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So I was heavily leaning toward the RAV4 XSE, but after seeing the IIHS rating on headlights as Mediocre I was very concerned. It seems other people are too. Is this a deal breaker? My current vehicle is a 2008 Rav4. Headlights are not safety rated at all. What are others thoughts on this issue?

IIHS only tested '19s with standard LED headlights, they didn't test any trim with LED Projector headlights which all HVs have EXCEPT the LE HV which has the same headlights as the gas models, they also didn't test the Limited HV with adaptive headlights, the LED Projector headlights on the previous gen HV got an acceptable rating.
 

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So I was heavily leaning toward the RAV4 XSE, but after seeing the IIHS rating on headlights as Mediocre I was very concerned. It seems other people are too. Is this a deal breaker? My current vehicle is a 2008 Rav4. Headlights are not safety rated at all. What are others thoughts on this issue?
Test drive it at night and see if the headlights are decent enough for you. The problem is, however, that a "seat of the pants" evaluation doesn't mean much. For example, many people tend to think that headlights that produce excess foreground light are good when excess foreground light has been found to be dangerous and cause drivers to focus on the near instead of looking into the distance for hazards. (Sorry, automotive lighting has been a primary interest since the 1960's.)

As I said a couple of posts back in this thread, I was thinking the new RAV4 was going to be the perfect replacement for my wife's 2012 Prius v Five until I saw the RAV4 headlight ratings. Our Prius v LED headlights weren't rated by the IIHS either but I think we got lucky since the 2015 Prius v LED headlights were the first to get the IIHS highest "Good" rating.

As much as I like Toyota products - enough to be a TMC shareholder - I'm not going to even consider a Toyota vehicle or one from any other car maker that has headlights rated "marginal" by the IIHS. I trust the IIHS headlight ratings based on my experience in rental cars. I had a rude awaking in January when I failed to check the IIHS headlight ratings before I accepted a rental Kia Sedona - IIHS should have rated them "Dangerous" instead of "Poor". I returned the Kia to the rental company and exchanged it for a 2019 Camry with headlights rated "Acceptable" by the IIHS.

I believe in "voting with my feet" by purchasing vehicles that meet our needs and that are safe based on current information. Maybe the "Marginal" headlights on the 2019 RAV4 are adequate for younger people with "young eyes" but good headlights become much more important as people age. There's no way my 71 year old wife is going to drive a RAV4 that has headlights rated "Marginal" by the IIHS. I'm confident I can find other vehicles that meet our needs that have headlights that get the IIHS highest "Good" rating.
 

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IIHS only tested '19s with standard LED headlights, they didn't test any trim with LED Projector headlights which all HVs have EXCEPT the LE HV which has the same headlights as the gas models, they also didn't test the Limited HV with adaptive headlights, the LED Projector headlights on the previous gen HV got an acceptable rating.
That is very good news if it is true. I have to wonder since this information is not in the RAV4 sales brochure like it is for other current Toyotas on which some higher trims have projector and/or adaptive LED headlights.

I would appreciate it if you would provide a source for this information.
 

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Discussion Starter #24
So I was heavily leaning toward the RAV4 XSE, but after seeing the IIHS rating on headlights as Mediocre I was very concerned. It seems other people are too. Is this a deal breaker? My current vehicle is a 2008 Rav4. Headlights are not safety rated at all. What are others thoughts on this issue?
The best thing for you to do would be to take one for a test drive after dark if you have a local dealer that is open late enough. If not, since your a current Rav owner, and assuming you have the dealer service your vehicle (or even it not), maybe they could put you in a loaner overnight for little $$. That way you can compare to what you're used to and see if you're happy with it.

I had both a 2015 and 2018 LE with "regular" (Halogen?) bulbs. The 2018 used projectors. Head light performance was comparable between those two from what I can remember although the 2018 high beam pattern was a little different - it had more of a triangular center beam emphasis. Anyway, I now have a 2019 LE and when I first drove it at night I remember thinking that the 2018 was better. Part of it was color temperature difference. At this point, with around 3k on the 2019, I think that the low beams are just "okay" and the high beams are pretty decent. Overall, I think that the headlights could use improvement. The auto high beams don't work reliably enough in my opinion.
 

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Thanks for the input. I will see if I can get a loaner for overnight to test the headlights. It's hard to fathom that the 2019's wouldn't have better headlights than my 2008, but I do a lot of driving at night and didn't want to risk "Marginal" headlights. I tried to ask the salesman about it, but he was too busy blowing smoke to say anything that I could believe. Sounds like the Limited HV would be the best bet, but I love the paint pattern of the XSE. So was very torn.
 

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Thank you! That projector and adaptive headlights are available on the RAV4 hybrid could be very good news. Toyota's reflector LED headlights on some other new models haven't been rated very highly by the IIHS but the projector versions have been rated higher. Adaptive LED headlights on some other current Toyotas have been rated even higher by the IIHS. Of course this isn't going to help those who don't want a hybrid RAV4 but my wife does want one to replace her hybrid Prius.

I assume the reason the IIHS hasn't rated the hybrid RAV4 headlights is because the RAV4 hybrid has not been available for them to test. When we sat in a 2019 RAV4 a few months ago, we were told that the hybrid version was not yet available.
 

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I assume the reason the IIHS hasn't rated the hybrid RAV4 headlights is because the RAV4 hybrid has not been available for them to test. When we sat in a 2019 RAV4 a few months ago, we were told that the hybrid version was not yet available.
This is correct. I contacted the IIHS near the end of March to inquire about when the crash test results would be available for the 2019 RAV4. Their email response indicated that they were waiting for a hybrid version to test two headlights (presumably the projector LED and the adaptive LED headlights). They said there was a few weeks wait for the hybrid version to arrive.

The week after I got their email, IIHS posted crash test results for the 2019 model but with 'marginal' rating for the headlights. So the marginal rating is definitely for the LED headlights on the non-hybrid models.
 

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the '19 rav4 will probably be rated as a "top safety pick" or "plus" once they test the hybrid projector headlights with AFS. toyota along with other brands know how to play the game of only having certain features on certain models and having an umbrella effect on lesser models. so lets say a '19 sonata that has a "plus" designation for all models but in reality its only for models with the optional headlights and optional foward collision warning

that being said i have rented a '19 rav4 limited and the reflector style headlights did a beautiful job at lighting up the road without much glare...... this is coming from someone who is a "headlight junkie" and have been driving with retrofitted HID projector headlights in every car i have had for 10 years. the IIHS test is very specific so what they consider "good" headlights is hard to achieve
 
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