The big test of standard headlights: is it worth overpaying for optics?

A big test of standard headlights: is it worth overpaying for optics


It is generally accepted that xenon headlights are by definition better than halogen ones and are always inferior to LED ones. This is not always the case. Much depends not so much on the light source as on the design of the headlight.

And since many models are offered with different light sources, we have compiled our own unique rating of cars – in terms of light efficiency.

Let’s see if it’s worth paying extra for more advanced optics.

At the Dmitrovsky auto-polygon, we have collected 11 popular cars, which will begin to form the light rating of the magazine “Behind the wheel”. In the future, we will replenish this list with other models so that our readers have the opportunity to take into account this factor, which is very important in our latitudes, when choosing a new car..

Basic equipment: halogen headlights; from 934,000 rubles.

Test cars: halogen headlights + LED fog lights with cornering light function; from 1 114 990 rub.

Test cars: full LED headlights + fog lights with cornering lights; from 1 194 990 rub.

Basic equipment: halogen headlights: from 1,019,000 rubles.

Test car: halogen headlights + fog lights; from 1,029,100 rubles.

Test car: adaptive full LED headlights + fog lights with cornering lights; from 1 228 600 rub.

Basic equipment: mi-DO: lenticular halogen headlights; from 536,000 rubles; on-DO: reflective halogen headlights; from 461,000 rubles.

Test car: mi-DO: lenticular halogen headlights + fog lights; from 594,000 rubles.

on-DO: reflective halogen headlights + fog lights; from 493,000 rubles.

Basic equipment: reflective halogen headlights; from 709 900 rub.

Test car: reflective halogen headlights + fog lights; from 819 900 rub.

Test car: lenticular halogen headlights with cornering light function + fog lights; from 919 900 rub.

Basic equipment: halogen reflector headlights. Solaris – from 654 900 rubles; Creta – from 819 900 rub.

Test car: Solaris – halogen headlights with lenses and cornering lights + fog lights; from 847 900 rub.

Test car: Creta – halogen headlights with lenses and cornering lights + fog lights; from 977 900 rub.

Basic equipment: reflective halogen headlights; from 584 900 rub.

Test car: reflective halogen headlights + fog lights; from 700 900 rub.

Of the top five sales leaders, four models were included in our test. Kia Rio was brought to the test in two versions – with reflector headlights and with lensed headlights, which are equipped with expensive versions. On Vesta, the same lighting devices are installed in all versions.

Hyundai Creta and Solaris are presented with lenticular optics, set for cars in the maximum configuration (we will definitely check the simpler versions next time using the same method and include them in a single rating, comparing them with the current results). Grant, another model from the top-5, was decided not to take: dealers are about to have a restyled version. This means that the updated Granta is the first candidate for the next light test..

We have already compared captures with halogens and with LED headlights (ЗР, No. 4, 2018). But that was in other weather conditions, so it is not a sin to repeat the measurements.

Another pair of cars with different light sources – Octavia: halogens in the basic version and Bi-LED headlights as an option.

The last pair are Datsuns: on-DO sedan and mi-DO hatchback. The hatchback is not even included in the top 25 of the market, but it would be wrong not to take it for a test. The fact is that these cars have different halogen headlights: on the sedan – with reflectors, and on the hatchback – with additional lenses.

Let’s find out if the five-door has superiority with more advanced (theoretically) light sources.

The measurement technique has been worked out by us for a long time. In front of the machine we place a “grid” of cones with a step of 10 meters. Using a Testo 540 light meter, we measure the illumination at each pole and use this data to determine the light beam. Measurements – alternately for low and high beam. The border of light and darkness is drawn according to the readings of the device in one lux: everything below, the driver perceives as complete darkness.

For correct measurements, before starting the test, we install the same lamps in all halogen headlights. And of course, we check the correctness of the light setting in front of the vertical screen..

By default, the Capture is equipped with halogen headlights with H1 lamps in the low and high beam sections. LED optics are a privilege of the top-end Extreme package. In the low beam mode, the superiority of new technologies turned out to be insignificant: the maximum range is 90 meters versus 80 meters for the base headlights. But the beam of LED headlights is wider and more even, it is more comfortable to ride with such light.

However, in both cases, Capture’s dipped beam is not outstanding.

The switch to the far distance brought the practice into line with theory. Incandescent lamps dry out at the “200 m” mark, and LEDs finish up to 280 meters and illuminate roadsides better.

LED fog lights that can automatically turn on when cornering are installed on cars in the Play and Style trim levels. The beams hit at an angle of 90 degrees, and the result of their efforts is visible not through the windshield, but through the side one – good help in dark courtyards and driveways of poorly lit multi-storey garages. The system works at speeds up to 40 km / h – no more is needed.

