Good" headlights as the best-available units.

Further, 43 models only offer "Marginal" or "Poor" headlights as their best-available lighting option. More often than not, buyers will need to pay for the advanced headlight technology or to actually leave the dealer with a specific model that earned a Top Safety Pick+. Case in point: the 2019 Lincoln Continental.

READ THIS: US to allow brighter, self-dimming headlights on new cars

Things will likely change in the near future. The NHTSA last year said it will finally update regulations that will allow for smarter and brighter headlights on vehicles in the U.S. Specifically, we'll begin to see matrix headlights, which can dim various parts of the light to keep from blinding pedestrians and other drivers, while other portions of the light remain lit. 

The solution isn't simply to make brighter headlights, either. For example, the IIHS rated the LED projector lights "Poor" in the 2019 Ram 1500 Laramie Longhorn trim compared to the "Marginal" rating for trims equipped with different LED projectors and even more standard halogen reflectors.

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