Washington — Only 14 of 37 midsize SUVS tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety earned “good” or “acceptable” ratings in headlight tests conducted by the group, which represents the insurance industry.

The institute said the 2017 Volvo XC60 and 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe are the only midsize SUVs that earned a “good” rating on headlight performance tests on luxury and nonluxury models. Eight other luxury midsize SUVs tested — the 2017 Acura MDX and RDX, BMW X5, Buick Envision, Infiniti QX70, Lexus NX and RX, Mercedes-Benz GLE — earned “acceptable” headlight ratings, as did four nonluxury models — the Honda Pilot, Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee, and Toyota Highlander.

The remaining midsize SUVs that were tested earned “marginal” or “poor” headlight grades.

Matthew Brumbelow, an institute senior research engineer, said in a statement the findings about headlight performance for SUVs show improvements over previous testing in the category, although he said there is still a lot of room for improvement among the segment of the auto market that is burgeoning in popularity.

“As a group, midsize SUV headlights perform slightly better than the other SUVs and pickups we evaluated last year, and that’s encouraging,” Brumbelow said. “Still, we continue to see headlights that compromise safety because they only provide a short view down the road at night.”

The insurance industry group said there are 79 headlight combinations available among the 37 SUVs it tested. The group said “more than half of the 79 headlight variants evaluated have too much glare,” which would be enough to earn poor headlight ratings in 17 of the cases.

“Managing glare can be more challenging for taller vehicles like SUVs and pickups because their headlights are mounted higher than on cars,” Brumbelow says. “Better aim at the factory can minimize glare.”

The insurance institute found in 2016 that not one of the 21 small SUVs earned a “good” rating in headlight tests, and the headlights for more than half of the vehicles were rated “poor.”

The IIHS said in July 2016 only the 2017 Ford Escape and 2016 Honda CR-V, Hyundai Tucson and Mazda CX-3 received “acceptable” ratings on headlight performance. Five others got “marginal” scores: the 2016 BMW X1, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Volkswagen Tiguan and Mitsubishi Outlander.

Twelve small SUVs were rated “poor” last year: the 2017 Kia Sportage and 2016 Audi Q3, Jeep Renegade, Buick Encore, Jeep Wrangler, Chevrolet Trax, Fiat 500X, Mitsubishi Outlander Sport, Honda HR-V, Nissan Rogue, Jeep Patriot and Subaru Forester.

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Midsize SUV headlight ratings

Luxury SUVs

Volvo XC60 - Good

Acura MDX - Acceptable

Acura RDX - Acceptable

BMW X5 - Acceptable

Buick Envision - Acceptable

Infiniti QX70 - Acceptable

Lexus NX - Acceptable

Lexus RX - Acceptable

Mercedes-Benz GLE - Acceptable

Audi Q5 (2018) - Marginal

BMW X3 - Marginal

Cadillac XT5 - Marginal

Infiniti QX50 - Marginal

Lincoln MKT - Marginal

Volvo XC90 - Marginal

Infiniti QX60 - Poor

Lincoln MKC - Poor

Lincoln MKX - Poor

Nonluxury SUVs

Hyundai Santa Fe - Good

Honda Pilot - Acceptable

Jeep Cherokee - Acceptable

Jeep Grand Cherokee - Acceptable

Toyota Highlander - Acceptable

Chevrolet Equinox (2018) - Marginal

Dodge Durango - Marginal

Ford Flex - Marginal

GMC Acadia - Marginal

Nissan Murano - Marginal

Nissan Pathfinder - Marginal

Dodge Journey - Poor

Ford Edge - Poor

Ford Explorer - Poor

GMC Terrain - Poor

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport - Poor

Jeep Wrangler - Poor

Kia Sorento - Poor

Toyota 4Runner - Poor

Source: IIHS

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