An interesting feature: when you turn on the reverse gear, both foglights light up. Kaptur does not know where the driver will turn the steering wheel, and even before starting to move, it highlights potential hazards on both sides.

So, Renault Kaptur did not shine with the range of the head light, although the superiority of LED headlights over halogens nevertheless demonstrated.

Octavia with halogens was the first to reach the measuring line and was puzzled at first. The dipped beam finished off only up to 70 meters. Such a weak result is not expected from the advanced technologies of the Volkswagen concern. But in high beam mode, Octavia rehabilitated itself by sending the measurer as much as 350 meters.

For halogens, this is a fantastic result! Moreover, the beam turned out to be not at all narrow, as is often the case with simple basic optics. So, on the improvised left side of the road, the luxmeter showed zeros only at the 290-meter mark.

In both sections of Skoda headlights there are H7 lamps.

The fog light adds brightness to the area in front of the bumper and helps with yard maneuvers. By default, the lower headlights are not able to turn on automatically when cornering. This function appears in the top-end Style configuration, and those who choose the intermediate Ambition level will have to pay an additional 5700 rubles..

But Octavia’s LED lighting technology immediately showed what high technology is. The dipped beam reached up to a 170-meter pole, and when measuring the far one, I almost broke my legs: 380 meters from the car, the smooth asphalt gave way to uneven cobblestones of special-purpose roads. It’s never been that far in a headlight test.

And again, note the outstanding width of the light beam: on both sides it worked at a distance of up to 330-360 meters.

When cornering, Octavia with top-end headlights helps with the automatic inclusion of fog lights, and additional sections of the main optics. The latter turn on themselves as soon as the speed drops below 60 km / h.

The price of cool optics with a headlight washer is 49,900 rubles. You can pay 10,800 rubles for the function of automatic switching from low beam to high beam and vice versa. I would pay.

The transition to a fundamentally different level of illumination is especially noticeable against the background of an unimportant low beam of halogen headlights.

The Datsun couple represent a marketing paradox. When creating “state employees” of the lower price segment, it would be necessary to save money with all their might, primarily due to unification with the Lada Kalina soplatform model. The more mysterious is the decision to put completely different headlights on the sedan and hatchback..

The Datsun on-DO sedan is armed with a simple reflector optics for a double-filament lamp H4, which serves as a source of both low and high beam. The result in our test is not outstanding, but taking into account the class and price of the car, it can be considered acceptable: 80 meters for low beam and 240 meters for high beam. The bundle is uniform and wide.

The mi-DO hatchback was marked by a sharp border between light and shadow (this is typical for headlights with lenses). It is not very comfortable to look ahead even in static, not to mention driving. In addition, the H7 lamps refused to illuminate the road further than 60 meters in low beam mode and 230 meters in high beam mode.

It even seemed that on the way from the Zarulevsky technical center in Tushino to the landfill, the headlights were set off – but a second check showed that everything was in order. A significant overpayment for a hatchback compared to a sedan (in similar trim levels – about 20% of the difference in price) seemed to me unjustified before, and after a clear comparison of headlights – even more so. From the standpoint of assessing the head light, the conclusion is unambiguous: it is wiser to choose an on-DO sedan out of two Datsuns.

The fog light help is small. For both the sedan and the hatchback, they illuminate the area between the bumper and the beginning of the low-beam spot well, but the curbs remain in the shadow.

By the way, mi-DO deserves another drawback. No other machine in our test was so much hassle with lamp replacement. The wells on the back of the headlights are too deep, it is difficult to wield your hand in them.

In addition, the developers applied a non-standard fixation of the lamps. None of the test group was able to quickly change lamps for mi-DO – they had to tinker.

The Kia Rio has two types of headlights. Most complete sets have reflector optics for H4 lamp. The Prestige and Premium versions feature advanced lighting technology with an HB3 lamp and lens. In it, an electric shutter is responsible for changing the low beam to the high beam.

In addition, an additional H7 lamp turns on when the steering wheel is turned, illuminating the area for maneuver. For a budget car, this is a very good set.!

First, we send for measurements the basic version with halogens. With the near light, it “reached” up to 90 meters, with the distant light – up to 260 meters. Not a bad result for a simple filling..

How will the headlights with lenses respond? In the dipped beam mode, the superiority is very insignificant (+ 10 m relative to the H4 lamps), the far one was “farther” by 70 meters (330 m). The beam is wider and brighter, so there is a benefit from overpayment.

Fog lights help little in dark corners, but the additional section of the “expensive” headlights worked beyond praise. It turns on at speeds up to 100 km / h, and this limit is unreasonably high: what’s the use of this section on the track? But in the yards it is easier to maneuver with it..

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